Winner: Multnomah Falls
Photo by Andrea Johnson
There must be literally millions of photos of friends, lovers and tour groups taken in front of the magnificent Multnomah Falls. The two-tiered, 611-foot waterfall never fails to impress. Certainly Oregon’s highest and one of the country’s tallest year-round waterfalls, the spray and roar of this watery wonder can be experienced by a five-minute walk from the parking lot off Interstate 84. A short distance to Benson Footbridge, and you’re between the two cascades—a perfect view of the 542-foot upper tier and 69 feet of plunging water below. Climb another mile to the top for a bird’s-eye view of the Columbia Gorge or spend a few minutes at historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, built in 1925. Trivia point: A 400-ton boulder fell 225 feet from the waterfall’s face in 1995, crashing into the upper pool and generating a splash large enough to ruin the photos of a wedding party standing on the footbridge far above.
Runner-Up: Southern Oregon
The southwest corner of Oregon (from Roseburg to Klamath Falls on the east and Reedsport to Brookings on the west) is sometimes overlooked by tourists. Big mistake. The region is burgeoning with wild and scenic rivers, wineries, artisan food producers, music festivals, theater, arts and much more. The southern portion of Highway 101 is arguably the most scenic of the entire Oregon coastline. Other highlights: Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Oregon Caves National Monument, historic Jacksonville, the waterfalls of the North Umpqua River and the Applegate Wine Trail.