Why Bridal Veil Falls is one of Oregon’s best Gorge waterfalls
With scenic surroundings that look like something straight out of the movie Fern Gully, Bridal Veil Falls is one of the most impressive Columbia Gorge waterfalls. Its easy access makes this a family favorite, and the falls are conveniently located along the historic highway close to other attractions like Multnomah Falls, Latourell Falls and Wahkeena Falls.
The Bridal Veil Falls hike
The Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint is located at the site of an old lumber mill, and has two easy walking paths; an interpretive trail overlooking the river, and the Bridal Veil Falls Trail.
The lower trail to the waterfall is a 0.3 mile, half-paved pathway that heads through the forest and crosses a wooden bridge over Bridal Veil Creek which streams down from Larch Mountain.
The falls quickly come into view, you can see them from the base of the trail or head up the dirt pathway and set of stairs that leads up to a viewing platform overlooking the falls.
Two-tiered Bridal Veil Falls plummets over a cliffside covered in mossy basalt, cascades into a tranquil pool, then continues to pour over the edge before streaming out toward the Columbia River. They actually pop out under the Old Columbia River Gorge Highway bridge that dates back to 1914, and the total height of the falls is an impressive 120 feet.
The Bridal Veil Falls Interpretive Trail
Once you’ve finished up at the waterfall, head back up to the Bridal Veil Falls trailhead which branches off toward the river where there’s another half-mile hiking loop. The Overlook Trail starts at a sunny picnic area with water views, and leads to a number of lookout points as it hugs the ridge line.
Signage details the history of the area and the native wild plants, you can look across the river to Hamilton Mountain, Beacon Rock and Archer Mountain, and look down at the highway and train tracks.
Tips for visiting Bridal Veil Falls
- There are washroom facilities on site
- Dogs are allowed, provided they’re on a leash
- This day use area is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.
- There are places to stay in Cascade Locks which is 30 minutes away, and the charming Bridal Veil Lodge is right across the street from the falls.
Directions to the Bridal Veil Falls trail
The Bridal Veil waterfall is in Oregon’s Shepperd’s Dell State Natural Area, just off the Historic Columbia River Highway. To get there from Portland, head down I-84 east and take Exit 28 to Bridal Veil Road. The paved parking lot is about two minutes further down the road, past the popular Angel’s Rest trailhead.
The drive only takes about 30 minutes, making this one of the closest waterfall hikes near Portland.
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Tamara Elliott is the travel editor and founder of The Gorge Guide, which highlights the best experiences in the Columbia River Gorge. She’s an award-winning writer based in Hood River, Oregon, who particularly loves the area wineries and waterfall hikes. Tamara is also the founder of Globe Guide, which offers savvy tips for exploring destinations around the world.