Multnomah Falls plummets 620 feetin two major steps. The upper fall plunging 542 feet the lower fall 69 feet distinguishing Multnomah Falls as the highest waterfall in the state of Oregon and second highest in the nation.
The water flowing over Multnomah Falls water is supplied by natural underground springs that originate on Larch Mountain. In springtime, snowmelt additionally supplies the falls, greatly increasing the flow, width and intensity of the falls' powerful roaring sound. Multnomah Falls offers one of the best places in the Columbia River Gorge to observe the geology exposed by floods over the centuries. The waters of the Missoula Floods enhanced the cliff and face of Multnomah Falls thousands of years ago when water eroded away the soft material, highlighting the cliff face. Five different flows of basalt of the Columbia River basalt group are visible in the face of the upper falls. Five additional flows of Columbia River basalt can be observed along Multnomah Creek from the trail above the falls. Multnomah Falls formed in two drops because of the more easily eroded zone at the base of the upper falls Lumber baron and philanthropist, Simon Benson donated the land that the falls sat upon, and funding for construction of the Benson Bridge. The bridge, constructed in 1914, allows visitors to cross over the lower falls and continue their paved trail journey to the viewing platform at the top. The platform offers dynamic views of the waterfall, Multnomah Falls Lodge, grounds, and the Columbia River Gorge. Benson also donated additional land that included Wahkeena Falls to the West.
Multnomah Falls offers a very popular 1/4 mile short hike to the Benson Bridge. Many Hikers with a little more time and hiking ability opt to continue to conquer the 1.1-mile trek to the top. The Multnomah Falls trail is paved from the base to the viewing platform at the top. The Multnomah Falls trail also connects with several other gorge trails, offering many different hiking opportunities accommodating a wide variety of time schedules and hiking skill levels. Information about the different hiking trails accessed from the Multnomah Falls Trail, can be obtained at the Forest Service Interpretive center. The information center is located at the east end of the Lodge. Detailed trail maps of the Columbia River Gorge are available for purchase online or onsite through the Multnomah Falls Lodge gift shop.