Half Day Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour

23 Ratings
  • Live Guide
  • Day Trip
  • Group Tour
  • Pickup Service
  • E-Ticket

Guests on this tour will be treated to a scenic drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway and see 4 or 5 unique and breathtaking waterfalls, including world-famous Multnomah Falls. They will enjoy several short walks through secondary and primary old growth forest while learning about the flora and fauna of the region. One of the stops along the way includes the Historic Vista House which allows for amazing photo opportunities. Their guide will provide interesting historical, geological and cultural highlights throughout the tour. Snacks, beverages, luxury van transportation, pick-up and drop-off are included in the price of the tour.

Itinerary Details

This is a typical itinerary for this product

Stop At: Vista House

Guests will enjoy an interesting narration describing the cultural highlights of Portland and the surrounding area as we head towards the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway in our comfortable high-roof luxury touring van. We pass through the charming community of Troutdale on our way towards world famous waterfall row! The Columbia River Gorge plays host to the highest density of year-round waterfalls anywhere in the United States and abounds with jaw-dropping natural splendor, stunning vistas, lush old growth forests, a plethora of hiking trails and riveting Native American and pioneer history. Our first stop will be the historic Vista House (Crown Point) which dates all the way back to 1918. Guests can use our “million dollar” restroom (which serves as a museum and way station for Gorge travelers) covered in marble and mahogany and enjoy the truly incredible views which complement the elegant architecture of the building. Incredible photo opportunities abound!

Duration: 15 minutes

Stop At: Latourell Falls

This 249-foot tall waterfall provides a wonderful example of both columnar and entablature basalt, formed by the numerous lava flows that created many of the impressive geological formations of the region. Latourell Falls is also unique in the fact that it falls straight down from the overhanging cliff above without tumbling off any other surface before hitting the ground below in an impressive eruption of mist (and rainbows) if the lighting is just right! A short trail leads down from the wooded parking area to a true feast for the senses as chartreuse-colored Golden cobblestone lichen pops brightly against the dark natural "cathedral" of lava draped in ferns, salmonberries, clovers, wild cucumber vines, wildflowers of every sort in the spring and summer and towering stands of firs and maples. Drink in the clean invigorating sent of the forest and feel the mist of the falls upon your face while invigorating the soul and the spirit!

Duration: 20 minutes

Stop At: Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area

Enjoy this often overlooked hidden two-tiered waterfall which tumbles 92 feet down a dramatic ravine spanned by the historic Sheppard's Dell bridge above Young's Creek which slices it's way through the lava, creating interesting shapes and features before spilling into the Columbia River. Your guide will explain why this place is so special!

Duration: 5 minutes

Stop At: Wahkeena Falls

This elusive 242-foot tall gem sits just off the historic highway, crashing and plunging powerfully through the lush lava landscape with multiple twists and turns before it's crystal clear outflow creek arrives at a lovely stone viewing platform boasting several benches and some interesting historical notes. There is a steep but short hike to the lower portion of the falls which is fronted by another historic and scenic bridge. Your guide will give more history as we pass by and indicate if we'll be walking more here or heading on to Multnomah Falls, depending on timing of the day and guest interest and ability level. Originally named Gordon Falls, it was renamed by the legendary mountain climbing group, the Mazamas, to better honor and feature the local Native American Yakima word, Wahkeena, which means "the most beautiful"... a name certainly more fitting of this special place!

Duration: 10 minutes

Stop At: Multnomah Falls

Towering above this world-famous locale, 620-foot tall Multnomah Falls looms large as the 2nd-tallest year round waterfall, Oregon's tallest cascade, and one of the crown jewels of "waterfall row"! Take in the falls from the viewing platform at the base or hike the short switchback trail through lush temperate rainforest vegetation leading to the historic Benson Bridge built in 1914. This 45’ long "deck arch" bridge floats dramatically 105' in the air and offers visitors a miraculous view, perched directly on top of the lower falls while the spray from above adorns the experience, carried aloft by the natural wind created by the enormity of the falls themselves! While visiting this magnificent natural wonder, guests can also choose to explore the historic Multnomah Lodge which houses a restaurant with incredible views of the falls, a gift shop with plenty of postcards, restrooms, and an information center with trail maps and information about the flora and fauna of the region.

Duration: 30 minutes

Pass By: Oneonta Gorge

This fascinating and mostly hidden "Gorge within the Gorge" has been a local favorite of adventurous water-oriented hikers for generations. This unique slot-canyon style hike keeps three hidden waterfalls tucked away out of sight amidst the 25-million year old moss, lichen and fern-covered sheer lava cliffs which have been declared a rare and protected botanical zone by the U.S. Forest Service due to the multiple endemic species that live only here and nowhere else on the planet. There is no paved or gravel trail as waterfall seekers must hike, wade and swim through the freezing cold waters of Oneonta Creek, clambering over boulders and log jams to reach the prize of the 100' tall Lower Oneonta Falls at the end of the chasm. Middle and Upper Oneonta Falls can be viewed via longer hikes that wind through this fascinating area. A recently restored tunnel, blasted right through the basalt outcropping back in 1914 can be easily seen right from the road as we pass by and learn more!

Stop At: Horsetail Falls- Columbia River Gorge

This 176'-tall stunning waterfall presents itself in grand fashion shockingly close to the highway with a refreshing plunge pool at its base. "Horsetail" is a larger genre of waterfalls, which also lends itself to the specific name of this beloved cascade. The easy access and aesthetically pleasing shape of the falls provides for world class photo options and a chance to appreciate its unique character and raw beauty just a few steps from the van. For adventurous folks who wish to return later to the Gorge on their own and explore further, there is also a trailhead here which leads to Ponytail Falls, Middle Oneonta Falls and several dizzying vistas of the dramatic and famous Oneonta Gorge. After visiting Horsetail, we'll continue on past Ainsworth State Park and rejoin the main highway 84 with several close up views of 848' tall Beacon Rock as we loop back to Portland. Enjoy expansive views of the majestic Columbia River and scenic vistas of the Washington State side of the Gorge.

Duration: 10 minutes
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