Multnomah Falls is one of the most spectacular natural attractions in the Pacific Northwest. If you want to experience the power of nature up close and personal, your senses will be on overload as you feel the spray and hear the roar of these mighty waters. Cascading 620 feet, it is the second-highest year-round waterfall in the United States.
As Oregon’s top travel destination, Multnomah Falls draws close to two million visitors annually. The falls are located on the Oregon side of the beautiful Columbia River gorge, an awe-inspiring river canyon, which cuts through the Cascade Mountain range. This scenic gorge is 80 miles long and up to 4000 feet deep, with its north canyon walls in Washington state, and the southern walls in the state of Oregon.
Consisting of an upper and a lower falls, the view of this long narrow cascade is quite impressive, contributing to why the striking Multnomah Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in America. The upper section drops 542 feet, and the lower falls has a drop of 69 feet. Due to a graduated drop in elevation of nine feet, the total height of the waterfall is generally considered to be 620 feet. A concrete arched bridge just above the lower falls completes this stunningly beautiful scene, making it a favorite of photographers.
Fed by the ice cold underwater springs and melting snow from Larch Mountain, the roaring water flow is highest in the winter and spring seasons. Known to freeze solid at times during the winter, Multnomah Falls never dries up completely, like many other Western waterfalls, but instead flows year-round.
If you are planning on visiting Multnomah Falls, take I-84, exiting at the Historic Columbia River Highway (Oregon Highway 30), which is Exit 35 traveling west, or Exit 28, traveling east. At the base of the falls, is the Multnomah Falls Lodge, which was built in 1925 to serve early automobile travelers, and now is listed on the National Historic Register of historic places. Inside you will find a restaurant, gift shop and restrooms, as well as the Visitor Center, staffed by the US Forest Service and Friends of Muoltnomah Falls. Open seven days a week, the center provides brochures and maps of the area.
A quarter-mile trail from the lodge leads to the Simon Benson Bridge, built in 1914 by Italian stone masons, and hikers can cross the falls at this point. The trail continues in a steep zigzag pattern for 1.2 miles, climbing 600 feet to the top of the falls, offering magnificent views of the falls and the Columbia River Gorge. For the more adventurous hikers, the trail continues for another six miles to the top of Larch Mountain. There is also an option to take the six-mile Wahkeena loop Trail. For more information see www.oregon.com Multnomah Falls.
Whether you are viewing the Multnomah Falls from the parking lot of the lodge, the highway, or hiking the trail, it will be an incredible experience that will stay with you forever.