Wahkeena Falls, Columbia River Gorge
Wahkeena is the Yakama Indian word for “Most Beautiful,” a word that Wahkeena Falls certainly lives up too. While not as spectacular as Multnomah Falls a mere half mile away, it is somewhat more beautiful in my opinion. The popular falls tumble down the hillside for 242 feet, through, over and around a multitude of rocks, making for an immense number of picture opportunities. The upper end of the falls is only really visible from a vintage bridge about 0.4 miles up the trail, but there are plenty of other parts of the falls that are just as, if not more so, beautiful.
The falls were originally named Gordon Falls after local pioneer, F.E. Gordon. But this caused some confusion with Gorton Creek near Cascade Locks, and Gordon Creek on the Sandy River. To clear up confusion, the Mazamas renamed it to Wahkeena Falls in 1915.
One of the best parts of the falls though, is that it’s the head of an awesome five mile hike that includes Fairy Falls, several smaller falls, and eventually Multnomah Falls itself.
Even on a dry day, the falls are so rough that water spray gets everywhere. This does of course help with the sheer amount of greenery nearby.