Multnomah Falls in Oregon seems like something out of a Thomas Kinkade picture, complete with a bridge and a charming stone lodge at the foot of the mountain. The stream, which is nourished by snow, rain, and an underground spring, emerges from the trees and plunges 620 feet to the earth. It isn’t, however, a fantasy. Multnomah Falls is a genuine waterfall that is considerably more magnificent when seen in person.
Multnomah Falls has a coveted spot on many bucket lists, attracting over 2 million people each year. It’s a must-see for anybody visiting Portland and the surrounding regions since it’s Oregon’s highest waterfall. Everything you need to know about Multnomah Falls is right here!
Is Multnomah Falls now open?
Multnomah Falls is a year-round attraction since it is fed by rains and snowmelt. The Benson Bridge is blocked due to the present scenario (Pandemic COVID 19). However, Multnomah Falls is still worth seeing since the greatest views are near the foot of the cascade.
The route to Benson Bridge and up to the top of the falls is blocked, leaving just the lower observation platform available. The Wahkeena Falls trail is also blocked. Multnomah Falls is available to a limited number of people every day from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis. During your visit, you must wear a mask and maintain social distance.
Multnomah Falls Lodge, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has a restaurant, snack bar, and gift store, is also open. Because of the fluid nature of the pandemic scenario, it’s a good idea to check the official website’s notifications before going.
The booking of Benson Bridge tickets has been temporarily halted. As a result, it’s recommended checking the booking page before your visit to see if anything has changed. Due to the popularity of the Benson Bridge, timed reservation tickets are usually necessary.
- Autumn: The falls have a peaceful beauty to them, with yellow maples framing the cascade and cliffs. When summer vacation is ended, there are also less tourists, and the waterfall flow is a little lower (but still scenic). Even still, a weekday is your best option for privacy.
- Winter: Seasonal rains produce roaring waterfalls, which are periodically encased in ice by freezing temperatures. Make the trek if the roads are safe for a wonderful experience.
- Spring: The waterfall reaches its maximum volume due to rain and melting, while the wildflowers along adjacent paths are in full bloom. During the weekends and spring break, larger numbers of people begin to come.
- Summer: Come early, carry water, and be prepared for an adventure in any season (but particularly during the busy summer months). For less people, go midweek in the early morning or late evening, but summer days are nearly always bustling.
Multnomah Falls is located in Multnomah County, Oregon.
Multnomah Falls is nestled away in the Columbia River Gorge, which is located in north-west Oregon. The Columbia River Gorge, which runs through the beautiful Cascade Mountains, was built by the Columbia River. With Oregon to the south and Washington to the north, the river serves as a state boundary. Multnomah Falls is just a three-hour trip from Seattle, Washington, due to its closeness to the border.
Portland, on the other hand, is the nearest city to Multnomah Falls. In the Columbia River Gorge, a 30-minute drive east of Portland, travelers will find over 90 waterfalls to explore. Multnomah Falls stands out among the others and is located just off the Historic Columbia River Highway.
Multnomah Falls is seen from Interstate 84, which runs through the Columbia River Gorge. Visitors should take the short walk from the road to Multnomah’s observation platforms to get the full spectacle.
Multnomah Falls is accessible by car.
Visiting the Falls by vehicle is one of the most convenient ways to see this natural beauty. You will be able to explore Multnomah Falls as well as other waterfalls and hiking trails in the surrounding region. Multnomah Falls is accessible from Portland via the Historic Columbia River Highway or Interstate 84. Despite the fact that the waterfall is located along the Historic Columbia River Highway, there are just a few parking places available. Multnomah Falls’ popularity prompted the expansion of parking; however it is only accessible through I-84.
Reroute your GPS to I-84 if it suggests taking Historic Columbia River Highway from Portland. Exit at Exit 31 after 30 minutes on I-84 east. For westbound drivers, the exit is the same. Exit 31 for Multnomah Falls Car Park will be on the left instead of the right in both ways.
Despite the fact that the parking lot accommodates 186 automobiles, the daily visitor car rate is anticipated to be 13 times that, so be patient and read on for parking advice! To get to the observation platforms, hiking paths, and Multnomah Lodge, park and stroll down the route under the highway.
A mechanic gate is often used to stop the exit. When the parking lot fills up, it automatically shuts and doesn’t reopen until a large number of places become available (about 10 percent). It is risky to stop on the motorway while waiting for the gate to open.
Drive to Rooster Rock State Park instead (Exit 25). Park for $5 and use the Columbia Gorge Express shuttle for free. Continue east on I-84 to Cascade Locks as another alternative. Free parking is available at the post office, and a $5 bus trip to Multnomah Falls is available.
Taking the Bus
The Columbia Gorge Express, which began as a test operation in 2016, has grown in popularity as a way to see Multnomah Falls. Rather of competing for restricted parking places, taking the bus is a cost-effective and relaxing way to take in the scenery.
Gateway Transit Center, Rooster Rock State Park, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, and Hood River are the five stations of the Columbia Gorge Express. An individual day ticket, which costs $15 on the day of purchase or $12 online, gives you unlimited trips between destinations. If you’re coming from Portland, you may park for free at the Gateway Transit Center.
Only care about Multnomah Falls? Take the 30-minute bus journey from Portland to Multnomah Falls for the price of a coffee ($5 round way). Park at Rooster Rock State Park ($5) for a somewhat shorter bus journey to Multnomah Falls, or use the free shuttle for a 15-minute ride.
Multnomah Falls Viewing Areas
Whether you’re looking at Multnomah Falls from Multnomah Lodge, Benson Bridge, or Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint, each vantage point offers something different and equally magnificent.
- Lower Multnomah Viewing Platform
Multnomah Lodge is a 5-minute walk from the car park and is a great location to stop, get a snack, and get ready for the hike ahead. A paved walkway leads tourists to the Lower Viewing Platform to the right of Multnomah Lodge. Despite being the busiest spot, it offers the stunning vista of Multnomah Falls that is included on practically every brochure. Both levels of Multnomah Falls and Benson Bridge are visible from this vantage point. Continue one-fifth of a mile along the paved route to see Multnomah Falls from the renowned Benson Bridge.
- Benson Bridge is a bridge in the city of Benson
Simon Benson, a businessman, purchased the grounds around Multnomah Falls to protect the property, which he eventually bequeathed to the City of Portland. The stone bridge was erected in 1914 and is named after Benson.
Benson Bridge, located between the Upper and Lower Falls, is 105 feet above Multnomah Creek and provides excellent views of both levels of the Falls. Watch the lower Falls flow into the pool below on the left. Crane your neck to the right to observe water falling from the cliff’s brink.
- Upper Viewpoint of Multnomah Falls
Beyond Benson Bridge, a walk leads to Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint, which is 870 feet high. There are 11 switchbacks on the path, as well as various viewpoints to take in as you regain your breath. The vista is a half-moon-shaped wooden platform with views down to Benson Bridge, Multnomah Lodge, and — on a clear day — over the treetops and the Columbia River Gorge from the top of the cascade.
When Is It Best to Go to Multnomah Falls?
Multnomah Falls in Oregon offers a variety of experiences throughout the year due to the area’s four unique seasons. Winter provides snow and ice, while the changing leaves produce flashes of orange and yellow.
Although Multnomah Falls is beautiful in any season, the greatest time to come is in the spring, from April through June. Multnomah Falls’ enormous potential is shown by the full, roaring cascade created by the melting snow throughout the winter. The landscapes around local hiking paths will be dotted with blooming white, yellow, and purple wildflowers. Despite the fact that tourists begin to increase in the spring, Multnomah Falls sees fewer visitors.
July and August are, as predicted, the warmest months of the year. It’s also the busiest season due to school vacations. Multnomah Falls is just as beautiful in the summer, even though the water flow isn’t as intense, since it never completely dries up. If you visit Multnomah Falls during the summer, go early in the morning to avoid the crowds and the heat.
In general, regardless of the season, you should expect crowds. Weekends and holidays nearly usually see a spike in visitor numbers. Arrive early in the morning and, if feasible, visit during the week.
In Multnomah Falls, What Can You Do?
Although Multnomah Falls’ lodge and observation platforms are the major draw, this region also serves as a wonderful starting point for various hiking paths. Consider volunteering with the Forest Service to help restore any of the trails that may be closed.
- Multnomah Falls Lodge is a must-see.
Multnomah Lodge was initially built in 1925 as a rest stop for visitors by Albert E. Doyle, a philanthropist who earned his wealth in logging. The lodge was listed for the National Register of Historic Places in 1981 after being designed to utilize every rock variety present in the Columbia River Gorge.
It has now grown to become a destination in and of itself. You may spend many hours at the lodge, which has a visitor’s center, gift store, restrooms, and a restaurant on the second level. The visitors center is managed by the US Forest Service, and it gives information about hiking routes. The lodge is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The Multnomah Lodge also hosts events and is a popular wedding reception site.
- Hike to Observation Points and Beyond
Multnomah Falls Trail leads to Larch Mountain, a six-mile climb that twists between lofty trees and dense underbrush. The 4.9-mile Wahkeena-Multnomah Falls Loop also goes through Ecola Falls and Fairy Falls, among other waterfalls. Before going on any walks, check with the US Forest Service to see whether any trails are available.
- Assistance with Recovery Efforts
Multnomah Falls is still feeling the consequences of the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire. It will take a community to restore the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge to its pre-fire condition, from charred tree relics to trail restrictions. Participate in recovery efforts by contributing financial assistance or collaborating with an organization to restore trails while visiting the region.
Multnomah Falls is not totally contained by the pools below due to the great drop and forceful flow of water. Mist covers the surrounding region in most cases, providing a chilly environment.
To stay dry when standing on Benson Bridge and hiking the route, bring a waterproof garment with a hood. Warmer weather may need the addition of an additional layer, such as a long-sleeve shirt or light sweater. To avoid skidding on slippery pavement, it’s also a good idea to wear traction-enhancing footwear, such as hiking boots.