Latourell Falls is usually the first waterfall seen along the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway. Because of this, it usually leaves quite an impression on first time visitors, myself included. The falls plunge 224 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt - some of the best formations in the Pacific Northwest - before cascading hastily towards the Columbia River. I had for the longest time questioned its height - commonly said to be 249 feet - because to my eye, it looked substantially shorter. Early measurements placed the height at 224 feet, and I found this much more believable. Well I trained my rangefinder on the falls in 2009 and lo and behold, I measured it to almost exactly 224 feet. This waterfall is usually most recognized for the large patch of bright yellow lichen adorning the cliff face to the right of the falls, and this characteristic has led many famous photographers to give this location their treatment. The drainage of Latourell Creek is rather small, so the falls become significantly less impressive later in the year, but are always worth stopping for a quick look.
- Latourell Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
The falls were named for Joseph Latourell, a well known settler of the area. It isn't known exactly when the falls were officially named. In 1887 Joseph Latourell was named postmaster of the Rooster Rock Post Office, one of the first in the area, and the office was subsequently renamed Latourell Falls, so I suspect the falls had to have been named prior to 1887. The falls were originally owned by Guy W. Talbot, who donated the land and falls to the Oregon State Parks system in 1929 (the park was subsequently named for Talbot). It should be noted that the falls are often incorrectly spelled with an "e"Â at the end. The proper spelling is as listed.
Latourell Falls are located within Guy W. Talbot State Park, accessed from the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway approximately 5 miles east of Crown Point or 3 Â½ miles west of the town of Bridal Veil. Short trails lead to the base of the falls as well as a viewpoint along the rim of the gorge. The trails connect and form a loop, crossing at the top of the falls as well.