If you’re chasing waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge, add Bridal Veil Falls to your list!
Not to be confused with other famous “Bridal Veil Falls” (like the one in Yosemite), this 118 foot waterfall in Oregon is a picturesque, two-tiered waterfall that tumbles down moss and fern-lined basalt rocks and is accessible by a ⅔ mile (round trip) trail.
Bridal Veil Falls almost ceased to exist: one of the state’s oldest lumber companies, Bridal Veil Falls Lumbering, had a mill downstream of the falls that began operations in the 1880’s. They diverted Bridal Veil Creek and the creek, along with the falls, mostly dried up.
However, when the mill permanently closed down in 1960, the diversion was removed and the waterfall came back. You can see remnants of the diversion pipes on the hike; rusted out corrugated pipes are still embedded in the ground near the trail.
Just 30 miles outside of Portland, a visit to Bridal Veil Falls makes for a nice stop while visiting some of the other Columbia River Gorge waterfalls. In the post below we share all the details you need in order to visit and hike to Bridal Veil Falls!
Bridal Veil Falls details
Distance: ⅔ mile round trip (out & back)
Dog friendly: Yes, must be on leash
Fees/Permits: The trail is open from 6am – 10am. No permit is required and there is no fee to park.
How to get there
Bridal Veil Falls is 30 miles from Portland, OR. There are two ways of getting there:
I-84: Head east out of Portland to I-84. Take exit 28 towards Bridal Veil, then turn right and head west on Old Columbia River Highway. In about ¾ miles, the parking area will be on your right.
Old Columbia River Highway: Head east out of Portland to I-84. Take exit 22 towards Corbett Hill Rd. At the fork, keep right to stay on the Old Columbia River Highway for 19 miles. There are a few other sights to see along the way including the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint, Vista House, Latourell Falls, and Shepherd’s Dell State Natural Area. The parking area for Bridal Veil Falls will be on your left.
To set your driving directions, search “Bridal Veil Falls State Scenic Viewpoint” on Google Maps.
Best time to visit
The Bridal Veil Falls hike is open year round, though the best time to visit is March-October when the trees still have all their leaves (in the winter the trail can become snowy and icy). While this waterfall doesn’t draw the same crowds as nearby Multnomah Falls, it’s popular enough and the small parking lot can fill up on weekends.
What to bring
Aside from the usual hiking essentials, we’d highly recommend wearing sturdy shoes for this hike. While the hike is relatively easy, there are some steep and gravely sections so flip flops or shoes without any traction can put you at risk of slipping.
Additionally, this area is known for its rain! Pack a rain jacket or windbreaker and dress in layers during the cooler months.
Bridal Veil Falls hike
There are two hiking trails that leave from the parking lot: The Bridal Veil Overlook loop, and the Bridal Veil Falls Trail.
The Bridal Veil Overlook is an easy, flat .4 mile nature trail that gives you a nice view of the Columbia River and the chance to see native wildflowers and plants, but you won’t be able to see the falls from this trail!
To find the waterfall trail, head passed the bathrooms on the east side of the parking area.
You’ll begin to descend along a wooded path and stairways toward Bridal Veil Creek. Once you reach the creek, cross the wooden bridge. After crossing the creek, stay to the right to get to the falls.
There are stairs that lead up to an observation platform that you can see the falls from, or you can take the small trail down to the water and enjoy the falls from below.
To return, trace your route back to the parking area.