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Waterfall Hikes in the Pacific Northwest

Multnomah Falls in Oregon

Waterfall Hikes in the Pacific Northwest


By Karah B.

Planning a hiking trip in Oregon or Washington State? Do you want to see some breathtaking waterfalls while you’re hiking? Falls are beautiful and seeing them first hand is a great reason to get out into nature. 

In Oregon alone, there are 238 waterfalls. And Washington state has 100. Imagine walking just a couple of miles through nature-filled paths and coming to a majestic spot to see the water thundering down. Nothing but water, trees, and nature surrounding you. 

Getting excited to put your hiking boots on and hit the trails? We did the research for you so you can get to the planning and get out there.

Washington State Hikes

There are over 700 miles of trails crossing through state parks in Washington State. And some of these trails lead to incredible waterfalls. Many trails are just a short jaunt, in and out, and only take a few minutes to an hour to get to. These are a few of the hikes leading to waterfalls: 

  • Marymere Falls
  • Palouse Falls
  • Sol Duc Falls- Olympic National Park
  • Comet Falls- Mount Rainier National Park
  • Boulder River Trail

Many of the hikes to get to the waterfalls are easy but some can be more moderate or hard. If you haven’t hiked before, or in a long while, try doing the easy ones first and work your way up to moderate. The miles of a hike and the steepness determine this range too. 

If going through the trails is not something you want to do you can get a guided tour. Having a guide is great to learn about the history of these spectacular natural spaces. Most of these trails can be done in the afternoon, around lunchtime, to enjoy a picnic while looking at a waterfall.

  1. Marymere Falls 

Marymere Falls has an amazing 9-foot tall waterfall. This trail is great if you’re looking for a quick stroll and to see the old-growth around. The loop to Marymere is 1.8 miles round trip.

Difficulty level: easy. 

  1. Palouse Falls

Palouse Falls, it’s a heavily trafficked trail with over 80,000 people visiting this waterfall every year. The hike to get to Palouse Falls it’s only a 1.2-mile loop. This breathtaking waterfall was craved over 13,000 years ago. It’s a one-of-a-kind sight you don’t want to miss. 

Difficulty level: easy

  1. Sol Duc Falls

This trail is in the Olympic National Park. Going through the old-growth trees and over a bridge to the waterfall. The trail is about 1.6 miles but can go as far as 17 miles.

Difficulty level: easy to moderate

  1. Comet Falls 

The trail is in Mount Rainier National Park. You only have to walk about 3.8 miles to find a beautiful, very tall waterfall. Rumor is this waterfall is the best in the Mount Rainier region.

Difficulty level: moderate

  1. Boulder River Trail

The Boulder River Trail is a heavily trafficked 9-mile hike. This is a forest hike and not too steep, but there is a lot of mud, so be prepared. You’ll climb over a few rocks and fallen trees but in return, you’ll see spectacular waterfalls all throughout the hike. 

Difficulty level: easy

Best Times to Hike

When planning your trip to hike in the pacific northwest you need to consider the time of year that you’re going.

The mountain hikes leading to waterfalls can be dangerous during the winter. The best time to go is between late May through October. Check the local weather before leaving to ensure there are no strong winds or heavy rains on the day you’re planning to visit a waterfall.

Oregon Waterfall Hikes


Waterfall hikes in Oregon are just as beautiful. Surrounded by greenery and also just as easy to moderate as the ones in Washington State. Some of the trails in Oregon are:

  • Toketee Falls
  • Latourell Falls
  • Bridal Veil Falls
  • Dry Creek Falls- Columbia River Gorge
  • Multnomah Falls

Just to name a few. Many have their favorites. Try them all or a couple and find your favorites.

  1. Toketee Falls

Toketee Falls is a short .8 mile, in and out the trail. The waterfall is a one-of-a-kind two-tier fall. The 28-foot upper-tier plunges 85 feet into a large, nature-immersed pool. Pretty impressive. 

Difficulty level: easy

  1. Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls is a 2-mile loop and the closest of the Columbia Water Gorge waterfalls. If you’re looking for a picture-perfect spot— Larourell Falls is the most photogenic.

Difficulty level: moderate

  1. Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls is a short trail coming in at .5 miles to an amazing waterfall in the historic Columbia River Gorge.

Difficulty level: easy

  1. Dry Creek Falls– 

Dry Creek Falls is a 4.4-mile hike leading to an incredible 74 feet waterfall. The waterfall is tucked away in a secluded amphitheater. 

Difficulty level: easy

  1. Multnomah Falls– 

This waterfall is a whole 620 feet tall. You only have to go on the trail for 2.4 miles. Like most waterfall hikes this trail is also heavily trafficked. 

Difficulty level: moderate

Best Times To Hike

A lot of the trails in Oregon are open year-round. Some of them have certain areas that are closed off during the winter. For example, Dry Creek Falls has an area called the Bridge of the Gods Trailhead that is closed during the winter.

Remember also that there may be admissions fees and/or permit fees to get into some of these trails.

Keeping The Waterfall Hikes Clean

Waterfalls are magical. They are a beautiful natural source of water. 

Most of the freshwater from waterfalls goes into streams and down the mountains to lakes, eventually leading to the oceans. Keeping them clean is a way to help keep our world and oceans clean. When you bring plastic onto the trail make sure that you bring it back out with you and throw it away. An alternative is also bringing your own reusable water bottle.

When you’re on your waterfall hikes through the Pacific Northwest along your walk pick up any trash you see. This helps with the pollution that may be on its way to our oceans. Helping keep the trails cleaner really helps environmental ocean cleanup organizations like Ocean Blue Project with their cleanups.

The Ocean Blue Project organizes beach cleanups to keep all the waterways clean. You can organize your own cleanup through The Ocean Blue Project to help out. We love beaches all over the United States and here are our favorite beaches in Oregon by Ocean Blue Project. Keep in touch on Instagram!

Author Bio: Karah is a writer in Las Vegas, NV. A single mom to 3 kiddos, who enjoys making memories with her kids.

Beautiful waterfalls hikes in the Pacific Northwest. Plan a trip to see all the natural beauty of nature.

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