Rising more than 600 feet (189 meters) above sea level, Multnomah Falls is one of the most prized attractions in the US state of Oregon. The magnificent falls, which are the tallest in the state, features two tantalizing drops. With rainwater, melted snow, and an underground spring feeding into Multnomah, the falls enjoys a regular stream that flows all year round even during late summer, when most waterfalls in the area usually dry up. This means that you can visit this natural attraction at any time of the year, and still get to marvel at its full beauty. That being said, the flowing water volume is at its largest during winter and spring.
Multnomah Falls is set along the Historic Columbia River Highway and about a thirty-minute drive from Portland. It is truly a mesmerizing attraction great for all ages and perfect for visiting families. You can see the top part of the falls from the highway, but to fully view both tiers, you have to go to the designated viewing area nestled in a carved-out rock face. The good news is one of the site’s viewing platforms is wheelchair-accessible. To reach the base of the falls is quite easy and accessible as you only need to walk for 5-minutes from the parking area off the I-84 Road.
If you are the adventurous type, one fantastic experience is to hike the ¼ mile to Benson Bridge. This scenic foot-crossing was originally built in 1914 and was named after the successful Portland business Simon Benson, who happened to be the original owner of Multnomah Falls. Right before passing away, Benson decided to gift the falls to the City of Portland. These days, the falls is owned and operated by the USDA Forest Service.
Thrill-seeking visitors go over Benson Bridge to catch a breathtaking view of the falls’ top tier cascades, which boasts a height of more than 500 feet. The bridge is also a vantage point for the falls’ second tier, which drops to 69 feet! But the Benson Bridge is not the finish line for hardcore hikers. You also have the choice to go up an additional one mile through a steep path to reach the top of the falls. But before you embark on this journey, you need to check with the rangers first; as the trail may be closed at certain times due to poor weather and other hazardous conditions.
Another option is to go below the bridge to visit another iconic structure- the Multnomah Falls Lodge, which was built in1925 using various rocks from the Colombia Gorge. This legendary lodge also offers magnificent views of the falls as well as the gorge. It attracts tourists with its lovely gift shop, and restaurant that serves Northwest Cuisine.
Multnomah Falls Lodge also houses the U.S. Forest Service interpretive center, where you can get trail maps and more information about the falls. Whether you choose to climb up to the top tier or go down to the lodge, be sure to dress warmly and wear shoes with ample traction. Other must-haves when visiting Multnomah include a raincoat (if you don’t want to get wet from the mist) and a camera. You do not need a Northwest Forest Pass to access the falls.