Multnomah Falls

Multnomah County, Oregon

4.2/5
based on 35 reviews

Details

Distance

2.61 miles

Elevation Gain

1214 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Michael Matti

See the beautiful Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge with just a few hundred foot walk. If you can, come early or late to avoid the crowds.

Multnomah Falls is worth a quick stop anytime you're visiting the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in Oregon. This waterfall is the tallest in Oregon at 620 feet and the third largest in the Pacific Northwest behind Bridal Veil Falls (1,289 feet) and Green Lake Falls (979 feet) and has an average flow rate of 150 cu ft/s over two drops. The falls are only about 30 miles from Portland and 30 miles from Hood River. The parking lot is right by the road and the waterfall is right by the parking lot. Its is only a few hundred feet walk on an even paved surface to reach the main viewpoint. If you're looking for something a bit longer, there are other options if you wish to hike near the falls. There is a 2.6 mile roundtrip hike to a viewpoint above the falls as seen in the GPX track below. There is also the beautiful Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop trail (approx. 5 miles) that goes to other waterfalls in the area.

The popularity of Multnomah Falls makes it a must-see attraction when visiting the Columbia River Gorge. As the tallest waterfall in Oregon, it draws over 2 million visitors per year. The easily accessible falls are located just off the Historic Columbia River Highway 30, making it a convenient trip from Portland or the Hood River Valley.

Beyond just seeing the falls themselves, the surrounding trails offer spectacular views and scenery. The Multnomah Falls trailhead leads to Benson Bridge, which crosses directly in front of the waterfall's cascade. Heading up the paved switchbacks, you can continue on the Larch Mountain Trail with rewarding views down onto Multnomah Falls as you gain elevation. The 1.1 mile round-trip hike to the viewpoint is rated moderate, with 670 feet of elevation gain.

Just across the highway, connecting trails lead to other stunning waterfalls. The 2.6 mile round-trip Wahkeena Falls Trail passes fairytale-like Wahkeena Falls, while also connecting to the Devil's Rest Trail and Angel's Rest Trail. The popular 5.4 mile Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop links these paths together, providing visitors with an outstanding hiking experience in the Columbia River Gorge.

With convenient access right off the interstate, short paved walks to spectacular viewpoints, and connecting trails to hike, Multnomah Falls has something for everyone. Boasting the highest waterfall in Oregon, it's undoubtedly a must-see for nature lovers visiting the region.

Regardless of if you plan to hike further, this is a definite must see in the Columbia River Gorge. It can be seen in any season and changes drastically from the vibrant greens of spring to the colors of fall to the snow of winter. Each season provides a new photographic opportunity.

Multnomah Falls Permits:

A Northwest Forest Pass is required to park at Multnomah Falls and throughout the Columbia River Gorge. Passes can be purchased online or at the Multnomah Falls Lodge. Parking costs $5 per vehicle without a pass. Due to the high volume of visitors, advanced reservations through Recreation.gov are required to visit Multnomah Falls from May 15 through September 30. The reservation system aims to spread out crowds and limit overcrowding on trails and viewpoints.

Tips and FAQs for Multnomah Falls:

Be sure to go early or come late as this is a very popular stop and can become quite crowded. At the base of the Falls is Multnomah Falls Lodge and visitors center, which offers a coffee bar, gift shop, restaurant, and restrooms.

Check the U.S. Forest Service website for any closures in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Q: Do you still need a pass for Multnomah Falls?

A: If you are arriving to Multnomah Falls by motorcycle or vehicle, you will need a permit that is a "timed-use" permit. Always have the printed or digital copy of the timed-use permit available to be checked by rangers and at the check-in area.

Q: How much time do you need at Multnomah Falls?

A: The consensus from visitors to see and take in all that the Multnomah Falls area offers is around 3-4 hours. This includes the time needed to explore all of the waterfalls on the King of Roads.

Q: Can you see Multnomah Falls by car?

A: Multnomah Falls can be viewed from I-84 off of the main highway that winds through the Columbia River Gorge. However, to fully view and take in all the the falls have to offer, it is advised make the short hike from the road to Multnomah Falls platforms for a more expansive view.



Driving Directions:

  • From either Portland or Hood River, take I-84 to exit 31 and park in the Multnomah Falls Parking Lot. If the lot is full, check the Sasquatch Shuttle parking lot at Exit 28 behind the post office.
  • Coming from Portland, the falls are around a 30 minute drive east on I-84. From Hood River, Multnomah Falls is about 30 miles west via I-84. Well marked signs make it easy to locate the exit.
  • Trailhead address: 53000 Historic Columbia River Highway, Corbett, OR 97019
  • Location coordinates: 45.57758 -122.117
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Features

Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Food Nearby
Forest
Groups
River
Romantic
Scenic
Waterfall
ADA Accessible

Multnomah Falls Reviews

I'd seen hundreds of photos from this spot and never got the chance to visit until this past summer. The falls are honestly incredible and worth every minute of getting pushed around by the throngs of people that flock here. Can't hate on 'em, they're here to do the same thing as all of us, but it does get ridiculously busy. I envy anyone who lives close because I'm sure you can catch it on off days where the crowds are lighter. Nonetheless, it's totally worth the drive if you're in Portland or the surrounding area and the views of the Columbia River on 84 are awesome.

This is a stunning waterfall, no doubt. It's just to busy for my liking. Go very early to avoid this.

As other reviewers elude to, the falls are absolutely spectacular. The dual falls along with the bridge suspended over the middle is a sight to be seen. That said, the location of it being directly off the highway makes it accessible to virtually anyone. To see the falls you only need to walk a couple steps from your car. The accessibility is great, but this leads to an ever crowded environment. If you can, go at dawn or early in the morning for the smallest crowds.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

Nearby

Wiesendanger Falls

Larch Mountain's Summit

Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop

Wahkeena Falls

Fairy Falls

Triple Falls