Nestled to the east of Mount Hood, Tamanawas Falls is a beauty worth beholding. Less than two hours from Portland, this makes the perfect hike for the wandering adventurer looking to try a slightly lesser-known alternative to the bustling hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. Because of its slightly lengthier drive, day hikers from Portland have a good chance of finding solitude here amongst the raging water and towering trees – just make sure to go on a weekday! Weekends will be a bit more crowded.
The crew here at Oregon Adventurer loves this spot, and it’ll definitely be making our list of the best hikes near Portland. The hike itself begins on a relatively flat gradient, and it stays there the whole time. There’s hardly any elevation gain on this trail, and as you traipse through the forest, you’ll likely be more focused on the scenery than the difficulty of the hike: this is one that can be enjoyed by people with varying degrees of physical capability.
The trail is only a few miles round-trip, but it’s incredibly rewarding. The waterfall at the end of the short hike in almost doesn’t feel deserved, and you’ll want to go back the minute you leave. We’d recommend this hike for almost anyone. It’s easy, beautiful, within driving distance of Portland, and offers more solitude than many of the alternatives nearby.
To get there from Portland, take I-84 eastbound to Hood River, then head south on Highway 35 until you reach the trailhead, just to the east of Mount Hood. On the way back, stop by Riverside in Hood River for some Italian food with a fantastic view of the Columbia.
All in all, Tamanawas Falls is a hike worth taking for any adventurer, and we’d recommend it any time of the year (it can be a great snowshoeing spot in the winter!).
Round-trip: 3.3 miles
Elevation gain: 597 feet
Distance from Portland: Just under 2 hours
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.3972, -121.5718
Thirsty? Pick up a hydroflask before you head to the trail. They’re the best water bottles out there, and our favorite for day hikes.