If you’ve spent any time on Pinterest or Instagram lately, you’ve probably seen a photo of Multnomah Falls. A towering 611 feet tall, it’s one of the most popular waterfalls in the country and just a short 30-minute drive from Portland.
While the size and easy access make Multnomah Falls a super popular day trip in Oregon, we urge you to venture a bit farther out to Estacada, about an hour southeast of Portland. Once there, get ready for an all day hiking adventure filled with dozens of waterfalls and our favorite, the most underrated waterfall on the West Coast, Pup Creek Falls.
But don’t just take our word for it: Pup Creek was named by Backpacker Magazine as a waterfall that rivals any in Maui. Why you ask? Well, the spray from the falls is a perfect home to ferns, moss and clovers that create a beautiful deep green forest cover year-around. The 100 feet falls are just a short quarter mile hike at the beginning of Clackamas River Trail, which can be easily reached with any level of outdoor prowess.
Clackamas River Trail doesn’t end there though - it continues for 7.8 miles along the riverbank. The green mossy setting is persistent throughout the hike, covering rocks, trees the riverbed, and anything else in its path. With dozens of smaller waterfalls, cascades, caves, and cliffside river views, this is one walk in the woods where you don’t want to forget your camera.
Here are a Few Tips to Make the Most of a Trip to Pup Falls:
- Wear hiking shoes, ideally waterproof boots as there are areas where you’ll be climbing over down trees and through water. We also suggest a hiking stick to help with any areas of the trail that may be flushed out.
- The best time to see Pup Creek Falls is April through November when the snowmelt is highest.
- Start in the morning if you want to make it back before sunset.
- The hike can get snowy (read: sloppy), but is it is open year-around.
- The trail is pet friendly; so bring your favorite furry friend with you.
- If you are going to explore the whole trail, we suggest bringing a picnic lunch for when you need a break.