About White River Falls (Tygh Valley Falls)
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 to this point, we had been exposed to the dominance of waterfalls in 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 of some Webshots photos of such activities where the photo made it seem like they were doing their rafting between two waterfalls.
But after having been there, we could see that the Lower Whitewater Falls (beneath Celestial Falls) was merely a small drop that could easily be run without the long dropoff that the misleading Webshots photo seemed to suggest.
Experiencing White River Falls (Tygh Valley Falls)
From the car park (see directions below), 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.
From this viewpoint, we could look directly at the middle tiers of the White River 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 White River 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.
White River Falls (Tygh Valley Falls) resides in the White River Falls State Park near The Dalles in Wasco County, Oregon. It is administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit their website.
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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