Columbia Gorge Elopement Locations

A breakdown of the best Columbia Gorge elopement Locations from my Oregon Elopement Location Guide.


Waterfalls

Columbia Gorge Elopement Locations wouldn’t be complete without talking about the main reason people come here, waterfalls.

The Columbia River Gorge which starts only a few minutes drive east of Portland is a world class spot for taking in the sights. But mainly people come here to see the many waterfalls that dot the scenic corridor. There’s plenty of variety to choose from but I’m only going to list the ones that are the most popular. If you’re interested in hearing about other less known waterfalls just get in touch through my contact page.

 

  1. Latourell Falls
    – Latourell Fall is probably the most accessible of them all after Multnomah Falls. Located about 8 miles east into the gorge it’s one of the first you drive by going west. It’s a short walk from the parking area to the falls which givesĀ  a spectacular view of the water dropping straight down over a basalt cliff to the rocky ground below. I’ve shot many small weddings and elopements here. It’s a fantastic spot if you want a waterfall but don’t want to hike or you are including family since it’s so easy. There are also bathrooms and a picnic area here.
  2. Wahclella Falls
    -Wahclella Falls is my favorite hands down. Located on Tanner Creek near the Bonneville dam, It’s a little over a mile hike from the parking lot with a huge payoff. It has a two falls section that drops into a gorgeous pool below. This is the perfect spot if you’re wanting to spend the night in Portland but want a little more adventure in the mix.
  3. Multnomah Falls
    – Multnomah is by far the most well known and visible. You can’t miss it driving east through the gorge. You also can’t miss the hundreds of cars and tourists either. As beautiful as it is, this is not one I recommend. It doesn’t photograph as well as the other’s on the list and it’s always insanely crowded. But they do have a lodge you can rent if you’re wanting a small wedding.
  4. Horsetail Falls
    – This one is a blast because you can literally walk behind it. Located near the Oneonta Gorge(currently closed) it’s a quick 15 minute hike up to the upper falls where you can take the trail under the falls and around. Horsetail isn’t as photogenic as the others on the list but it is unique and if you’re wanting something different this might be a great option for you.

Accommodations Advice:

If you’re eloping at any of the waterfalls on the list, I’d recommend just staying in Portland or get a nice airbnb in the gorge.

Airbnb Listings

Wahclella Falls Portland Oregon Engagement Session

Government Cove

The Gorge has multiple locations you could elope to. There’s plenty of state parks both on the Oregon and Washington sides as well as many natural areas you can literally just pull off into. Below is a short list of places in Oregon as well as Washington that are easy to access and beautiful options for you elopement location.

  1. Government Cove
    About 45 minutes east of Portland lies Government Gove. Weird name but great spot for a sunset elopement. It’s an island that juts out into the Columbia River give you 360 views of the river, mountains and beautiful sunrises/sunsets. It’s native owned land but they do no enforce any permits or restrictions. Just treat it like it was your own backyard and pack out any trash you might find to be nice.The cove has multiple locations you can have a ceremony, from on top of the ridge overlooking everything to right down at the waters edge. It’s a very versatile and easy location to have an elopement.
  2. Cape Horn Trail
    -Hugging the cliffs of the Washington side of the gorge this was the first hike I ever did in the PNW. It’s a fantastic local option if you’re wanting to strap on the hiking boots and have something a little more rugged than your typical location. The trails here do get steep though so I don’t recommend this for anyone with pets or a fear of heights. The payoff is worth it though imo.
  3. Beacon Rock State Park
    – Another Washington State side option: Beacon Rock towers over the Columbia River and is visible from quite a distance. The park itself is really nice and located right on the river. People come here to hike to the top of the rock and see the vista from the top. It’s a great option if you’re wanting big views and something a little different than a waterfall or long hike.
  4. Hamilton Mountain
    – Similar to Cape Horn this hike has huge views. You’ve got to be willing to put in the hiking but it’s worth it if you ask me. Hamilton has some of the most epic views of the gorge on the Washington side. And a pro tip: Oregon has better waterfalls, Washington has better vistas. So keep that in mind when you’re planning where to elope in the gorge.
  5. Viento State Park
    – Last but certainly not least is Viento State Park. Tucked away off the highway along the river this is the perfect easy access river ceremony site. If you’re wanting big mountains and riverside views this is your spot.
  6. Other Locations:
    Dog Mountain, Coyote Wall, Thunder Island

Accommodations Advice:

If you’re eloping in the central gorge I’d look at both Portland and Hood River for accommodations.

Columbia Gorge Hotel
Skamania Lodge

Columbia River Gorge Engagement at Sunset at Government Cove

Locations Near The Gorge

There are a TON of locations that aren’t directly in the gorge itself but are near enough and you have to pass through the gorge to get to them that I wanted to include them here. Most of these will be on the Washington side in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

  1. Panther Creek Falls
    – This place is gorgeous. Like falling lace over green mossy rocks. It’s stunning but also dangerous. There have been deaths here in the past from folks not following the signs and taking shortcuts down to the falls. So if you decide to go with this location please use caution. With that said I highly recommend it.
  2. Falls Creek Falls
    – Probably my favorite waterfall of them all out here. It’s a 4 mile out and back hike that ends at a 3 tiered waterfall in the middle of the national forest. I’ve never encountered crowds here but the road in can be a bit bumpy so bring something with high clearance.
  3. Gifford Pinchot National Forest(in General)
    – There are SO many amazing forest locations in the Gifford Pinchot. There’s not point to try to name any of them but most of these are a quick drive from the gorge and will put you in some seriously mossy old growth forests.
  4. Larch Mountain
    -This is a beautiful spot and a short drive from Portland. Just south of the gorge it has everything from high mountain peaks to lush moss filled undergrowth. A great place to explore and set up a intimate ceremony close to town that feels like you’re a 100 miles away.

Accommodations Advice:

If you’re eloping in the central gorge I’d look at both Portland and Hood River for accommodations.

Columbia Gorge Hotel
Skamania Lodge


The Eastern Gorge

Finally on the list of the top 4 best Columbia Gorge elopement locations we have the Eastern section of the gorge.

There’s not much to say location wise here. There are a ton of places like Coyote Ridge, Rowena Crest, the mouth of the Deschutes River, Goldendale and the mountains out past The Dalles. The Stonehenge at Maryville is really neat too! The landscape here is dry, grassy/sagebrush and absolutely stunning if you want a high desert vibe. I honestly wish more people would choose this area but when there’s a million waterfalls to choose from that are closer I understand. I wanted to put this on the list because it is a very great option if you’re wanting to break the mold.

Accommodations Advice:

If you’re eloping in the eastern Gorge I’d look at hotels in Hood River, The Dalles or camping under the stars. It’s beautiful out there at night!

Holiday Inn
Fairfield By Marriot
Camping/Glamping