20 Magical Waterfalls in Oregon: A Photographer’s Guide (2022)

Best Waterfalls in Oregon blog cover graphic - text overlaying an image of a cascading Oregon waterfall surrounded by lush greenery
Discover the 20 best waterfalls to photograph in Oregon in this travel & photography guide!

WRITTEN BY: Adam Marland, Oregonian Travel & Landscape Photographer.
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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!

In this guide, you will discover the best Oregon waterfalls to visit and tips for photographing them.

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.

Disclosure: In order to keep providing you with free content, this post likely contains affiliate links. If you make a booking or purchase through one of these links we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. So a HUGE thank you to you if you click one of these links 🙂

Best Waterfalls in Oregon Overview

South Falls, featured above in autumn colors, is one of 10 amazing waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park.
South Falls, featured above in autumn colors, is one of 10 amazing waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park.

There are more waterfalls in Oregon than any other state, but these are the best of the best:

  1. Multnomah Falls
  2. Toketee Falls
  3. Proxy Falls
  4. Watson Falls
  5. Lower South Falls
  6. Tumalo Falls
  7. South Falls
  8. Ramona Falls
  9. Oneonto Gorge Falls
  10. Koosah Falls
  11. Abiqua Falls
  12. Lower North Falls
  13. Yakso Falls
  14. Whitehorse Falls
  15. Sahalie Falls
  16. Wolf Creek Falls
  17. National Creek Falls
  18. Pearsony Falls
  19. Clearwater Falls
  20. Bonus: Thor’s Well

1. Multnomah Falls

The number one best waterfall in Oregon has to be Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.
The number one most photogenic, picturesque waterfalls in Oregon has to be Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.

Hands down the best waterfall in Oregon is the iconic Multnomah Falls, located in the Columbia River Gorge. This towering natural miracle drops an incredible 620 feet, making it the tallest in the state 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.

The only things that detracts from the experience at the falls are the frequent crowds and limited freedom of movement. Due to the gate and restrictions, it is very difficult to achieve a unique composition.

Nevertheless, to place this majestic feature anywhere else on the list of Oregon’s best waterfalls would surely be cause for outrage.

2. Toketee Falls

A long exposure photo of Toketee Falls waterfall in southern Oregon.
Southern Oregonians consider the best waterfall in Oregon to be the locally renowned Toketee Falls.

Tucked away deeply in the Umpqua National Forest, a short hike is all that is required to deliver visitors to one of the most photogenic views in the entire state.

At first glance, it almost appears as if a waterfall is coming out of a massive, fossilized tree. In fact, this basalt rock is the result of ancient volcanic activity.

The framing resulting from the columnar basalt gives Toketee Falls a unique color and texture that make it a photographer’s dream. In the fall, golden yellow leaves join the typically green scenery and add an extra bit of enchantment.

Explore our favorite, most beautiful waterfalls in Oregon with this photography guide.
Explore our favorite, most picturesque waterfalls in Oregon with this photography guide.

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!

FIND THE PERFECT CAPTION FOR YOUR PHOTO: Best Waterfall Quotes for Instagram

3. Proxy Falls

The remote nature of Proxy Falls makes visiting this top Oregon waterfall all the more appealing.
The remote location of Proxy Falls makes visiting this top Oregon waterfall all the more appealing.

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.

4. Watson Falls

One of the best waterfalls in Oregon, Watson Falls is the second tallest in the state.
One of the best waterfalls in Oregon, Watson Falls is the second tallest in the state.

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.

The ~300 ft plunge at Watson Falls makes for a beautiful photograph.
The ~300 ft plunge at Watson Falls makes for a beautiful photograph.

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5. Lower South Falls

Falls leaves decorate the stunning Lower South Falls in Silver Falls State Park.
Falls leaves decorate the stunning Lower South Falls in Silver Falls State Park.

This incredible cascade is just one of the beautiful waterfalls along the Trail of Ten Falls in Silver Falls State Park. However, it may just be the most beautiful in the bunch.

If possible, try to time your visit to coincide with the incredible autumn foliage. The peak time varies by year, but is typically towards the end of October.

6. Tumalo Falls

Tumalo Falls, near Bend in central Oregon, thunders down the open rock face into the flowing river below
Many Bend natives will insist that when combined with its nearby counterparts, Tumalo Falls deserves consideration as one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.

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.

7. South Falls

Of the 10 you will discover, South Falls is the most popular and beautiful waterfall in Silver Falls State Park.
Of the 10 you will discover, South Falls is the most popular and best waterfall in 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. All of the waterfalls along the aptly named Trail of Ten Falls are uniquely beautiful. However, 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!

DISCOVER ALL TEN WATERFALLS: Trail of Ten Falls – Silver Falls State Park

8. Ramona Falls

The weeping wall at Ramona Falls provides a lot of opportunity for creative waterfall photography compositions making it one of the best waterfalls in Oregon.
The weeping wall at Ramona Falls provides a lot of opportunity for creative waterfall photography compositions.

Ramona Falls is located in Northern Oregon and requires a lengthy 7-8 mile roundtrip 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.

9. Oneonta Gorge Falls

At the end of the Oneonta Gorge hike is this slender, beautiful waterfall.
At the end of the Oneonta Gorge hike is this slender, beautiful waterfall.

Unfortunately, the hike to Oneonta Gorge is currently closed and has been since a large fire burned much of the Columbia River Gorge in 2017. However, it looks like it may be reopening in 2022 on a permit system.

The waterfall of Oneonta Gorge is a gorgeous reward following a Tomb Raider-esque hike into the woods, over giant boulders, and through knee-to-waist deep waters.

10. Koosah Falls

Koosah Falls is among the most quintessentially picturesque waterfalls in Oregon.
Koosah Falls is among the most quintessentially picturesque waterfalls in Oregon.

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.

11. Abiqua Falls

Abiqua Falls pour over Basalt Columnar Rock in this long exposure photo.
The mighty Abiqua Falls pours over columnar basalt rock.

Nearby to Silver Falls State Park is the isolated but impressive Abiqua Falls. Much like Toketee Falls near the top of this list of best waterfalls in Oregon, it too is framed by basalt rock which resembles fossilized trees.

The trail is an easy .6 mile out and back through a gorgeous forest. Throughout the hike, you will be surrounded by the type of beauty for which the Pacific Northwest is known.

12. Upper North Falls

A young girl stands in the spray of the roaring Upper North Falls in Silver Falls, Oregon.
Sophie feels the spray of the roaring Upper North Falls in Silver Falls, Oregon.

Narrowing down the best waterfalls in Silver Falls State Park is not an easy task as at least half of those along the Trail of Ten Falls could arguably make the cut. The view of Upper North Falls from its base is a level of pretty that is hard to debate.

This waterfall is one of the most easily accessible in the park. It has its own designated parking area which is only about a quarter-mile away.

13. Yakso Falls

This Oregon waterfall is known as "Pregnant Falls" due to the large protruding boulder at its base.
We have taken to calling this Oregon waterfall “Pregnant Falls” due to the large protruding boulder at its base.

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 of “Pregnant Falls”!

14. Whitehorse Falls

A young girl in a red dress adds a pop of color and magic to the beautiful scenery at Whitehorse Falls, Oregon.
Sophie adds a pop of color and magic to the beautiful scenery at Whitehorse Falls.

What Whitehorse Falls lacks in size and scale, it makes up for in its natural setting.

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, you will find a bit of extra magic in the winter with a bit of a snow dusting tp create a pop of color separation.

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15. Sahalie Falls

Sahalie Falls is the largest waterfall by volume along the Mackenzie Pass.
Sahalie Falls is the largest waterfall by volume along the Mckenzie Pass.

The Mckenzie Pass has a lot of amazing waterfalls; in fact, three of them appear in this very 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 photographers, but it makes up for a lack of quirkiness with sheer force.

The setting is as green as can be and oozes with PNW charm. It is an easy, family-friendly walk to Sahalie Falls and on the same trail as Koosah Falls.

16. Wolf Creek Falls

Wolf Creek Falls is like many other waterfalls in Oregon... with a "twist"!
Wolf Creek Falls is like many other waterfalls in Oregon… with a “twist”!

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.

17. National Creek Falls

This impressive Oregon waterfall is often neglected, despite its proximity to Crater Lake.
This impressive Oregon waterfall is often neglected, despite its proximity to Crater Lake.

National Creek Falls is located near the South Entrance to Oregon’s only National Park – Crater Lake. Despite 700K+ 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.

18. Pearsony Falls

One of the smaller but best waterfalls in Oregon, Pearsony Falls is a local favorite.
One of the smaller but most charming waterfalls in Oregon, Pearsony Falls is a local favorite.

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

19. Clearwater Falls

Crystal-clear water tumbles its way over moss covered rock at Clearwater Falls.
Crystal-clear water tumbles its way over moss-covered rock at 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.

BONUS: Thor’s Well

Thor's Well gets a bonus spot as we consider it perhaps the only ocean waterfall in the world.
Thor’s Well gets a bonus spot as we consider it perhaps the only ocean waterfall in the world.

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.

Photographing the Best Waterfalls in Oregon

While it is possible to capture long exposure photographs of waterfalls on your iPhone using the Live Mode option, for the best possible photos you may want to consider a few key pieces of photography gear:

  • Camera: I use the Sony a7riii and have been in love with it ever since the first photo I took with it. However, for beginners you may wish to consider an entry level DSLR. This will allow you to start getting to grips with manual settings and decide whether photography is something you enjoy enough to invest in.
  • Lens: The lens I use most frequently is the Sony FE 24-105mm F4 G OSS as the zoom lens allows for the most diversity. I also often use the Laowa 15mm F2 for shots that require a wider angle.
  • Tripod: A tripod is essential if you want to create a long exposure waterfall image. When traveling, I use the Manfrotto Be Free as it’s lightweight and easy to carry on longer hikes. For times when I require something more stable, I use the Artcise Carbon Fiber Tripod.
  • Filters: A Circular Polarizing (CPL) filter (CPL) or Neutral Density (ND) filter are very useful for allowing slower shutter speeds and for cutting glare on the water. The best CPL and ND filters I have found are the quartz line from Polar Pro.

I have also put together a complete guide for photographing waterfalls where you can learn more about the equipment I use, composition and other techniques for capturing beautiful photos.

DISCOVER MORE INSPIRATION: Dream Destinations for your Travel Bucket List

Other Oregon & PNW Guides

We have a variety of guides for the Pacific Northwest that you may also find helpful, as well as instructional guides for learning photography.

Additionally, you are welcome to browse our Oregon professional photography gallery for prints and more inspiration.

Oregon Guides

Instructional Guides to Photography

Final Thoughts on the Best Waterfalls in Oregon

A small cascade with fall leaves at Silver Falls State Park.
A small cascade with fall leaves at Silver Falls State Park.

With over 200 waterfalls in Oregon, it was hard to narrow it down to a top 15 list! We hope this guide will help provide you with some inspiration and encourage you to go chases those waterfalls. I’m certain you won’t be disappointed!

Being a fellow waterfall lover, you may also enjoy our collection of Inspirational Waterfall Quotes.

As always, we truly appreciated feedback – good or bad! And if you have a favorite I’ve missed, let me know in the comments below!

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10 thoughts on “20 Magical Waterfalls in Oregon: A Photographer’s Guide (2022)”

  1. I got to spend a couple of months in Oregon while I was on an 18-month RV trip and thought it was so beautiful – in particular the waterfalls! There are SO many of them! You’ve got some good ones here!

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