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.
The trail is open to the Benson Bridge as well as the plaza and lower viewing platform, offering a stunning view of Multnomah Falls, which plummets 620 feet in two major steps — the upper fall plunging 542 feet and the lower fall 69 feet — distinguishing it as the highest waterfall in the state of Oregon and second highest in the nation.
The water flowing over Multnomah Falls water 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.
Lumber baron and philanthropist Simon Benson donated the land that the falls sat upon and also funding for construction of the Benson Bridge. The bridge, constructed in 1914, allows visitors to cross over the lower falls and continue their paved trail journey to the viewing platform at the top.
The platform offers dynamic views of the waterfall, Multnomah Falls Lodge, grounds and the Columbia River Gorge. Benson also donated additional land that included Wahkeena Falls to the west.
How do I get there?
Most direct route, 30 minutes from Portland: take I-84 eastbound for approximately 30 miles. Follow signs and take exit 31 (an unusual left-side exit ramp) off I-84 to a parking area. Follow the path under the highway to reach the falls viewing area.
Visit Oregon.com/attractions/multnomah_falls for more information.
Lynne Tucker is a travel writer and photojournalist based in Palm Desert.