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Falls William D

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

5410 S Macadam Ave, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit Multnomah Falls early in the morning to avoid the crowds and have a more peaceful experience with the waterfall. Also, for a unique perspective, take the trail to the top of the falls where you'll find fewer visitors and a stunning view of the Columbia River Gorge that not every tourist gets to see."

What is Multnomah Falls?

Multnomah Falls is a breathtaking natural wonder that will enchant you with its beauty and grandeur. Nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, just a short drive from Portland, Oregon, this magnificent waterfall drops in two major steps, split into an upper fall of 542 feet and a lower fall of 69 feet, with a small hike leading up to Benson Bridge between them, where you can get an up-close view of the cascade. It is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon and one of the tallest year-round waterfalls in the United States.

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The falls are fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, and their flow varies, displaying a roaring force during winter and spring melt and a more serene beauty during the summer and fall. The sight of the water plunging down the cliffside, surrounded by lush, moss-covered rocks and the greenery of the Gorge, is truly a sight to behold, drawing visitors from all around the world to witness its splendor.

History of Multnomah Falls

The area around Multnomah Falls is rich with history and lore, especially indigenous legends that date back centuries before European settlers arrived. It is said to be named after the Multnomah tribe, part of the Chinookan peoples. According to one Native American legend, the falls were created to win the heart of a young princess who wanted a hidden place to bathe. What's undeniable is that Multnomah Falls has been a place of awe and inspiration for countless generations.

In the 1880s, with the arrival of the railroad and later the Historic Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls became accessible to tourists from far and wide. The famed Benson Bridge, an iconic feature of the falls, was built in 1914 by Simon Benson, a prominent businessman who was one of several private owners of the falls before it was donated to the public. The Multnomah Falls Lodge was constructed in 1925, offering visitors rest and refreshments in a setting as rustic and impressive as the falls themselves.

Why is Multnomah Falls Important?

The significance of Multnomah Falls lies not only in its natural beauty but also in its cultural and historical value. It's a symbol of Oregon's natural heritage, showcasing the unique geology and ecology of the Pacific Northwest. For the indigenous peoples, it's a sacred site grounded in deep spiritual significance and stories that have been passed down through oral traditions.

Furthermore, Multnomah Falls serves as an important recreational site that provides education regarding the preservation and respect for nature. It's a testament to the conservation efforts that began in the early 20th century, aimed at protecting and preserving natural sites of spectacular beauty and environmental significance. This mission continues today as the falls remain a key attraction within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Things to Do & See at Multnomah Falls

One of the most popular activities at Multnomah Falls is hiking to the top. The trailhead begins at the lodge and winds its way up to a beautiful overlook at the top of the falls, granting spectators a panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge. Along the way, the hike crosses Benson Bridge, which affords a stunning vantage point for watching the waters cascade downward.

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Visiting the Multnomah Falls Lodge is a must; it houses a visitor center, a gift shop, and the Multnomah Falls Restaurant, where you can enjoy a meal with a view of the falls. Additionally, the surrounding areas are rich in hiking trails, including ones that lead to other beautiful falls such as Wahkeena Falls or deeper into the Gorge, where dozens more hidden natural gems await.

For those interested in photography, the falls offer countless opportunities to capture the many moods of Oregon's landscape. Whether it's the misty cascade framed by autumn leaves or the ice formations that adorn the surrounding cliffs in winter, Multnomah Falls is a year-round destination for shutterbugs and nature lovers alike. And if you're lucky, you'll be there to witness one of the majestic rainbows that often form in the waterfall's mist.

Frequently asked questions

What is Multnomah Falls?

Multnomah Falls is a breathtaking waterfall located in the Columbia River Gorge, east of Portland, Oregon. It is Oregon's tallest waterfall and one of the state's most popular natural attractions.

How do you get to Multnomah Falls from Portland?

Multnomah Falls can be reached by taking the I-84 highway east from Portland. It is approximately 30 miles away, and the drive typically takes around 30 to 45 minutes. Alternatively, visitors can take public transportation or join a guided tour.

Is there an admission fee for Multnomah Falls?

No, there is no admission fee to visit Multnomah Falls. However, parking is limited and can fill up quickly, especially on weekends and holidays, so it's advisable to arrive early or consider alternative transportation.

Can you hike to the top of Multnomah Falls?

Yes, visitors can hike to the top of Multnomah Falls. The trail is approximately 2.2 miles round trip with a moderate to strenuous difficulty level due to the incline and switchbacks.

What facilities are available at Multnomah Falls?

Facilities at Multnomah Falls include a visitor center, gift shop, and the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge with a restaurant and snack bar. Restrooms and picnic areas are also available for public use.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

5410 S Macadam Ave, Portland, OR 97239, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps