Discovering the Waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge

Wahclella Falls at sunrise

Nestled between the states of Oregon and Washington, the Columbia River Gorge is a breathtaking natural wonder that draws visitors from around the world. Famous for its dramatic cliffs, lush forests, and majestic waterfalls, the gorge offers a unique opportunity to witness nature’s raw power and captivating beauty. Let’s embark on a journey to uncover just how many waterfalls grace the stunning landscape of the Columbia River Gorge!

The Columbia River Gorge is often referred to as the “Land of Waterfalls,” and rightfully so. With its abundant rainfall and cascading rivers, the region boasts an impressive number of waterfalls, each with its own distinct characteristics. While it’s difficult to provide an exact count due to the varying definitions and sizes of waterfalls, estimates suggest there are over 90 waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge.

Among the numerous waterfalls, there are several iconic cascades that have captured the hearts of visitors throughout the years. One of the most famous is Multnomah Falls, a magnificent two-tiered waterfall standing at an impressive height of 620 feet. Its ethereal beauty and accessibility make it a must-see attraction for visitors to the gorge.

Other notable waterfalls include Wahkeena Falls, with its graceful plunge into a shimmering pool, and Horsetail Falls, which showcases a striking horsetail-like appearance as it cascades down the basalt cliffs. Bridal Veil Falls (pictured below), Latourell Falls, and Shepperd’s Dell Falls are also among the captivating waterfalls that add to the allure of the gorge.

To truly appreciate the waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge, a hiking adventure is highly recommended. Numerous trails wind their way through the gorge, offering breathtaking viewpoints and up-close encounters with the cascades. Some popular trails include the Multnomah Falls Loop Trail, Wahkeena Falls Trail, and the Wahclella Falls Trail, which takes hikers through a dense moss covered canyon. If you time this one just right, you can watch the morning sun cut through the falls.

Beyond the well-known waterfalls, the Columbia River Gorge is home to a plethora of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. While they may not receive as much attention, these lesser-known cascades offer a sense of tranquility and a chance to connect with nature in a more secluded setting. Some hidden gems to explore include Elowah Falls, Punch Bowl Falls, and Dry Falls. Discovering these hidden treasures is like stumbling upon a secret world of beauty and serenity.

The Columbia River Gorge is a haven for waterfall enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its multitude of waterfalls, ranging from the towering and iconic to the hidden and serene, the gorge offers a diverse array of experiences for visitors. Whether you decide to hike on a popular trail or venture off the beaten path, the waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge promise to leave you in awe of nature’s remarkable artistry and power. So, grab your hiking boots and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty of the “Land of Waterfalls”!

Tip: If you decide to visit the Gorge during the Winter months, be sure to pack some microspikes or ice cleats as well. The waterfalls are amazing to see in a frozen landscape, but are also even more dangerous to traverse.

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