Did you know Oregon has more waterfalls than any other state in the US? In fact, the Columbia River Gorge in Northern Oregon is home to 90 waterfalls within the Oregon boundaries alone!
With that in mind, remember that these are simply my Top 15 Oregon waterfalls to photograph. Every person’s list is going to to look very different! While I cannot promise you will personally agree with everything included, I do hope that the photos will speak for themselves!
Those of you with plans to explore the southern region should consider reviewing our guide to the Waterfalls of Southern Oregon. This travel guide provides the ideal road trip route with photos and information for anyone looking to photograph waterfalls in Southern Oregon.
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BONUS WATERFALL: Thor’s Well
One of my favorite places to photograph in all of Oregon is the dramatic, oceanic phenomenon known as Thor’s Well. This is technically a collapsed sea cave. However, the effect that is created during high tide is akin to an ocean waterfall; perhaps the only one of its kind found anywhere in the world!
While I highly recommend a visit to this incredible place, I also recommend extreme caution be taken. I have personally had two cameras perish via salt-water death, but I love the scene too much to not come back.
To fully understand how and when to photograph here, and for more photographic inspiration, queue up our Ultimate Guide to Thor’s Well.
#15 Clearwater Falls
The aptly-named Clearwater Falls is located in the heart of the Umpqua National Forest. Its crystal-clear waters flow gracefully betwixt moss-covered stones and fallen pine.
While Clearwater Falls is not the largest, most imposing cascade you will find in Oregon, the vibrant greens and tumbling water come together for a nice overall composition.
#14 Pearsony Falls
Only the native Southern Oregonians will recognize this gem, hidden outside the small town of Prospect without so much as a signpost to alert passersby to its existence.
Pearsony Falls is another small but beautiful waterfall. Like many in this guide, vibrant greenery and moss adorn the scenery. In the fall, however, much of those greens transform to a terrific golden yellow, breathing new life into an already majestic slice of natural beauty.
DISCOVER THE PERFECT SOUTHERN OREGON WATERFALLS ROAD TRIP
#13 National Creek Falls
National Creek Falls is located near the South Entrance to Oregon’s only National Park – Crater Lake. Despite 750K+ visitors to Crater Lake each year, this fantastic display of roaring water is one of the least-visited waterfalls in Oregon.
Access can be extremely difficult in the winter months, and fallen trees will often obstruct clear views of the falls. Accordingly, National Creek Falls is best visited in the spring and summer months.
#12 Wolf Creek Falls
What makes Wolf Creek Falls such an appealing destination for waterfall photography is the twisting braids at the base of the falls. The water plummets inauspiciously down as it does in so many other places, then suddenly corkscrews at the bottom.
There is something extremely visually satisfying about its shape, framed by dark, shadowed woodland and bright, mossy greens.
#11 Sahalie Falls
The Mckenzie Pass has a lot of amazing waterfalls; in fact, three of them appear in this very Top 15 list!
Sahalie Falls photographs as a forceful plunge of violent white water, cutting through a quintessential Oregon forest. It may lack some of the unique “character” that other waterfalls offer us as photographers. However, it makes up for a lack of quirkiness with sheer force.
#10 Whitehorse Falls
Think of Whitehorse Falls as the exact antithesis of the aforementioned Sahalie Falls above. Its appeal is not in size or force, but purely in its character!
In front of this small cascade lie two serendipitously fallen trees, forming a perfect X. These serve to frame the entire shot as if Mother Nature designed it just for photographers.
While beautiful any time of year, we found a bit of extra magic in the winter following a light snow dusting that created a pop of color separation.
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#9 Yakso Falls
Yakso Falls is located deep in the heart of Umpqua National Forest. It is one of those beautiful hidden gems that even the more active waterfall photographers of Oregon may not know about.
A short hike through timberland typical of the state delivers you to a large clearing where the waters of Junction Creek spill in.
From a photography standpoint, what appeals most about Yakso Falls is the large boulder at its base. This sudden bulge gives the flowing water a distinct shape. It is this “baby bump” that earned it a nickname between Sophie and me of “Pregnant Falls”!
#8 Koosah Falls
Koosah Falls is located off the same trailhead as the previously mentioned Sahalie Falls along the Mckenzie Pass. We rank this stunning waterfall much higher than its sister falls because of the beautiful green channel that frames it.
If you were to close your eyes and imagine the epitome of an Oregon waterfall, I suspect your vision would closely resemble Koosah Falls.
#7 Ramona Falls
First of all, Ramona Falls deserves a photograph of far better quality than this attempt I captured 7 years ago with my old Canon Elph. Unfortunately, I have not been back since for a more impressive frame.
Ramona Falls is located in Northern Oregon and requires a lengthy 7 mile hike to discover. The journey, however, is worth it. This cobbled waterfall is one of the most unique in all of Oregon, and perhaps the Pacific Northwest.
Rather than pouring over in a large flow, the waters of Ramona Falls bump gently down the staircase of protruding rock on their way to a small pool below. Landscape photographers will rejoice at the opportunities for creative compositions, focusing on the intricacies and independent features of the waterfall.
#6 South Falls – Silver Falls State Park
So here is the thing about “Silver Falls”; it is a State Park that boasts TEN waterfalls along approximately 8 miles of trail. Each waterfall is uniquely beautiful, but the crowd favorite is South Falls (featured above).
You could arguably put a number of the waterfalls from Silver Falls State Park on this list. However, South Falls is generally considered the most photogenic. Unfortunately, the sheer volume of visitors to this park can often make photography difficult.
To avoid crowds AND get the best light, be sure to arrive early!
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#5 Tumalo Falls
Central Oregon is home to most of the state’s most beautiful features. Mountains, caves, desert, you name it, Central Oregon has it!
The most famous and spectacular waterfall in the region is Tumalo Falls. A thundering torrent of water splits an open rock face before racing through the pines on its way downstream.
In addition to the featured Tumalo Falls cascade, a trail is available that follows the river and loops back around a small creek. This trail reveals double-digit smaller waterfalls dotting the way.
#4 Watson Falls
At almost 300 feet, Watson Falls is the tallest waterfall in Southern Oregon… Amazingly, this is still less than half the size of the largest in the state!
This colossal drop does pose some challenges in photographing Watson Falls. What makes for a stronger composition is the ability to frame your photos using the creek that spills into view as your foreground.
Depending on the time of year, the flow of Watson Falls and Watson Creek can vary substantially. It is best shot in the spring when the greens come to life, while the seasonal rain and snowmelt fill the creek.
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#3 Proxy Falls
Proxy Falls is one of those “bucket list” items for anyone exploring Oregon. This is the third waterfall to make the list located on the Mckenzie Pass, and is inarguably the most impressive.
Photographing here is both easy and difficult. Those trying to capture the scale and grandeur of Proxy Falls will find it extremely difficult, while the creative-minded will find plenty of unique compositions to take home.
Much like Ramona Falls and the smaller Clearwater Falls already mentioned in this guide, part of the visual appeal of Proxy Falls comes from the unique path the water takes along its descent. The protruding rock seems to transform this one waterfall into numerous miniature cascades.
#2 Toketee Falls
Perhaps it is with some bias that Toketee Falls made it to the #2 spot on the list of the best waterfalls in Oregon. It is definitely the prettiest, most unique waterfall in Southern Oregon, and it may well be my fondness of the region that catapulted Toketee to the #2 spot.
Then again, I have been obsessed with this waterfall ever since the first photo I ever saw of it! I remember having to take a second look to figure out what I was even seeing… At first glance, I thought a waterfall was coming out of a massive, fossilized tree!
The basalt rock that frames Toketee Falls has a unique color and texture that make it a photographer’s dream. In the Autumn, golden yellow leaves join the typically-green scenery and add an extra bit of enchantment.
If you are planning a visit to Toketee Falls, I promise you will want to browse our guide to Waterfalls of Southern Oregon next. This guide reveals a myriad of other falls on the way to and from this one, many of which are hidden. It also highlights the nearby Hot Springs; a cannot miss on any Southern Oregon road trip!
#1 Multnomah Falls – THE Best Waterfall in Oregon
Hands down the most iconic waterfall in Oregon is the incredible Multnomah Falls, located in the Columbia River Gorge. This towering natural miracle drops an incredible 620 feet. Therefore, it is not only the best waterfall in Oregon, but the tallest as well.
The multiple tiers and massive scale of Multnomah Falls makes for an impressive enough photo. The cherry on top is a bridge that splits the falls, providing a beautiful subject for our eyes to land on.
If I had one complaint about photographing this waterfall, it is that freedom of movement is very limited. The result is that everyone from the most ambitious photographer to the ordinary tourist will likely end up with nearly the same composition.
Nevertheless, to place this majestic feature anywhere else on the list of Oregon’s best waterfalls would surely be cause for outrage.
We have a variety of guides for the Pacific North West that you may also find helpful:
- Southern Oregon Photography Locations
- Southern Oregon Coast Photography Locations
- Waterfalls in Southern Oregon
- Best Places to Visit in Oregon
- Things to do on a Northern California Road Trip
- Guide to Shasta-Trinity National Forest
- Burney Falls: Everything You Need To Know
- Photographing Olympic National Park
In addition, there are some photography improvement guides that are valuable for those looking to improve in the craft.
Finally, feel free to browse our Oregon professional photography gallery for prints and inspiration 🙂
Final Thoughts on the Best Waterfalls in Oregon
While so many of our guides have been long travel guides designed to help you plan a trip, this one has been written with a more simple goal of providing visual inspiration. With that in mind, I would truly appreciate your feedback in the comments below; is this something we should do more of?