Old Scenic Highway 30 is an absolute must-see while you are in the Columbia River Gorge. The highway is teeming with fabulous waterfalls all waiting for you to explore. In fact, there are seven:
- Horsetail Falls is named for its characteristic form and plunges 176 feet. Enjoy a short hike on Horsetail Falls Trail to Upper Horsetail Falls, also called Ponytail Falls, where the trail goes behind the base of the Falls. Horsetail Falls is a great spot just to stop and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding area.
- Oneonta Falls does take some effort to get to but it is totally worth it. Tucked away in a slot canyon, the falls are a dream come true for the adventurous hiker! The hidden gem clocks in at 100 feet, and is surrounded by lush green moss. The sight is magical.
- Multnohmah Falls, a 611-foot-tall roaring, awe-inspiring cascade of icy water, is both powerful and beautiful. For an awesome view walk several hundred feet up the paved trail to reach Benson Bridge, which spans the falls at the first tier’s misty base. Standing on the bridge you have a perfect view of the top tier’s full 542-foot height and a knee-wobbling vantage point over the second tier’s 69-foot drop!
- Wahkeena Falls is a 242 foot waterfall that does not directly plunge to the ground. Wahkeena Falls, rather, has a more subtle cascading flow. These falls have been featured in numerous travel guides and in photography books. The Native American (reportedly Yakama) phrase means most beautiful. A short hike from the parking lot at the base leads to the stone bridge that crosses the main part of the falls. That trail continues on east to Multnomah Falls, the next falls to the east.
- Bridal Veil Falls is a short hike from a trailhead right off the Columbia River Highway to a majestic falls. The trail starts from the east end of the parking lot as a flat, paved trail. Soon, it changes to gravel and works its way down in one long switchback to Bridal Veil Creek. There’s a staircase down the side of the valley and a beautiful wooden arch bridge over the creek. The trail then climbs to a wooden lookout with a view of Bridal Veil Falls.
- Sheppard’s Dell isn’t as much a hike, as a leg stretcher, deserving mention for its amazing stonework – cut from the cliffs and protected by a stone wall created by the masons working on the nearby Columbia highway. Young Creek flows down a series of falls into a deep canyon. This beautiful spot, with its roaring waterfall cascading down steep cliffs far below is around 42′ tall at the upper falls and the lower tier is around 50′ tall.
- Latourell Falls is usually the first waterfall seen along the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway and leaves quite an impression! The falls plunge 224 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt – some of the best formations in the Pacific Northwest – before cascading hastily towards the Columbia River.
On your way to Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins or at the end of your trip on your way back to the city take time for a day of exploring these beautiful waterfalls!