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This Tour to Oregon's Tallest Waterfall Was Voted One of the Best Travel Experiences in the U.S.

There's an 80-mile canyon east of Portland, and this top-rated tour is the best way to see it.

<p>David Gn Photography/Getty Images</p>

David Gn Photography/Getty Images

From the International Rose Test Garden and the Duniway Park Lilac Garden to the Willamette River and views of Mount Hood, Portland, Oregon, is a sanctuary of natural wonders peppered into an urban hub that’s just off-beat enough to be proudly “weird." But just about a half-hour drive from downtown into the Columbia River Gorge, a whole new reality emerges, as rivers pirouette over cliff sides in some of the most stunning waterfalls in the world, each with a personality of its own.

So it’s no wonder that the Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour has emerged in the newly announced Viator Experience Awards 2023 as one of the Top 20 experiences in the U.S.

The four-hour tour, which starts at $69 per person, starts and ends at a pickup point in the city, and takes visitors in an air-conditioned vehicle out to the 80-mile canyon east of Portland. The first stop is the tallest waterfall in the state, the 620-foot high Multnomah Falls. The two-drop cascade with a curved-bottom bridge between the tiers is overwhelmingly impressive at first glance. But it's also quietly powerful, merging grit and grace as it envelopes you into its beauty. Rain or shine, it's well worth journey up to the span to feel the natural forces playfully at work.

<p>Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images/Getty Images</p>

Chase Dekker Wild-Life Images/Getty Images

Next, the tour heads to Latourell Falls, an entirely different kind of waterfall, as a plunge falling over ancient basalt. While the lower falls are a short walk away, those who would like to get a deeper look can hike about two miles through the variegated forest.

After that is Vista House, pending its opening hours. Technically a rest stop, it’s easy to dismiss the site on a map, but it’s one of Oregon’s sweetest surprises. Built in 1918, the 55-foot tall German art nouveau–style building serves its purpose with 20 restrooms, but it's surprisingly luxurious. The interior have Tokeen Alaska marble and pink Kasota limestone, among other incredible accents. It’s followed by a stop at the Portland Women’s Forum State scenic viewpoint.

<p>Anna Gorin/Getty Images</p>

Anna Gorin/Getty Images

The final item on the agenda is a hidden waterfall at Bridal Veil Falls State Park. A 0.6-mile hike leads to a spot that the tour company says is “genuine fairy land” — but of course, there’s only one way to find out.

The itinerary offered by Around Portland Tours earned the Viator Experience Award based on the company’s review of average review ratings, share of bookings with a review, and number of bookings over 12 months. Among the others that made the Top 20 for the U.S. are Hawaii’s Big Island in One Day, a New Orleans French Quarter food walking tour, and a walking tour of Los Angeles’ Hollywood Sign, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

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