If you’re looking to elope beside a cascading waterfall, then Oregon is the place for you. The state of Oregon is home to over 230 waterfalls. In the Portland area alone, there are over 90 waterfalls. I’ve included a few of my fave waterfall locations for elopements along with a few others that I’ve been dreaming of!
Willamette Valley Waterfall Elopement Locations
The epitome of Oregon wilderness and a perfect elopement location for any outdoor-loving couple. Willamette Valley is a mix of old growth forests, narrow canyons, tall mountains, and cascading waterfalls including:
Located in the Santiam Foothills, this hidden 100 foot waterfall is a worthy contender. An easy 2.8 mile trail takes you through an open meadow before venturing into a dense forest of Douglas Fir and Hemlock trees. At the base of the falls, you can even explore a cavern that takes you behind the waterfall.
If you’re up for a bit of adventure, Marion Falls will not disappoint. The 5 mile out and back trail will take you past Marion Lake before reaching the beautiful cascading falls. Although this waterfall requires a bit more effort to reach, it’s definitely worth it. Plus, the extra effort helps keep the crowds away.
Sahalie and Koosah Falls
Stroll along the beautiful Mckenzie River to these two gorgeous waterfalls. An easy 2.6 mile hike will take you to the 100 foot tall Sahalie Falls and its plunging white water. From there, you can continue on to the smaller but equally as stunning 70 foot tall Koosah Falls.
McDowell Creek Falls
An easy 1.8 mile loop takes you through lush woodlands where you’ll traverse a series of wooden footbridges to reach two stunning waterfalls, Royal Terrace Falls and Majestic Falls. The surrounding scenery will make you feel as if you’re in a fairy tale as you frolic across and along bubbling streams and falls.
Silver Falls State Park
Home to the Trail of Ten Falls, Silver Falls State Park is known for its abundance of waterfalls. The 7 mile trail takes you through a forested canyon past one epic waterfall after another—ten to be exact! Check out this recent engagement session I shot for a sweet Portland couple at Silver Falls State Park.
Where to Stay near Willamette Valley
Located in central Oregon about two hours south of Portland, the city of Eugene is the perfect place to base yourself if you’re thinking of eloping in Willamette Valley. Situated at the south end of Willamette Valley, it’s about an hour away from most of the waterfalls on this list. Plus, it has a small airport if you’re looking to fly in. The city has tons of great places to explore like 5th Street Public Market, the University of Oregon, murals and art museums, and so many great places to eat and drink. There are tons of unique airbnbs or stay in some of the city’s boutique hotels like the popular Inn at the 5th. Not only is the city full of fun things to do, its close proximity to the mountains and coast means there’s plenty more just outside the city to explore.
Oregon’s capital, Salem, lies in the heart of Willamette Valley. In fact, the Willamette River runs right through it. Sandwiched between Portland, an hour to its north, and Eugene, an hour to its south, Salem is only a 30 minute drive to the popular Silver Falls State Park and about an hour from the other waterfalls mentioned above. Home to the state capitol, the city itself has a historic district, a few museums, and a park to explore, but the surrounding beauty and adventures of the valley is what really draws people to it.
Columbia River Gorge Waterfall Elopement Locations
Just outside of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge is a magical place for an elopement or engagement session. Frolic among colorful wildflower fields, walk through old-growth forest, or stand beneath gushing waterfalls like:
Standing at 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall featuring a two-tiered cascading fall that flows year round. As one of Oregon’s most visited attractions, it can get crowded especially during summer weekends so it’s best to visit midweek and early morning.
This spectacular fall stands 220 feet tall surrounded by basalt columns. Being one of the closest waterfalls to Portland, it can get fairly crowded, but if you visit on off hours it is absolutely worth it. An easy 2.4 mile hike will take you close to the falls and back down.
Wahkeena Falls and Fairy Falls
Adventure-loving couples this one’s for you. Getting to these waterfalls requires a moderate hike up a series of switchbacks before reaching the three-tiered Wahkeena Falls. Continuing on past Wahkeena Falls, will bring you to the beautiful Fairy Falls that gushes over a rocky cliff.
Horse Tail Falls
Carved into a basalt cliff, Horse Tail Falls cascades down 176 feet into a pool below. This is a great option if you’re looking for an easily accessible waterfall. You can continue beyond the base of the waterfall with a short hike to Upper Horse Tail Falls, also known as Ponytail Falls, and walk behind its flowing water.
Bridal Veil Falls
This impressive two-tiered waterfall is a beautiful spot for an elopement. A short hike will take you to the falls where you can take in the breathtaking view of the gushing water. Another half-mile paved path takes you to an overlook with incredible vistas of the Columbia River Gorge.
Where to Stay near the Columbia River Gorge
Not only does Portland have a major airport making it easy to fly into, but it’s also only a 30 minute drive from the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Portland is a vibrant city well-known for its quirky and artsy culture. There are tons of amazing restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, and sights to see, making it a perfect home base for your Columbia River Gorge elopement. Some highlights include the Portland Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden, Forest Park, and Powell’s City of Books. Plus, you’ll have plenty of options for places to stay from boutique hotels to cute neighborhood airbnbs.
Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River is the perfect place to stay if you’re wanting a more small town feel. When it comes to where to stay, you can choose from hotels, cute airbnbs, or even set up camp at a nearby campground. Hood River may be a small town compared to Portland, but there is still so much to do here. Aside from having the beautiful Columbia River Gorge on your doorstep, the food scene, breweries, fruit orchards, and nearby wineries can’t be beat.
Other Places to Stay
If you’re more into the idea of staying somewhere off-the-beaten path, fortunately, there are some really cool places near the waterfalls that might be more your style. You can find plenty of secluded cottages and romantic cabins on Airbnb or VRBO in both the Columbia River Gorge and Willamette Valley. One of the best parts about staying in places like these is you can include them as another location during your elopement for cozy getting ready photos!
If you’re looking for the perfect waterfall backdrop for your Oregon adventure elopement, the waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge and Willamette Valley will surely not disappoint!
Ready to book your Oregon waterfall elopement?! Contact me today!