Willamette Falls, Oregon City

3.7
#1 of 6 in Parks in Oregon City
The Willamette Falls is a natural waterfall on the Willamette River between Oregon City and West Linn, Oregon, in the United States. It is the largest waterfall in the American Pacific Northwest by volume, and the seventeenth widest in the world. Horseshoe in shape, it is 1500ft wide and 40ft high with a flow of 30,849 cu ft/s (874 m³/s), located 26mi upriver from the Willamette's mouth.Until 2011 a canal and set of locks allowed vessels to pass into the main Willamette Valley. Those locks are now closed.Human historyNative American legends taught that the falls were placed there by a great god so that their people would have fish to eat all winter. Many local tribes built villages in the area because of the abundance of salmon that could only pass the falls at certain water levels. Native Americans still harvest Pacific Lamprey at the falls each year in the early summer. Willamette Falls is a traditional fishing site for the Warm Springs Indians as well as other tribes. It was first discovered by European fur traders in 1810. John McLoughlin established a land claim at the falls in the name of the Hudson's Bay Company in 1829. Oregon City was established in 1842 near the east end of the falls. The town of Linn City was founded on the western shore one year later in 1843. The two towns competed economically, vying for the lucrative steamboat traffic and the trade it generated. With the falls representing the end of the line for boat traffic, river boat captains were forced to choose a side of the river on which they would dock to unload their passengers and goods; some of which would continue their upriver journey on winding portage toll roads. Competition between the towns was fierce until the Great Flood of 1862. Oregon City was inundated and badly damaged, but the unluckier Linn City was obliterated.
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Willamette Falls Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
154 reviews
Google
4.1
TripAdvisor
  • Enjoy sights and sounds watching animals in their natural habitat; like maybe jumping fish and flying birds. Be sure to Bring binoculars for best view,  more »
  • It's hard not to stare at this place and be incredulous at what some will call "progress." The hulking masses of rusting steel industrial buildings completely dwarf the falls, which have been heavily ...  more »
  • Oregon City is a surprise. Beautiful downtown, murals and an odd elevator that takes you to the ridge overlooking the city and Willamette Falls. The Blue Heron Paper Co. is defunct and derelict; they ...  more »
Google
  • The viewpoint needs some help for viewing. But you get the idea. There are several large historical marker boards that give the visitor a quick primer on Oregon history and the significance of the shallow dam and locks.
  • Of course, beautiful. But access is completely closed, except to the visitors center, gift shop and restaurant because of forest fire of 2017.
  • Beautiful! A fun and nice hike you can take kids. Great day hike or there is camping also down the road about 10 minutes.
  • Excellent view and lots of historic buildings but I wish the city opened up some of the lowest walkways to photographers
  • a beautiful view... be sure to use the giant Oregon City Municipal Elevator...

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