The band TLC had obviously never visited the Pacific Northwest when they crooned, “Don’t go chasing waterfalls.” The area’s stunning and diverse wilderness includes hundreds of jaw-dropping waterfall wonders that are worth chasing, from small but scenic falls to dramatic drops that leave you breathless.
As with most wilderness adventures, the chase is worth the prize. We’ve put together the best six Pacific Northwest waterfalls, giving you a crash course in where to start, how to get there, and what you can expect when you cross the finish line. Read on to take the plunge!
It’s an easy race to Multnomah Falls, but the finish line may be the most rewarding of the group. Its impressive cascade is fed by underground springs and melting snow from Larch Mountain, falling 611 feet to the glittering pool beneath. The viewing area is nestled into a carved-out wall at the fall’s base, giving you an impressive upward view of the sheer power and beauty of this natural wonder.
For an even better vantage point, hike the paved trail to Benson Bridge for a stomach-dropping view of the fall’s final 69-foot drop.
The 1,270-foot Drury Falls is formed as Fall Creek tumbles into a free-fall over the rim of Tumwater Canyon. Fall Creek is relatively small and runs dry during the summer months, but during snowmelt season it provides a powerful flow over the cliffs that crashes against the steep cliffs below.
The most popular viewpoint is along Highway 2, as 600 feet of the flow can be seen from the road. Park at one of the pullouts about 500 yards from the falls on either side; you’ll need to walk beside the highway to reach the viewpoint, so be aware of passing cars!
Hidden just off an inconspicuous rest area along Stevens Pass, Deception Falls is often overlooked. But its magical trip through an ancient Douglas Fir forest is worth the stop. Though not as tall as some other waterfalls on our list, this multi-tiered beauty tumbles in short but dramatic drops full of impressive white-capped waves as it makes its way to join the Tye River. There are multiple lookout points that offer great views right past the parking lot, but the best vantage point is at the designated viewing platform at the top of the falls. You can even be serenaded by the waves as you grab a quick bite at the Picnic Area (but be sure to protect your snack from the spray).
If you have time, be sure to take the .8-mile interpretative trail loop nearby to learn about the ecology of the area and enjoy even more lookout points to the falls. You’ll find interpretative signage, cross picturesque bridges, and get to see the fall’s powerful whitewater rapids blend into a cool, crystal pool at the bottom of the trail.
Bridal Veil Falls
In the depths of Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park in the Fraser Valley, this popular waterfall gets its name from the unique way its powerful cascade flows over a wide, smooth rock face in a delicate-looking veil. But don’t mistake its deceptively fragile appearance for weakness; crashing more than 122 meters to the bottom, this waterfall is truly awe-inspiring in its natural power.
An easy 15-minute trail through cedar and fir trees leads to a designated viewpoint at the base of the falls. During the winter, falling sheets of ice and unstable cliff rocks make this a hazardous, slippery endeavor. Perhaps the best time to view Bridal Veil Falls is during the summer when the water flow dries considerably, and the intimidating spray slows to a mesmerizing stream.
This 25-meter waterfall is so impressive they named the entire park after it. It’s one of the area’s best “plunge waterfalls,” meaning it falls vertically and loses contact with the cliff face behind it as the Campbell River plunges into the rock-walled canyon below. The powerful drop creates an abundant spray and a thunderous roar that can be heard for miles around.
There are multiple trails in the park that lead to great lookout points for Elk Falls, but the newest addition is also the most popular: a thrilling suspension bridge that floats 60 meters above the Canyon floor. Offering a top-to-bottom view of the cascading flow, its multiple viewing and cantilevered platforms give you a breathtaking sight of the waterfall from every angle!
Don’t be fooled by their bottom position on our list – Alexander Falls is a frontrunner in the amazing waterfalls category. Three impressive tiers drop over 43 meters in a 12-meter wide flow that’s framed by jagged andesite cliffs and vibrantly green trees. The forest that surrounds it is wide and wild, offering views of curious wildlife (watch out for bears) and plenty of prime hiking territory.
A dedicated viewing platform and picnic area sits just across from the falls and offers a wide, but dry, view of its immense drop. There’s also an obscure trailhead not far from the platform that leads to the top and bottom of the falls, but both hikes are considered strenuous in difficulty and should only be tried by experienced hikers.
Late summer and fall offer fantastic opportunities for more than foliage viewing in the Northwest. If you are a fan of wineries, this just might be the perfect time of year to enjoy them.
Leavenworth Valley Wine Country is a hotbed of wineries and tasting rooms, as well as hard cider tasting rooms. Visitors enjoy wine festivals, but also taking guided wine tours. Either way, you’ll sip your way through this young wine region and be planning a trip back before you leave.
We have compiled a guide to some wineries and cideries that will be useful as you make your way around the area. Also, check out this interactive wine map for specific map pinpoints.
77 Stage Road
Enjoy award-winning, ultra-premium wines in an incredible mountain setting overlooking the Wenatchee River Valley. Silvara Cellars produces small-batch wines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot. These wines are sourced from high-quality vineyards in Washington State.
217 9th Street
The Wine Cellar features 8,000 square feet of luxury space, including six lounges plus a craft cocktail bar offering more than enough room for large groups. Enjoy wine, cocktails, local beer and cider.
217 9th Street, Suite A
Basel Cellars is an estate winery in Walla Walla with a tasting room and two more located in Leavenworth and Woodinville. Specializing in rich fruit-flavored wines, Basel Cellars offers full-bodied reds with smooth tannins. Experience these beautiful vinos and find a favorite.
920 Front Street #B-3
Experience excellent wines from a family-owned, estate-grown winery. You’ll find Goose Ridge to have exceptional choices made from grapes grown in their 2,200-acre vineyard. Join their wine club and get on the invite list to special winery events.
217 9th Street, Suite B
Visitors love the approachable Washington State wines, indicative of the new world style in winemaking. Since 2000, Owner & Winemaker John Patterson has been refining his offerings of robust red blends, single varietals, classic whites, roses, sparkling wines, and dessert wines. The venue for tasting in the Leavenworth location is an underground wine cellar making the experience even better! Make an appointment for a private tasting or experience at your leisure.
220 9th Street, Suite C
Broken Barrel is Leavenworth’s first Cider Shop that also specializes in world wines, growler fills and kegs to go. Look for special events for even more fun!
920 Front Street, Suite B-2
One of the most unique wineries in the Pacific Northwest, highly-touted Icicle Ridge Winery is located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains close to Leavenworth. Hand-crafted, award-winning wines are the stars of the show at the 5,000-square-foot log home where the tasting takes place. Settle in at one of the massive hand-carved tables and enjoy amazing views of the vineyards while sipping on lovely vinos. This winery was featured on NBC’s Today Show and is a don’t-miss winery in the region.
900 Front Street, Suite C
Offering a great selection of ciders, beers, and meads, this unique little hive offers a comfortable, dog-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy a rotating line-up of 12 craft ciders and meads along with 12 beers. There’s something for everyone!
617 4-A Front Street
Open daily, noon-to-6, D’Vinery offers a beautiful wine tasting at Leavenworth’s oldest winery. Enjoy events, wines, tours and join the wine club for extra fun.
The Bavarian community of Leavenworth offers these and plenty more fabulous opportunities to taste the area’s best wines, ciders and other crafts. You’ll need a temporary home when in the area, so before you plan a wine route, plan your accommodations. We hope to see you soon in Leavenworth Valley Wine Country!