This is My Backyard Part 2 – Oregon Waterfalls

Welcome to part 2 in my ‘This is My Backyard’ series. I know, I know, it’s been a while since I wrote part 1, but I’ve been busy out in the field this year! My goal for the series is to highlight some of the very best of the Pacific Northwest, which I’m blessed enough to call my home for the past 6 years.

Growing up I’d always dreamed of visiting and seeing the forces of nature that create waterfalls. I never imagined that I’d move away from the swaying wheat fields and summer thunderstorms of my childhood stomping grounds in Kansas, but as fate would have it I moved to a place filled with verdant green forests, water filled streams, and moss covered rocks. That place is now my home, my backyard. The sounds, smells, and feel of watching water rushing over a edge of a cliff is exhilarating. Today I’m sharing six of my favorite waterfall images from this year’s adventures.

My waterfall hunting season started early this year. A rare snow storm hit the Willamette Valley in early February and I decided to head out and explore nearby Silver Falls State Park covered in a white blanket. Typically seen with bright green colors of a northwest rain forest, a solid coat of snow was a unique treat.

 

Silver Falls

Silver Falls Winter Coat - A rare winter snow storm left Silver Falls State Park covered in white.

Silver Falls Winter Coat – A rare winter snow storm left Silver Falls State Park covered in white.

 

Mossy Grotto

I entered 2014 with a mission. That mission was to find a small waterfall tucked away off trail in a canyon lined with the most vibrant greens, moss covered rocks, and fern covered walls one could imagine. Part of that mission was fueled by an inability to find this hidden canyon the year before. This year: Mission accomplished.

Verdant Mossy Grotto - This off trail waterfall is one of the best hidden gems I've ever had the experience to photograph.

Verdant Mossy Grotto – This off trail waterfall is one of the best hidden gems I’ve ever had the experience to photograph.

 

Ponytail Falls

The Columbia River Gorge is famous for it’s waterfalls and although it’s a short hike to Ponytail Falls, it’s one of my favorite Gorge falls. The bright greens of the new spring foliage and mossy rocks frame the powerful creek spring flow. This trail is one of many that leads to a waterfall in the CRG, all begging to be explored.

Ponytail Falls - Every spring after the rains of winter warm temperatures return bringing the forest to life.

Ponytail Falls – Every spring after the rains of winter warm temperatures return bringing the forest to life.

 

Abiqua Falls

A short steep hike brings you to the end of this canyon of columnar basalt and puts you in the front row of a beautiful and powerful amphitheater. The star of the show is 92 foot Abiqua Falls. If you visit, please be respectful of the area as it lies on private property and those who own it were gracious enough to open it back up to access after several years of closure.

Abiqua Falls - Although the 'Trail of 10' is just a stones throw away, Abiqua Falls is the highlight of all the falls in Marion County.

Abiqua Falls – Although the ‘Trail of 10’ is just a stones throw away, Abiqua Falls is the highlight of all the falls in Marion County.

 

Proxy Falls

Every year I make at least one trip to Proxy Falls. It’s my hands down favorite water fall to photographically study. Up close, from a distance, from the side, different flow rate throughout the year; it doesn’t have a bad angle. Located in the Willamette National Forest it’s not a difficult hike at 1.5 miles, however requires a little bit of bushwhacking if you want the up close views of Lower Proxy Falls (pictured below) and yes, there’s an Upper Proxy Falls too (but Lower gets all attention).

Proxy Falls - My favorite study in photographing a waterfall.

Proxy Falls – My favorite study in photographing a waterfall.

 

Tumalo Falls

One of my Autumn goals was to make a visit to Central Oregon to see how the colors were shaping up around Tulamlo Falls. While the foliage around the canyon wasn’t quite what I expected, the unexpected surprise was the bright pink glow of the sunset that hung above the falls. I love the unexpected moments in photography like this, it’s what keeps me enthused and energetic.

Tumalo Falls Sunset - A vibrant sunset lights up the sky above Tumalo Falls.

Tumalo Falls Sunset – A vibrant sunset lights up the sky above Tumalo Falls.

 

If you’re in the Pacific Northwest a trip to some of Oregon’s waterfalls is a must. It doesn’t matter which route you take. Whether it’s the Gorge, the coast, the Cascades, or the high desert, you’re bound to stumble upon some beauty. I’m excited to explore more new locations this coming year.

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