The author of "Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon" and "Hiking Waterfalls in Washington" talked with Tra'Renee about Frozen Waterfall Hikes.
Author of “Hiking Waterfalls in Oregon” and the co-author of “Hiking Waterfalls in Washington,” Adam Sawyer. Visit AdamSawyer.com for more about Adam, his writing, and photography.
Waterfalls can be absolutely stunning in winter. Some transform into remarkably photogenic, icy winter wonderlands. Some others are a little less prone to freezing over but are far less visited than during warmer weather, and make for wonderful off-season hikes.
However, it is critical that you are prepared for road and trail conditions. Always consult TripCheck before taking to the roads. Tire chains or high clearance, all-wheel drive vehicles might be recommended or required in some cases. Also, ensure that you have the proper layers/clothing required for the elements (having the 10 Essentials is always a good idea) and traction devices, such as microspikes when hiking potentially icy trails.
Accessible in Winter
- Tumwater Falls: Three waterfalls, easily accessible just off of I-5 near Olympia. A beautiful park with a half-mile loop visits all three cascades. Also the site of the now defunct Olympia Brewing Company. Lower Tumwater Falls was immortalized on the label of Olympia beer.
- Hug Point Falls: The Hug Point State Recreation Site is an easy to miss gem roughly 7 miles south of Cannon Beach. If you time the tides properly, you can walk around Hug Point to its namesake falls.
- Best for Exploring in Snowy or Frozen Conditions
- Latourell Falls: The 2.4-mile loop hike that visits two waterfalls has reopened since the Eagle Creek Fire. A stunning cascade when icy, Latourell Falls can be seen from the parking area. Traction devices are recommended to hike the loop.
- Silver Falls State Park: Even though certain sections of trail are subject to closure in icy conditions, a handful of the headlining waterfalls will be accessible/visible if the park is open. Can call the park ahead of time to ask about trail and road conditions.
- Abiqua Falls: A remote cascade that requires a high-clearance vehicle and detailed directions. A steep bootpath through property owned by the Mt. Angel Abbey leads to the near perfect basalt amphitheater that is home to Abiqua Falls. It has become very popular among photographers, for obvious reasons. Be very prepared for this outing and very respectful of the private property.