This Waterfall Has a Spooky Name But Its Beauty Will Give You the Chills

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Two hikers standing on a rock in a creek pointing to a natural beauty.

The Pacific Northwest is a region full of beauty and adventure. A journey to this portion of the country will leave you with lasting memories.

The state of Washington offers incredible landscapes, especially if you like waterfalls. One waterfall, Spirit Falls, may have a spooky name, but its beauty will give you chills as you take in its elegance. If you’re visiting Washington and want to see an impressive waterfall, we think this is a must-see.

About Spirit Falls

You can see Spirit Falls without a lengthy hike. The falls are near the Columbia River Gorge and only require a short 1-mile hike. Getting to the falls does require conquering a few steep sections of trail, but it’s well worth it.

Spirit Falls is tucked away in dense, green forest in Washingtone.

These falls aren’t nearly as famous amongst the hiking community as among kayakers. The color of Spirit Falls is turquoise, contrasting against the green shades of mossy vegetation surrounding the falls.

You’ll be mesmerized by the water as it drops 33 feet. The best time to visit the falls is during the summer months to see them at peak flow.

Traveler’s Tip: While in Washington, check out glacier-fed Lake Diablo and its spectacular hue.

Location

Spirit Falls is in Washington State, just across the Columbia River from Oregon. Spirit Falls is reachable in just an hour from Portland, Oregon, the closest large city.

Those coming from the Portland area will take I-84 before crossing over the river via the Bridge of the Gods to WA-14E before splitting off to the left on the Cook-Underwood Rd. You will soon reach a tiny parking area on the right side of Cook-Underwood Rd.

Water crashes over a lush ledge deep in the woods at Spirit Falls.

Geography

The area where Spirit Falls sits is rocky and forested. It would be easy to live in this area your whole life without knowing this waterfall exists. The relatively hidden waterfall is along the Columbia River Gorge, close to the town of White Salmon. 

How Do You Access Spirit Falls?

Those wanting to experience Spirit Falls will need to be up for an adventure. The hike to Spirit Falls is short at just under a mile round trip, but it can be strenuous.

Throughout the short trail, there is a 505-foot elevation gain with rocky terrain, sometimes requiring the hiker to scramble over large rocks. While the course is challenging to traverse, it is worth the effort. 

Hikers report that the trail is not well marked, so it is essential to follow a trail map. Using the AllTrails app can help keep you on the trail. Once close to the falls, let your ears guide you toward rushing water.

Close up of a woman's hiking boots as she hikes over mossy rocks in the woods.

How Tall Is Spirit Falls Washington? 

Spirit Falls in Washington is around 33 feet tall. The waterfall spills down the Columbia River Gorge, cascading into a beautiful blue pool of water in front of a cavern.

It may not be the tallest in Washington, but it’s still impressive. What it lacks in height, it makes up for in beauty and tranquility.

Are There Things to Do Near Spirit Falls?

With Spirit Falls being over an hour away from Portland, there is plenty to do within driving distance of the falls. If you’d prefer to participate in urban activities, Portland has plenty of shopping and city recreation to enjoy. 

Those who want adventure will enjoy the opportunities around the falls. The waterfall is close to the Columbia River Gorge, creating the border between Washington and Oregon. 

A path through the dense forest in the Pacific North West.

How Many Waterfalls Are in Washington?

Washington has the most waterfalls of any state. There are so many waterfalls that call the state home that it’s hard to keep track of them.

At last count, there are over 400+ known waterfalls in Washington. However, some estimates indicate there are more than 1,200.

You can even find the tallest waterfall in the continental United States (Colonial Creek Falls at 2,584’). Some are easier to enjoy than others, but they’re all impressive in their unique way.

Is It Worth Visiting Spirit Falls?

Washington State is full of impressive waterfalls, and Spirit Falls certainly fits that description. While this waterfall requires a little more effort to get to, if you can make the journey it is well worth it to be one of the few who lay eyes on it.

There is something special about making your way to a place that few others want to put in the effort to do. Checking off as many of the Pacific Northwest waterfalls as possible might be an exciting way to spend your time adventuring.

What’s your favorite Pacific Northwest waterfall?

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