Situated on the Oregon side of the scenic Columbia River Gorge, Wahkeena Falls cascades 242 feet (74 meters) in tiers through lush green forest. It’s one of the most popular waterfalls in the area, not only because of its beauty, but also because getting to it requires only a very short hike.
Located across a small stone bridge from the Columbia River Highway, this tiered waterfall is both easy to get to and beautiful (the name Wahkeena is believed to come from the Yakama term for “most beautiful”). The waterfall is a popular stop on Columbia Gorge tours, frequently visited in conjunction with nearby attractions such as Bridal Veil and Multnomah Falls. A popular loop hike connects Wahkeena with Multnomah Falls, passing by Fairy Falls en route.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Bring rain gear: Rain is common in the gorge, even during the summer.
- Although the hike is short, it requires walking on uneven terrain, so wear sturdy shoes.
- The parking lot here fills up quickly. If you visit on a summer weekend, be prepared to park elsewhere and walk.
How to Get There
Wahkeena Falls is located in the Columbia River Gorge, on the Historic Columbia River Highway, about a 45-minute drive from Portland via the I-84 freeway. If you can't find parking right at the falls, you may have better luck leaving your car in the parking area at nearby Multnomah Falls and walking the rest of the way.
When to Get There
The waterfall is open throughout the year, though it’s at its best in early summer, when snowmelt keeps the water levels high. This time of year is also relatively warm, though there’s still a much higher chance of rain than if you visit later in the season. Avoid summer weekends if possible, as the crowds can make traffic (and parking) a pain.