The gorgeous Gorton Creek Falls is a less-commonly visited waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge. It is a two-tiered waterfall that plummets an impressive 115 feet before pooling.
The Columbia River Gorge is well-known for being one of the best places in Oregon to see waterfalls. There are dozens along a small stretch of road, including Tamanawas Falls and Multnomah Falls.
Gorton Creek Falls is a smaller waterfall but is still well worth the visit, especially if you want to avoid the crowds at the more popular waterfall hiking trails in this area.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about hiking to Gorton Creek Falls!
What You Need to Know
Parking Pass: a Northwest Forest Pass or America the Beautiful pass is required at the trailhead.
Family-Friendly? Up till Emerald Falls, where the hike goes off-trail.
Hike Type: Easy-Moderate
Best Time of Year to Visit Gorton Creek Falls
The best time of year to visit the falls is in the summer! The fall can also be quite beautiful. But, you'll want to avoid the winter and spring if you can. This is the dark and rainy season in this area of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, and all waterfall hikes are more enjoyable when it's a little sunny!
Hiking to Gorton Creek Falls
Don't worry; the hike to Gorton Creek Falls is very manageable! Plus, along the way, you'll get to see the beautiful but small Emerald Falls.
In total, the hike is only 1.75 miles long with around 500 feet of elevation gain, making it easy to do in only an hour or two.
Your hike begins at the Wyeth Trailhead in Wyeth State Park, at the far end of the loop that hooks through their campground. It'll take you to Emerald Falls first along a very well-established trail.
For the first 100 or so feet, follow the trail to the Gorge-Wyeth Trail Junction. You want to take the sharp right turn towards the falls on Gorge Trail #400. If you continue straight on the Wyeth Trail #411, you could hike forever, all the way to Rainy Lake Campground and even to the south trailhead for Mt. Defiance (a very different day out!).
Follow Gorge Trail #400 for another few minutes before it crosses the creek to the right. The wide path ends at Emerald Falls, as does the "family-friendly" portion of the hike. Emerald Falls is small but is worth admiring from several angles!
From here, you'll want to follow a moderate route along the left side of the creek. The next 100 yards is the hardest part of the trail. It includes scrambling on boulders and around roots beside the creek. This part of the trail is much easier in the summer when the creek is very low or non-existent, allowing you to walk in it and avoid the moss-covered boulders.
The off-trail trail ends at the Gorton Creek Falls, which you can admire from several spectacular angles.
The waterfall is two-tiered, with the upper portion falling around 30 feet and the lower around 80.
Waterfall Hikes Near Portland
Gorton Creek Falls is only one of several gorgeous waterfall hikes within an hour of Portland.
If you haven't stopped to visit Multnomah Falls just off Highway 84, it's worth it to plow through the crowds and enjoy the falls from below and above.
You'll also want to take the time to visit the stunning Tamanawas Falls, which requires more hiking but is worth the effort. Another popular waterfall in the area is Latourell Falls. It's also the second-tallest waterfall in the area after Multnomah Falls.
No matter which waterfall you hike to, we highly recommend going on a weekday. Portlanders love their waterfalls, and there will be no shortage of picture-takers and tourists to hang out with!