As the clogs of government turn ever so slowly the official naming of Celestial Falls nears.
Celestial Falls: falls; 44 ft. high; on the White River in White River Falls State Park, 3.7 mi. E of
the community of Tygh Valley; Wasco County, Oregon; Sec. 7, T4S, R14E, Willamette Meridian;
45°14’33”N, 121°05’47”W; USGS map – Maupin 1:24,000; Not: Celestial Pool Falls, Middle
White River Falls, Tygh Valley Falls, White River Falls.
Proposal: make official name in long-time local use
Map: USGS Maupin 1:24,000
Proponent: Mark A. Davis; Bend, OR
Administrative area: White River Falls State Park
Previous BGN Action: None
Names associated with feature:
GNIS: None found
Local Usage: Celestial Falls (20 years)
Published: Celestial Falls (Waterfalls of the Pacific Northwest 2014; American Whitewater
2014; Riverfacts, Oregon 2014; World Kayak, 2014; Gorge News Center, 2014;
GoingOutside magazine 2014) ; Middle White River Falls (Waterfalls of the Pacific
Northwest 2014; American Whitewater 2014), Tygh Valley Falls (Waterfalls of the Pacific
Northwest 2014; American Whitewater 2014)
Case Summary: This is the first of two proposals submitted by a local kayaker to make official
names in local use for two waterfalls on the White River within White River Falls State Park in
Wasco County. The falls are tiered and the name Celestial Falls refers to the lower of the two. It
has a height of approximately 44 feet. The upper falls is proposed to be named officially White
River Falls (q.v.). The proponent reports that a local rafting guide began to refer to the lower falls
around 1993 as Celestial Pool Falls, but soon after, it was shortened to Celestial Falls, a name that
has become known nationally by kayakers and photographers. As the site of generations of Native
American life and use, as well as a former Pacific Power and Light powerhouse, the area is now a
State Park. Watercraft use in the vicinity of the falls is banned, although in the recent years,
kayakers have begun to run the treacherous drops. There are numerous videos and photos of these
falls, including a number that use the name Celestial Falls.
The entire complex of falls in this area has been referred to variously as White River Falls, Tygh
Valley Falls, Middle White River Falls, and Celestial Falls. Upon visiting the site, members of the
Oregon Geographic Names Board agreed that it was appropriate to apply names to each of the
individual tiers within the complex. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department recommends
approval of the name Celestial Falls.
GNIS lists no other features in Oregon with the word “Celestial” in their names.