For the Love of Waterfalls
The Columbia Gorge has the highest concentration of waterfalls in the lower 48 states, at least 75 of which are named. This was too tempting to pass up, even though our campsite was a two-hour drive away. We were excited about how many we could potentially see in a day. Upon further research, it became clear that a wildfire wiped out a lot of the waterfall hiking trails in 2017. We were disappointed but not deterred. There were still plenty accessible, including the most popular attraction in the area.
Many an Instagram picture has been taken at Multnomah Falls, and not without good reason. Its majesty lies in its height. Who wouldn’t be in awe of 611 feet of plummeting water? It was another foggy morning, so the top of the falls was nowhere to be seen. We enjoyed the first viewing deck at the base of falls and then hiked up to the bridge that sits between the two tiers of falling water. Feeling ambitious, we chose to hike another mile up to the top of the falls, thinking ‘it’s only a mile’. We forgot the part about ‘hiking to the top of Oregon’s tallest waterfall’. It was a climb. There may have been a bit of grumbling and exhaustion prior to reaching the top. Unfortunately at the summit, it was still foggy, so we were not greeted with the spectacular view we hoped for. It still felt like an accomplishment anyways.
On the Hunt for Falls
We still had plenty of daylight, so onto the next waterfall. The Bonneville Dam had a cool fish ladder that was technically falling water, so we opted to include it in our waterfall count. To get the maximum amount of waterfalls seen in one day, we needed to keep the individual hikes short. Starvation Creek State Park was great bang-for-our-walking-buck with three waterfalls in one mile of hiking. We checked out Starvation Creek Falls, tiny Cabin Creek Falls, and Hole in the Wall Falls. A bit further down the road was Horsetail Falls which could be seen from the road, so no hiking time there! We drove right by Wahkeena Falls, thinking it required a long hike, but actually it could be seen from the road. Oh well, we caught a glimpse of it, so it still counts. One final falls to check out on our way home. We walked down to Bridal Veil Falls just as the sun was starting to set. It was a beautiful view to finish our day. Final falls count: 8!