White River Falls (also known as Tygh Valley Falls) was a gorgeous and powerful multi-tiered waterfall within the rainshadowed Tygh Valley southeast of Mt Hood. Contrasting the Columbia River Gorge, we noticed that this waterfall sat within a climate zone that was noticeably drier given the presence of more brown grass and less moss in these parts. That alone made the trip out here stand out since that trip was dominated by waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge and Silver Falls State Park.
I often wondered whether this waterfall got its claim to fame from whitewater rafting and kayaking enthusiasts. I recalled seeing in the literature some Webshots of such activities where the photo made it seem like there were doing their rafting between two waterfalls. But after having been there, we could see that the lower waterfall was merely a small drop that could easily be run without the long dropoff that misleading Webshots photo seemed to suggest.
From the car park, we only had to walk a few paces before reaching a viewing area. At this vantage point, we were only able to see the uppermost tier of the waterfall, which plunged in multiple side-by-side segments.
Walking back in the other direction in the downstream direction, we noticed a path leading further down the gorge past a footbridge that ultimately afforded us access to a viewpoint where we could look directly at the middle tiers of the falls in addition to the uppermost tiers. The view from this area was probably our favorite (see top of this page). It turned out that this path also led to some hydro structure near the bottom of the descent.
However, there are some previously worn sections of trail unofficially branching from the main path leading to a few outcrops with a more direct view of all the main tiers of the waterfall. We were content with the views from here, but as stated earlier, I had seen Webshots of this waterfall from a precarious outcrop higher up the gorge looking straight down at the falls. Given the cliff exposure, I realized how much of a safety risk it was if I was to try to duplicate that shot so we didn't even bother.
We drove here by heading east on I-84 to The Dalles (rhymes with "the Pals"), then heading south on Hwy 197 before continuing east on Hwy 216. This drive was roughly 60 miles (a little over an hour) east from Hood River, and is thus a fair bit outside the waterfall-saturated Columbia River Gorge.
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What Other Visitors Have Said
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Swimming Hole (White River Falls) My cousins and I lived on State Hwy. 216, just a mile or so east of the park entrance in 1978 and 1979. We frequently went to the falls during the hot …