Tamanawas Falls is out on the scenic Highway 35 in between Government Camp and Mt Hood. There are many gorgeous hikes around the area but if you’re looking for an easier one with a waterfall then Tamanawas is the one to do.
Most of the hike itself is flat and that’s why we’d say it’s definitely an easier hike that can be done in two-three hours with lots of stops for pictures, water, and snacks! Honestly, we could have stopped every minute to take pictures because it was so beautiful! But we had a time frame of 2.5 hours and still got tons of photos while spending time at the waterfall as well – just taking in the view.
It’s a beautiful hike since you have a stream running parallel to you during the majority of the hike which makes for stunning pictures in the lush green bush and forest. The hike seriously has everything. It’s a hike you truly enjoy the whole way up and down and the waterfall you’ll see at the end will blow your mind!
Tamanawas Falls is an easy waterfall hike in Oregon
Even without the waterfall at the end, Tamanawas Falls trail is an awesome little adventure. The waterfall at the end is just the icing on the cake to a great little day hike.
The most beautiful part of the waterfall is the uniqueness of being able to literally walk behind it! We sat down and had lunch there while we watched the water smash down right in front of your eyes.
Usually, you can’t get this close to (and even behind) a waterfall without being in a dangerous situation. But Tamanawas falls definitely enables you to get behind it while feeling quite safe. Just be aware that the rocks can be slippery so it’s worth taking your time but absolutely worth the stunning view you’ll get. But prioritize your safety, always!
Practical information about Tamanawa Falls
Distance: 5.3 km return / 3.3 miles return
Elevation: 182 m / 597 ft. elevation gain
Type: Out and back
Length: 1.5-3 hours return
Difficulty: Easy (the last bit getting behind the waterfall could be considered moderate)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Here’s a map of the beginning of the trail
Here’s a picture of the beginning of the trail
Like we said before, make sure to bring some food so you can enjoy your lunch with a beautiful waterfall. Another very important thing is that the hike is located in the Mount Hood National Forest and if you don’t want to get a ticket, make sure to have your America The Beautiful pass showing in the front of your car – or you can buy a day pass! Other than that, the parking lot is quite spacious so you should hopefully be able to find parking.
Once you get on the trail, the route is very easy to follow. There is one part where you cross a bridge and you will find yourself at a T intersection with paths on both sides, just make sure to go left and besides that it’s a very easy hike to navigate through.
You can find more information about the hike here.
How to get there
There are multiple ways to get to Tamanawas Falls from Portland but we definitely recommend taking the I-84 and following the Columbia River Gorge until you pass by the beautiful town of Hood River. This is where they have incredible mountain biking and outdoor activities for anyone interested!
The drive will take roughly an hour and a half from Portland depending on traffic. The directions are here!
Before you go
If you have the America The Beautiful pass then fantastic! But if you don’t, it’s absolutely work purchasing it since it allows you access to ALL national parks in the US for a full year! The pass is 80$ and most parks are 25$ – we’ll let you do the math 😉
If you do have a full day you should definitely check out the cool outdoorsy town of Hood River. We only spent a day there but it’s filled with mountain biking, kayaking, and many more outdoor activities!
What to bring
You are mostly shaded so you don’t have to worry too much about the sun or anything like that. Also it’s not a strenuous hike so running shoes should be fine.
- Water! Even though you may be shaded it can definitely still be very hot outside and water is essential!
- Sunscreen if it’s sunny out!
- Bear spray (Never hurts to bring it with you)
- Food if you get hungry during the hike or want to have a picnic after!
There are picnic tables right at the beginning of the trail so there’s an option to bring a little picnic before or after the hike! 🙂
Other useful info
- We highly recommend checking out Hood River and Government’s Camp.
- Check out the Mount Hood Railroad! This is a scenic train ride that takes you around the National Forest.
- Ramona Falls is also another amazing day hike you can do in the area. Here is all the information you need about Ramona Falls.
We hope you enjoy this hike as much as we did! Enjoy and stay safe out there!
Dom & Jo