While Oregon has many incredible waterfalls, my absolute favorite is Ramona Falls. It’s close to Portland, located near Rhododendron, Oregon. And, it’s usually not crowded, as it does require a bit of effort to hike to.
First of all, it’s a 7 mile hike. Also, the bridge at the Sandy River crossing was washed away, so you have to use your balancing skills to cross logs to get across the river. If the river is running fast, don’t try to cross. It is dangerous, so save the hike for when the river is more calm. You can always check with the Zigzag Ranger station before setting out to ask about the safety of the trail. There’s also an 1100 feet elevation gain, so this isn’t the easiest trail. Definitely wear good hiking boots!
Ramona Falls is at its best from April-October. I prefer doing this hike in October, as I’ve heard the trail gets more crowded in the summer. A Northwest Forest Pass or other valid parking pass is required to park at the Ramona Falls Trailhead.
Finally, make sure to take directions and a map for this hike, as there are no signs to guide the way, and it’s a trail that’s easy to get lost on.
In the end, it’s worth the trek. 120 foot Ramona Falls cascades over basalt rock, and if you get there during the right light, you will see so many rainbows reflected in the falls, which is my favorite part.
There’s also lots of space around the waterfall to sit and have a picnic or just hang out and stay awhile, enjoying the beauty of this special place.
I also really love the rest of the hike as you cross the bridge to the left after viewing the falls. It’s very peaceful, cooler, and follows the picturesque Ramona Creek for some beautiful views and soothing sounds.
And, of course, one of the other highlights of this hike are the beautiful views of Mt. Hood. The last time I did the hike, I got there at alpenglow time just as the moon had risen in the sky!
Directions: Follow US Highway 26 through Welches to Zig Zag. Turn left onto the Lolo Pass Road at Zig Zag. Follow the road for 4 miles. Turn east (right) onto Road 1825 and continue for .6 miles. Turn right across a bridge over the Sandy River and continue another 1.7 miles to the junction to Lost Creek Campground. Bear left, do not follow the road to the campground, but instead follow Road 100 approximately .3 miles to a large parking area. The trailhead is located on the east side of this parking area.