The Columbia River Gorge might be my favorite place in the country. There is just so much to discover. There's an incredible feeling of peace and vitality that comes over me as I head east of Portland. The drive along the majestic Columbia River always sets the mood for what's to come. I'm always promised a day of self-reflection and deep gratitude when I explore the gorge, whether alone, with Chuck, or with one of my eloping couples.
Little known fact about me.. every time I cross the river, or take a drive alongside it, I play and sing along to Woody Guthrie's "Roll on, Columbia". It's something my mom passed on to me. She and my aunt started the tradition decades ago. Now even my youngest son, Asa, knows that we always listen to Woody Guthrie when we gaze on the Columbia River.
Best Waterfalls for a Columbia River Gorge Elopement
Considered an ideal location for elopements and portrait sessions, Latourell Falls provides easy accessibility, situated just a short walk from the Latourell Falls Trailhead with ample parking. Soaring at an impressive 250 feet, this waterfall offers a stunning backdrop. Explore the 2-mile loop to access the upper falls for a more private experience. During winter, witness the forceful flow of water, while in summer, it transforms into an elegantly subdued cascade. Latourell Falls stands out as a top choice for a magical waterfall elopement in any season.
Undoubtedly the most iconic waterfall in the Gorge, Multnomah Falls impresses with its double-drop cascade, towering at 620 feet—the tallest waterfall in Oregon. While it attracts many visitors as the most visited national recreation site in the state, it is more suitable for wedding portraits than ceremonies. Consider making a reservation at the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant for a post-elopement celebration.
Bridal Veil Falls
Another personal favorite. Bridal Veil Falls just has this perfect ceremony spot, as if nature created it just for a couple in love. The only down side of Bridal Veil Falls is that it's one of the louder ones. If you have guests with you and want them to hear your vows, this is probably not the waterfall for you. However, it IS perfect for guests in regards to the easy access. With a half-mile walk, dedicated parking, and restrooms, Bridal Veil Falls is an excellent choice for a family-friendly elopement or one involving small children.
Wahclella is one of my absolute favorites. Although a bit farther in distance with a 2.4-mile round trip, Wahclella Falls offers a relatively short hike with some ups and downs along the trail. With an overall height of 350 feet, this waterfall boasts two drops, making it a captivating setting for an elopement surrounded by nature's beauty. Wahclella is one of my absolute favorites. Although a bit farther in distance with a 2.4-mile round trip, Wahclella Falls offers a relatively short hike with some ups and downs along the trail. With an overall height of 350 feet, this waterfall boasts two drops, making it a captivating setting for an elopement surrounded by nature's beauty.
For breathtaking 360-degree views of the Gorge, Rowena Crest is unparalleled, especially during sunrise and sunset, when the wildflowers bloom in spring. While windy during the day, the location calms down for intimate elopements or small weddings with guests during sunset and sunrise.
Please note that a new permitted entry system, introduced in Spring 2022, aims to reduce congestion and protect natural resources. Permits for the area east of Bridal Veil Falls to Ainsworth State Park are available for purchase online.