A long drive from Portland, down an obscure road, Panther Creek Falls is a hidden gem worth an afternoon away. From the parking lot, it is just a short hike (like really short) to a viewing platform. But if you are up for an adventure, take the scramble trail off to the left to see the waterfall up close and personal. Feel the spray, stick your toes in the cool water, and feel the slippery moss on the logs. I can’t wait to visit this waterfall again in the spring at high-water levels. There are so many layers falling from the cliff above that it is truly a wildly-beautiful cascade of water.
Visit Panther Creek then head out to Falls Creek Falls to double down on the day and get in a few miles.
Getting there: From Portland, drive east to Cascade Locks and cross the Bridge of the Gods ($1 toll). Turn right and head east on WA-14 and through the town of Stevenson. Travel for three more miles then turn left onto Wind River Road. Take the second of the “Old State Road” right turns (also signed for Panther Creek campground). Take the first left onto Panther Creek Road and travel for 7.2 miles until you see a large gravel pull-out on the right hand side. Park here. The trail to the falls is 50 yards back to the left. When I visited the trailhead entrance was marked with stray paint on the road, however, often their is no signage to the trail.