While more famous waterfalls like Multnomah Falls and Bridal Veil Falls draw thousands of visitors to the Columbia River Gorge, but the entire area offers plenty of extraordinary sights for waterfall-watchers; in fact, the region is home to the largest concentration of waterfalls in the U.S. One waterfall worth visiting is Panther Creek Falls, accessible via a short, half-mile hike from National Forest Service Rd. 65 (Panther Creek Rd.) on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Olivia Rivera, a research assistant who works in the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Regional Office, recently visited Panther Creek Falls. She sent us these photos and a few words about one of her favorite places in Your Northwest Forests:
“Panther Creek is easily my favorite sight yet,” she writes. “It’s a photographer’s dream. Easily one of the most unique spots in the Gorge area, this place really is gorgeous (no pun intended).
“There are dozens of smaller waterfalls and streams flowing down in all sorts of arrangements, creating an array of colors. A short quarter-mile path leads to a viewpoint above the falls, providing a great top-down view. You can also get a good look at the creek flowing into the falls from there.
“It is not possible to get to the base of the falls directly from the viewpoint… That said, the view of the falls is stunning from the base, where you can feel the water spraying all around and moss at your feet.”
Rivera said the short trek to the viewing platform is suitable for hikers of almost any age or ability level, but warns visitors to to steer clear of the treacherously slick rocks and cliff faces leading to the base of the falls.
For more information:
Panther Creek Falls (USDA Forest Service official site)
Olivia Rivera is a USDA Forest Service resource assistant. She works with collaborative groups on the Mt. Hood National Forest from the Pacific Northwest regional office in Portland, Ore. Olivia is a biologist and environmental scientist by training, and a nature and wildlife photographer at heart. You can find more of her photography on Instagram at @_0liveee.