Just a short jaunt outside of the Portland, Oregon metro area, tucked in to the gorgeous cliffs of the Columbia River Gorge on the Oregon side, lies Multnomah Falls. Known as one of the most photographed spots in Oregon, the Falls provide visitors with spectacular scenery year-round. In fact, it hosts around 2.5 million visitors per year, making it Oregonís most popular natural attraction. Whether youíre seeking a quick break from a long trip along Interstate 84, or youíre gearing up for hours of hiking, Multnomah Falls provides something for every kind of tourist.
Multnomah Falls, fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain and plunging a drastic 620 feet, is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and is said to be the second tallest year-round waterfall in the U.S. The waterfall consists of two levels, an upper falls and a lower falls. A short quarter mile stroll past the main viewing platform and you can be traversing the 45-foot Benson Footbridge, allowing you to cross over the lower cascade. Photo opportunities are in abundance here, so donít forget to bring your camera.
What to eat
For those looking for something light, there is a snack bar and coffee kiosk located on the grounds. For a heartier meal, the gorgeous Multnomah Falls Dining Room, located in the Lodge (which is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places), serves upscale Northwest-style cuisine and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What to do
The Lodge also features an interpretive center and great gift shop. For those seeking some exercise, you can hike the approximately 1.1 mile paved trail to the top of the Falls. The trail also hooks up to several other Gorge trails, like the popular 4.9 mile Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Trail. This moderate to difficult trail is great because it takes you through many different terrains and loops back around to where you started. Plan to spend around 3 hours on the trail. Stop by the visitor center to get a map of the trails in the area before you head into the wilderness.
How to get there
Multnomah Falls is easily accessed from Interstate 84. Those coming from Portland will head east on I-84 for 35 miles until they see exit 31, which is a left exit off of the interstate. Those looking for more scenery can take the historic Columbia River Scenic Highway which is also easily accessed from Interstate 84. However, a word of caution here, the Columbia River Scenic Highway is not for RVs. So leave your rig at the campground and hop in your toad.
For more information on Multnomah Falls, including details on the exits for the Columbia River Scenic Highway, visit www.multnomahfallslodge.com/location.html.