Best Waterfalls near the Columbia River Gorge That Aren’t Closed

Water Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

Hey there. It’s been a long time. But we are back and better than ever… in Hood River, OR. We have moved onto bigger things and moved out to Oregon in hopes of exploring new things.

So what sparked this post? One of our favorite vacations was Spring Break 2016, where we ventured over to the Oregon Coast, then drove down to San Fran. On that trip, we saw some of the most breathtaking views along the Columbia River, such as the must-see, but touristy Multnomah, and the beautiful green foliage of Oneonta Gorge.

Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge by Nic

However, when we went back Spring Break 2018, much of it was closed due to the devastating fire in 2017. While we were lucky to have seen a glimpse of these places a year before, we have wanted to go back, but have been restricted due to the closures.

But enough talk, let’s take a look at some amazing hikes and waterfalls near Hood River that can be accessed right now:


Spirit Falls

Spirit Falls, Washington

Spirit Falls near White Salmon, Washington

Spirit Falls is some of the bluest waters we have ever seen. And the best part is that it isn’t that long of a hike. The short hike has a steep decline on your way to the falls…which means a pretty good ascent. Very worth it.

*please note this trail is no longer hike-able*

Spirit Falls in Washington

Panther Creek Falls

Panther Creek Falls Washington

Panther Creek Falls

Panther FallsWe went to Panther Creek Falls when there was a still a good amount of snow on the ground. While it was a little longer of a hike for us to reach the trailhead, once the snow melts, it is easy to access the Panther Creek from the road. There are boardwalks to the top of the falls and a small and steep scramble to the bottom of the falls.

Dog Creek Falls

Dog creek falls

This place is the perfect lunch spot. It’s extremely close to the highway along the Columbia River, but tucked back enough where all you can hear is the waterfall.

Fall Creek Falls

Fall Creek Falls
captured by: Ben Moisen

Fall Creek Falls has the most obvious name, but it is a great hike. It was possibly the longest of the hikes on this post, but it only took us about 40 minutes.


Salmon River Trail aka “Little Hawaii”

Little Hawaii OR

Head to the Salmon River Trail, but keep going on the road until it ends. There is a small parking area alongside the road. The trail starts out as a wide road but trickles down when you get closer to the water. Turn right when you get to the big tree that has fallen down (you’ll know when you see it). Also go ahead and bring your suits. It has the perfect places to jump on in and enjoy the very cold water.

Punchbowl Falls

punchbowl falls Oregon

punchbowl falls

This hike was a mistake, not in the way you think though. We stumbled upon Punchbowl Falls this while looking for the  “Punch Bowl” (which currently is closed due to the fires). That absence of a space makes a big difference, but a cool spot nonetheless.  It recently became a recognized nature park, so there is a very nice path that is an easy loop. Head to the water and take a dip. Also, we are still confused about the trampoline. Punchbowl

Mosier Creek Falls and Pools

Mosier Creek Falls

Moiser Creek

Not only is this only about 5 miles away from downtown Hood River, it’s also a short hike to the falls. Like Little Hawaii, this is a great spot to jump in, but it is a little warmer, and fun to hang out for a picnic or grab some waterfall pics during the early afternoon.


Zig Zag Falls

Not gonna lie, we have not made our way to this waterfall, but it looks like an easy hike, a nice view, and only about an hour away from Hood River. We will update on our adventure here ASAP.

Stay tuned for more great waterfalls and hikes and comment any others that are your favorite!





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