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Visited: July 24, 2014 & September 11, 2015
Description: Tallest waterfall in Oregon
Length: 2.5 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 700 feet
Duration: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy-moderate. Easy hike but a fairly steep upwards climb to the top of the falls.
Terrain: Paved cement, well-maintained dirt trail.
Pets: Dog on-leash
Best time to go: Early mornings or weekdays. This place is packed on the weekends.
Bring: Camera, water (if you plan on hiking to the top)
Multnomah Falls has been on our bucket list for a while and it’s easy to see why. This two tiered, 620 foot beauty is absolutely mesmerizing. You see photos of these falls on every nature post, blog and article. We were excited to finally see theses falls ourselves.
Located 35 minutes from Portland off the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah is easily accessible. Getting there is straightforward and there is plently of parking. Parking can get difficult because Multnomah is one of the most popular destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
We left early Thursday morning to beat the crowd. From Interstate 84, we found a nearly empty parking lot. Success!!! As we made our way from the lot to the falls, the payoff is almost instant. You can see the top of the falls just peeking out from the top.
As we walked closer into the viewing area, we were lucky to have an almost empty view of Multnomah. The view was absolutely breathtaking. We spent several moments taking it all in, happy to have this place to ourselves.
We must have spoken too soon because we were quickly disturbed by a stampede of tourists freshly off a tour bus. To breakaway from this group, we decided to hike to the top of the falls. About 5-10 minutes in we reached Benson Bridge.
We spent some time on the bridge staring at the top portion of the falls. We would have spent even more time up there but the tour bus group from below made their way towards the bridge and we decided to move forward.
The rest of the hike is pretty dull. A ton of switchbacks until you reach the top. 11 switchbacks, to be exact (more like 5 too many because they were boring AF). But we were already committed so we decided to trek forward.
We found ourselves counting every single switchback until we made it to the top. Every newly numbered switchback was an accomplishment! Check out some of the views on the hike up:
During a few portions of the hike up, you can catch a different perspective of the falls but nothing as beautiful as the falls face on.
When you finally make it to the top, celebrate that you survived all 11 switchbacks without being bored to death and move forward.
There’s a mini waterfall at the top
This is the deck overlook at the top of the falls.
The top of the falls isn’t that great of a sight compared to the actual falls.
All in all, we were glad that we made it to the top. But we probably wouldn’t do the hike portion again 😛 At least it was a good morning workout! When we made our way down the trail it was pretty crowded already. We were happy to have experienced an intimate moment with the falls even if it was short-lived. Off to find a hike with more solitude.
- If you are not a hiker, we recommend making the short 0.4 mile walk to Benson Bridge and skip the rest of the hike.
- Get there early so you can avoid the crowd.
- There is a gift shop and food at the beginning of the falls. Grab a bite and pick up a souvenir!
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