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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
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!
UNIQUE WATERFALLS IN OREGON
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!
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