Wahkeena Falls

Columbia River Gorge / Portland, Oregon, USA

About Wahkeena Falls

Hiking Distance: 0.4 miles round trip
Suggested Time: 15-30 minutes

Date first visited: 2009-03-28
Date last visited: 2009-03-28

Waterfall Latitude: 45.57421
Waterfall Longitude: -122.12755

Waterfall Safety and Common Sense

Wahkeena Falls was one of those waterfalls where we could’ve been satisfied with a distant roadside view or one where we could’ve walked a little bit to attain a closer view.

The distant view showed the full cascade where the main upper drops were small compared to the longer cascade rushing towards car park.

Columbia_River_Gorge_432_03302009 - Full view of the Wahkeena Falls from the bridge across its base
Full view of the Wahkeena Falls from the bridge across its base

However, as we walked closer to the falls, the main tiers became more prominent and we ultimately ended up with the view you see in the photo above.

Right at the base of the main section of the falls, there was a bridge that crossed right in front of it.

Apparently bridges crossing before the sections of a waterfall seemed to be a common theme amongst Columbia River Gorge waterfalls.

For example, Multnomah Falls and Elowah Falls were prime examples of waterfalls with bridges going across in front of them.

We’ve noticed that most people made this waterfall merely a roadside stop, and we did the same on our first visit when we happened to be caught in a downpour and didn’t feel like drenching ourselves under those conditions for a closer look.

Columbia_River_Gorge_067_03282009 - Distant view of the Wahkeena Falls from the parking area at the Old Columbia River Highway
Distant view of the Wahkeena Falls from the parking area at the Old Columbia River Highway

However, we ended up coming back a couple days later when the weather calmed down a bit so we could get a more intimate experience with the Wahkeena Falls.

Speaking of which, the path spanning the car park to the base of the main section of the falls was a short 1/4-mile uphill walk (1/2-mile round trip).

If we were so inclined, we could have extended this excursion into a moderate hike that went beyond the bridge and towards a lookout.

Then, continuing further, we could’ve reached Fairy Falls as well as Necktie Falls.

Both of those waterfalls would be for future visits I’m sure.


Wahkeena Falls resides in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area near Portland in Multnomah County, Oregon. It is administered by the USDA Forest Service. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.

Columbia_River_Gorge_061_03282009 - The stream leading up to Wahkeena Falls as seen from the Old Coloumbia River Highway
Columbia_River_Gorge_068_03282009 - Focused direct look at the Wahkeena Falls from the Old Columbia River Highway revealing just the waterfall in high Spring flow and the stone bridge beneath it
Columbia_River_Gorge_420_03302009 - Coming back to the Wahkeena Falls a couple of days later for another go at experiencing the waterfall more intimately in better weather
Columbia_River_Gorge_423_03302009 - Partial view of the bottom of Wahkeena Falls as seeom from the start of the stone bridge spanning its creek
Columbia_River_Gorge_429_03302009 - Julie crossing the bridge and getting sprayed before Wahkeena Falls

The car park for the trailhead and viewing area of this falls sits just east of the Bridal Veil exit on the way to Multnomah Falls along the Old Scenic Columbia River Highway.

For details on getting to the Bridal Veil exit, see the Multnomah Falls page.

From a trip planning standpoint, the falls sits 29 miles or a little over 30 minutes drive east of Portland. Coming from the other direction, the falls sits 14 miles or under 30 minutes drive west of Cascade Locks.

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Bottom up sweep from the opposite side of the bridge

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Tagged with: columbia river gorge, portland, multnomah, oregon, waterfall, pacific northwest, mt hood, mount hood

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Above Multnomah Falls May 8, 2021 10:29 am by Steve Gillett - If you continue on the trail above the falls you _really_ lose the crowds--as well as the pavement. ;) You pass another couple of waterfalls on Multnomah Creek: first Weisendanger, and then Ecola. After a bit more than half a mile from the top at Multnomah a branch trail heads west, which you can take… ...Read More

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Johnny Cheng

About Johnny Cheng

Johnny Cheng is the founder of the World of Waterfalls and author of the award-winning A Guide to New Zealand Waterfalls. Over the last 2 decades, he has visited thousands of waterfalls in over 40 countries around the world and nearly 40 states in the USA.
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