| January 10, 2022

Waterfall Wedding Venues in Oregon – 8 Unique Options + Tips

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There is something enchanting & untamed about waterfalls, and no matter how many visitors a waterfall gets a year, its magic never seems to fade—which is likely why they are so alluring to couples looking for a unique outdoor elopement location. It’s hard to beat a wedding venue as beautiful & often affordable as a waterfall (thank you, Mother Nature!). 

We’ve compiled the best free & no-permit-required Oregon waterfall locations worthy of your uniquely-you wedding day.

Listed below are some of the most iconic waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland, followed by some unique, lesser-known waterfalls near Bend. The Cascade mountain range is truly the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to epic waterfalls! 

Popular Oregon Waterfalls

Columbia River Gorge 

Only an hour away from the bustling city of Portland are some of the most jaw-dropping waterfalls in the state! The Oregon stretch of the Columbia River Gorge is home to 90 waterfalls, some of which are less than a half a miles’ walk from main roads and other trails that are wheelchair-accessible & dog friendly. Many of these waterfalls, including the ones listed below, are in such close proximity that you could visit more than one for your elopement, especially if you’re planning a full-day event!

Samantha & Matt experiened as much of the Columbia Gorge as possible

Ashley & Casey at the base of one of the Columbia River Gorge's biggest waterfalls
Devlin & Colton choose one of the 90 waterfalls near Multnomah Falls | Columbia River Basin

Multnomah Falls

With over 2 million people stopping to see the gorgeous Multnomah Falls every year, it’s no wonder couples are drawn to this location for their elopement. It is a free location & incredibly accessible with the hike to Benson Bridge, situated between the falls’ two cascades, being a short 0.2 mile paved walk. You can continue up the trail another mile to the upper falls view point, which is typically less busy, to get a better top-view of the 620ft falls.

Bridal Veil Falls

A quick 0.3 mile hike will bring you to the base of the delicate, two- tiered Bridal Veil Falls. This waterfall is nestled in dense greenery, giving it a different look than many of the other waterfalls in the area. The short hike is great if you have young kids or older family members joining you for your elopement! To get the most enchanting view of Bridal Veil Falls, however, you can climb atop some nearby boulders at the base of the falls to get a closer view—I promise the extra effort is well worth it!

Devlin & Colton elope at one of the many waterfalls near Bridal Veil Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.
Ashley & Casey say their vows in front of Latorell Falls in Oregon

Latourell Falls

If you’re looking to have a waterfall elopement with a unique look & a moody vibe, then look no further than the Latourell Falls. These narrow falls have a high drop point that cascades into an amphitheater of dark basalt rocks below. A quick 0.25 mile walk will bring you to the lower falls, but I suggest venturing the additional mile to the upper falls since most people stop at the first viewpoint. Enjoy the rest of your elopement away from the most dense crowds, still taking in another epic waterfall.

Here’s what Ashley & Casey did for their Latourell Falls elopement!

The Cheat Sheet

WaterfallsHike Distance*ElevationPermit?FeesDifficulty
Multnomah Falls2.4 mi810 ftNoNoneModerate
Bridal Veil Falls0.6 mi78 ftNoNoneEasy
Latourell Falls0.5 mi120 ftNoNoneEasy
Tumalo Falls2.0 mi321 ftNo$5/DayEasy
Sahalie Falls1.2 mi203 ftNoNoneEasy
Proxy Falls1.6 mi147 ftNoNoneEasy
Kentucky Falls3.7 mi987 ftNoNoneModerate
* Measured in Round Trip


Tumalo Falls

The Tumalo Falls is a powerful, gushing waterfall in the Deschutes National Forest, just 25 minutes outside of Bend. The tremendous white waters of these falls seemingly come out of nowhere & dwarfs the surrounding old growth forest. The scenic drive to the trailhead will require a vehicle that is prepared to withstand heavily wash-boarded roads. The 2-mile round trip trail is well-groomed so you’ll have no issues navigating it in your wedding attire once you’ve reached the trailhead.

Kim & Owen’s Tumalo Falls Elopement may give you some ideas

Kim and Owen elope in Tumalo falls during their winter in Oregon
Amber & David Elope at Sahalie Falls in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge

Sahalie Falls

Nestled in the forest you’ll find the cascading waters of the Sahalie Falls plunging into a crystal-clear, blue pool below. Located in the Willamette National Forest only an hour outside of Bend, this waterfall location is perfect for any couple looking for a misty forest waterfall. This is another easy hike with a well-maintained trail through towering moss-covered trees that the Pacific Northwest is known for. This 1.2 mile roundtrip trail offers some privacy if you would rather change once you get to the falls instead of hiking in your wedding attire.

View Lindsey & David’s breathtaking Sahalie Falls Elopement!

Proxy Falls

Here, a shimmering veil of water streams down vibrant moss amongst an amphitheatre of tiered volcanic rock. The Proxy Falls in Willamette National Forest is a unique waterfall that gives dreamy fairytale vibes! Getting to this intimate location is a little more challenging than some of the other falls with it being 1.5 hours from Bend & a moderate 1.6 mile hike with 147 ft. elevation gain—but it’s entirely worth it. If you choose Proxy Falls, though, you’ll want to make sure to wear shoes with some decent traction because the fallen rocks & tree below can be slippery!

Brandy & Zach chose Proxy Falls. Here’s how they made it a reality!

Brandy And Zach's vows are said in front of Proxy Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Rebecca and Micah Elope near Kentucky Falls, in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

Kentucky Falls

If you’re wanting an intimate adventure that ends with 3 gorgeous waterfalls & a swimming hole at the end, plan a trip to the Kentucky Falls in the Siuslaw National Forest. These falls are 1.5 hours outside of Eugene, Oregon. Getting to the trailhead requires a vehicle with 4WD & navigating the rocky 3.7 mile roundtrip trail (the longest one on this list!) requires some boots with good traction—especially since you’ll be treading past some slippery areas near waterfalls! The lush green forest opens up to one shimmering waterfall after another, each one more photogenic than the next. 

View Lindsey & David’s breathtaking Sahalie Falls Elopement!

Our Top secret Waterfall Locations

We pride ourselves in being location matchmakers for our couples! Having spent a tremendous amount of time exploring to scout out the most intimate & breathtaking locations for our couples, we’re confident we know the perfect spot for your elopement, no matter what kind of scenery or activities you are dreaming of. 

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of ALL the waterfalls in Oregon, check out this list!

If you would like to learn more about other waterfall locations, then reach out to us using our contact form—we’re more than happy to help you with planning your dream elopement!

If you’re looking for a comprehensive list of even more waterfalls in Oregon, check out this list from Travel Oregon’s site!

Walk-Behind Waterfall Locations

This region’s ever-changing landscape means walking behind the waterfalls we’ve talked about today & the majority of the other falls throughout Oregon are out of the question for a myriad of reasons from safety, frequent trail closures, & environmental rehabilitation. Luckily there are still countless waterfalls where you can get up close to the flow & stand amongst the mist to create an illusion of being one with the falls! Trust us—we’ll make your waterfall vision come true while making your safety top priority in our adventure together. 

Waterfall Wedding & Elopement Tips

Waterfalls can serve as an epic backdrop for your intimate wedding or elopement—but just like they are unique features of the Pacific Northwest, you have to be uniquely prepared to get married there!

Fortunately, we have some advice on how to best prepare for the potential crowds drawn to them, for how to handle the slippery rocks, and more:

  • Prepare to get wet! Even if you aren’t right underneath the falls, you’re likely going to feel the spray. If that means bundling up, then don’t forget to bring extra, water-resistant or waterproof layers
  • Elope during a weekday during the morning when trail traffic is at its lowest—especially if you’re interested in one of the more popular falls
  • Plan your trip outside of the peak summer months to avoid crowds
  • Be cautious of where you are stepping (as the water can make your surroundings slippery) & always adhere to posted signage
  • Wear hiking boots with good traction
  • Be prepared to Leave No Trace so we can make sure to minimize the impacts we are leaving behind on these beautiful places!

The Best Time of Year to See Oregon Waterfalls

Surely if you want to have a small wedding in front of a waterfall you want all the fixings—especially cascading waters & misty veils! Typically during the summer, the volume of water passing through falls is at its lowest—so if you’re planning on visiting a smaller waterfall, you may run the risk of it being more of a trickle instead of full-blown falls. The two best times to see waterfalls in Oregon are during fall (October-November) when it is consistently rainy, or during the Spring (March-May) when everything is thawing out. There are some larger waterfalls that boast rumbling waters year round as well. Of course, we are here to help—we want to make sure that you can capture the most dramatic falls for your outdoor elopement!

Finding The Perfect Waterfall Elopement Location

Whether water plays some significance in your relationship or you both have an affinity for this wonder of nature, you really can’t go wrong with a waterfall elopement. We always encourage couples to look at their elopement as an entire experience, so here are a few questions to ask yourself when planning your Oregon waterfall elopement:

  • What other activities do you want to do? Do you want to kayak, visit a National Park, explore little towns, or soak in some hot springs?
  • Where do you want to stay in Oregon? While some people want to stay in a secluded treehouse, others want their home base in a cute airbnb near the city for a wider range of amenities & options.
  • How much physical activity do you want to do on your wedding day? Luckily locations vary from main road pull-offs to muddy hikes into the wilderness—there are equally beautiful places across the spectrum!
  • Who do you want to invite? If you’re looking for more than a ‘just us’ elopement with inexperienced hikers, consider locations that are paved, have less incline, and have space to accommodate you all during the ceremony. Some waterfall locations might also not permit full ceremony set-ups, but we can help you figure all of that out.
  • What time of year do you want to elope? Keep in mind some trails are closed during the winter and remember that summer is peak tourist season. It is Oregon after all so be prepared for the possibility of rain on your wedding day!

Let’s Start Planning Your Oregon Waterfall Elopement!

There’s nothing like dancing on the misty banks of a rumbling waterfall with the love of your life—to be that wild, free, & in love. Is that how you imagine your wedding day? This is such an unique & often affordable option for couples—and it’s also super fun for us as your photographer. This kind of elopement just exudes romance & adventure unlike any other wedding day!! We want you to feel prepared, comfortable, & carefree during your day—so we’re here to help you start planning whenever you are!

Scroll down & fill out the form to get started!

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Maddie Mae

Elopement Photographer

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Your Elopement Photographers & Planning Consultants. We are Maddie Mae, Amber, and Tori. We're your photographers, your elopement consultants, your cheerleaders, and your go-to adventure buddy on the day you say your vows.

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