Multnomah Falls is one of the most famous and most photographed waterfalls in the entire world. In addition to dropping more than 600 feet, the view of the falls is enhanced by the iconic footbridge that spans just above its lower tier.
Approximately 2.5 million people visit Multnomah Falls each year, making it the most visited natural attraction in Oregon. Reaching the waterfall is quite convenient. A short easy walk from the parking area off Exit 31 on I-84 (near Portland) leads to the viewing area.
Columbia River Gorge. Today the historic structure houses the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, espresso bar, and the interpretive center.
As a result of its popularity visitors should expect extreme crowds at the viewing area. Even if you venture up to the Benson Bridge you’re still likely to run into heavy crowds, as it’s only a quarter-of-a-mile from the trailhead. The historic cement bridge over the lower falls was built in 1914 for Simon Benson, the owner of a 400-acre tract of land that included both Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls. Before his death in 1942, Benson deeded the tract to the City of Portland, which later transferred ownership to the U.S. Forest Service.
From the bridge the trail crosses over to the eastern side of the falls, and shortly thereafter begins a steep climb up to the overlook.
The trail counts 11 switchbacks up to the overlook. When you reach switchback 9 the trail finally tops out and begins a short descent. Soon you’ll reach an unmarked side trail that spurs off to the right. After taking this short side trail you’ll reach another unmarked junction. Here you’ll take another right and soon will reach the wooden platform overlooking the top of Multnomah Falls. From this vantage point you’ll have a pretty good view of the falls plunging over the ledge, as well as the Benson Bridge and the parking area in the valley far below. You’ll also have a pretty good birds-eye view of the Columbia River Gorge as well.
Trail: Multnomah Falls Overlook
RT Distance: 2.4 Miles
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Max Elevation: 900 feet
TH Location: Multnomah Falls
Map: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Trails Illustrated Map
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