White River Falls, Oregon

White River Falls in mid-October 2013

Oregon has two halves. If you’ve ever visited Portland or traveled west toward the coast, you’re greeted with intensely green lush forests. It’s hard to escape the green. If you’ve traveled east from Portland, you’ll know that it suddenly becomes much drier, and far less green. That’s not to say that it’s any less beautiful, it’s just a completely different feel. It feels less “Pacific Coast”, and more desert West.

Even the waterfalls seem different in this drier half. White River Falls might be one of the widest waterfalls in Oregon (outside of Willamette Falls) that I’ve seen. Many of the others in the Columbia River Gorge and near the Central Cascades are much thinner. It’s difficult to tell how wide the falls are in photographs because in order to capture both drops, you’ll miss a portion of the upper falls that is blocked by trees and rock. (One the drops is also commonly known as Celestial Falls.)

It’s a stunning waterfall, especially with the fall colors. This was one of the nicest days I have experienced in Oregon, with the sun shining and blue skies throughout the day. With the sun shining, it was difficult to get photos at certain angles, but there were still more than enough vantage points to lead to some pretty good shots. Near the falls, you’ll also experience the history associated with the dam that existed at the falls at one point. There is an old building still below the base of the second drop that reminds us of the recent past. While this waterfall is somewhat isolated from others, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Directions:

  1. From The Dalles, head south on US-197 for 28 miles or so.
  2. Turn left onto OR-216, and head east for 4 miles.
  3. Turn right into the entrance to White River Falls State Park. There is limited parking, though on this beautiful Saturday, it still seemed more than abundant.

Accessibility: 10/10 (easy)
Height: 75′
Length of Hike: 0.1 miles round-trip

Where in the World is White River Falls?

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Cabin Creek Falls, Oregon

Cabin Creek Falls in May 2010

At first I couldn’t remember where Cabin Creek Falls was in Oregon. I looked at the pictures, and the memories suddenly came back. Cabin Creek Falls is found in Starvation Creek State Park, which is found in a rather odd location on the Columbia River Gorge.

Many of the falls in the gorge are found within a short distance of each other, but Cabin Creek Falls and the others in the park are found further east directly of off I-84. You can only access these falls heading east on I-84. You’ll have to backtrack to get to them if you’re heading west on the interstate.

Starvation Creek Falls is the most easily accessed at the park, but there are three other falls along a trail that heads west from the parking area. They are all impressive in their own right. Cabin Creek Falls is the first waterfall you’ll “see” along that path. When I first saw the falls, I didn’t think I would be able to get a full view of the falls since they seemed rather hidden. I continued on to view the other two falls further west, and then backtracked.

I pondered climbing up a crazy, slippery slope, but with further exploration, I discovered that there was a way to get to the falls without hurting myself! You’ll have to explore a little bit, but you’ll soon realize that there is a way to get a fuller view of the falls. If you can figure that out, you’ll be greatly rewarded. The full view of the falls is spectacular, and you’re surrounding by these cliffs that essentially hide you from the view of others. It was extremely peaceful and hidden, and the spray from the falls was very refreshing.

Directions:

  1. From I-84, heading EAST, exit at the sign for Starvation Creek State Park. It’s 15 miles from the more commonly known falls west of this park.
  2. As you pull off, the parking area for the park is directly in front of you. There are a number of spaces, but they do fill up quickly.
  3. From the parking area, head west along the trail that follows I-84. You’ll actually be pretty close to I-84 at points. The first waterfall you’ll encounter heading west is Cabin Creek Falls.

Accessibility: 9/10 (easy, to get the full view)
Height: 220′
Length of Hike: 0.6 miles round-trip

Where in the World is Cabin Creek Falls?