The Multnomah Falls are the tallest falls in Oregon and plunge to the earth a few steps off the Historic Columbia River Highway
Over the millennia, the Columbia River carved out a great gorge between Oregon and Washington, creating almost 100 waterfalls on the Oregon side alone. Today, many of these waterfalls can be seen along the Historic Columbia River Highway, including the famous Multnomah Falls, which cascade 620 feet down two massive stone steps. The upcoming spring and summer are the best seasons to visit these falls, and if you’re content to stay in your car, you can certainly have your fill of waterfall viewing. But if you’re in a more adventurous mood, the gorge offers several hiking paths to clandestine falls, including one waterfall that required a march over a mound of old logs and through chest-high river water. Check out this gallery of these waterfalls below.
The Historic Columbia River Highway offers drivers the opportunity to view dozens of waterfalls from their cars.
The 192-foot Horsetail Falls are easy to get to–just follow the signs along the highway.
Fairy Falls is a photogenic waterfall about two miles uphill from the highway.
Hikers pass Wahkeena Falls on the way to Fairy Falls; when they pass over the stone bridge droplets from the waterfall splash against their faces.
There are several hidden waterfalls in the gorge, and to get to Oneonta Falls, which has gained notoriety among the locals as a special spot, you must first climb over a pile of dead and broken trees. Warning: if you decide to do this hike, don’t bring your children or pets, as the trail sinks into the river and various intervals.
Hikers traveling towards Oneonta Falls wind through otherworldly slot canyons blanketed in moss and foliage.
To get to Oneonta Falls, hikers must wade through chest-deep water, so it’s best to travel there during the summer when the water is warmer. But if you do travel in the winter, the gorge will likely be empty, offering hikers a type of solitude difficult to find in other places.
The 100-foot Oneonta Falls is well worth the journey.
All photos are by Travis Burke; follow him on Instagram