We’ve stood at the top, at the bottom, on the bridge and everywhere between, getting that perfect shot of Multnomah Falls. We’ve brought our kids, our dogs, our extended family and our school groups to see the spectacular 620-foot falls in the Columbia Gorge, making it Oregon’s most-visited attraction.
But what if there were a waterfall nearby that was just as impressive — only drew a fraction of the crowds? After you’ve checked Oregon’s iconic shots off your list, here’s where to head with your camera next:
Instead of Multnomah Falls (currently the lodge is open but the trail isn’t), head out to the charming town of Mosier to a lesser-known waterfall. The easy half-mile hike to Mosier Creek Falls features historic landmarks, like a 1920 bridge and a pioneer cemetery, before reaching the stunning two-tiered falls. Get creative with your photos here — the reflection of shadows and sunlight on the water as its filters through the narrow gorge adds drama to the shot — and no one to get in the way. For extra adventure, continue on the Mosier Plateau trail along grassy slopes to outstanding views of the Columbia River.
Everyone wants to climb the giant sand dune at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City for that crazy Instagram shot from the top. For your safety, make sure you heed posted signage and stay within the fencing. But for a different kind of epic perspective of the Coast Range, discover Secret Beach on the South Coast in Brookings. With no official parking lot or designation, you can find it through a short trail that starts between Spruce Island and Thunder Cove. Snap that stunning shot of your personal beach with a breathtaking view of the rock formations and rocky coastline. Just don’t tell anyone about it.
Smith Rock is more than a world-renowned climbing spot — it’s pretty darn picturesque too. But next time you’re in the area, get your workout on two wheels while cruising the Sisters to Smith Rock Scenic Bikeway. At 36 miles, the single-day ride is an exhilarating way to experience the region’s landscape — from the curves of the Deschutes River to the peaks of the Cascade Mountains and dramatic faces of Smith Rock. About halfway through, stop for a well-deserved rest and money shot at Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards, where you can see the shining red beacon of Smith Rock and the Three Sisters from the tasting room.
Crater Lake is iconic Oregon, there’s no doubt about it. But once you’ve thoroughly enjoyed the park, it’d be a shame to overlook all of Oregon’s dozens of other pristine lakes, with plenty of opportunity for fishing and other fun on the water. Applegate Lake, south of Medford at the southern border of the state, provides a blissful retreat, with hike-in campgrounds and unmatched picnic, boat and swim spots along the shore.