The upper fall plunging 542 feet and the lower fall 69 feet with a 9 foot elevation drop between the two falls distinguishes Multnomah Falls as the highest waterfall in the state of Oregon, and second highest year-round waterfall in the nation. This magnificent and memorable natural wonder is located just a 30 minute drive from downtown Portland. Visiting Multnomah Falls will treat you to an awe-inspiring cascade of icy water. You will experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease. You can either park in the parking area off of
I-84 Multnomah Falls Exit 31, noting that is a left hand exit. From the freeway lot a 5-minute walk is all that separates you from the exhilarating spray at the base of the falls. You may also park in the Columbia Gorge Highway lot directly in front of the lodge. Although you can see the top portion of the falls from the highway, to enjoy unobstructed views of both tiers you will walk to the viewing area located at the base of the lower falls.
The water flowing over Multnomah Falls 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. Tilting your head up in the narrow rocky confines of the steep cliffs, you get a mind-boggling perspective of the sheer magnitude of the falls. For an even closer view, walk the paved trail 1/4 mile to reach Benson Bridge, which spans the falls at the first tier's misty base. Standing on the bridge you have a perfect view of the top tier's full 542-foot height and a knee-wobbling vantage point over the second tier's 69 foot drop. From Benson Bridge, hike another mile up a steep path to reach the top of the falls. Here you will be rewarded, weather permitting, with spectacular views of the Columbia Gorge. For updated trail information in the Columbia River Gorge please clickhere.
The bridge is named for Simon Benson, a prominent Portland businessman who owned the falls in the early part of the 1900s. Benson gave Multnomah Falls to the City of Portland, which later transferred ownership to the US Forest Service. According to Native American lore, Multnomah Falls was the site in which a tribal princess threw herself onto the rocks below to save her tribe form a terrible illness.
To make the outing complete, visit the Multnomah Falls Lodge which was built in 1925 to provide motorists on the then new Columbia River Highway a place of rest and refreshment. The historic structure made of every type of rock found in the gorge, houses a beautiful restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, espresso, and US Forest service interpretive visitors center.
The Columbia River Gorge draws visitors from all over the world with its commanding vistas, abundant wildlife, and majestic forests. The towering cliffs that form the Gorge create the backdrop for the Magnificent Multnomah Falls.
This natural wonder attracts approximately 2.5 million visitors per year, ranking Multnomah Falls as Oregon’s #1 visited natural attraction.
- Pets are allowed at Multnomah Falls, but must be controlled, and on a leash at all times.
- Multnomah Falls does NOT require a Northwest Forest Pass.
- Spray and mist cause a cooler micro-climate within the falls viewing area so be sure to bring a sweater in summer or coat in winter for added warmth.