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Multnomah Falls

50000 E Historic Columbia River Highway, Bridal Veil, Oregon

Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon at 620 feet (189 meters) and one of the state’s top natural landmarks. The falls are made up of two waterfalls fed from Larch Mountain and are recognizable for their setting tucked into sheer rock faces. The cascades are made more fairytale-like by the Benson Bridge, which spans the top of the lower falls and provides great photo ops.

The most popular Multnomah Falls tours are half-day and full-day outings from Portland. In addition to time at the falls, half-day tours often also include visits to the Columbia River Gorge, the Vista House at Crown Point, or other falls in the area. Full-day tours might stop at Mt. Hood for spectacular views over the beauty of northwestern Oregon or at area wineries for afternoon tastings.

  • Parts of the path that lead to the lower waterfall are wheelchair accessible; there is an elevator to the restaurant.

  • A US Forest Service information center is open seven days a week.

  • The out-and-back hike to the upper falls overlook is 2.4 miles (4 kilometers) total.

  • The Multnomah Falls Lodge at the base of the falls hosts a restaurant, snack bar, gift shop, and restrooms. Pick up hiking trail maps here.

  • Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring layers, whether you plan to hike or not; spray and mist can make surfaces slippery and cooler than nearby areas.

  • Dogs are welcome but must be on a leash.

The falls are along the Oregon side of the Columbia River about 30-40 minutes from downtown Portland. From Portland, head east on Interstate 84 and take exit 31 to the parking lot (which fills up often). For a more scenic route, take exit 28 and drive the Historic Columbia River Highway. To avoid traffic and navigation issues, take a guided bus tour from Portland.

Multnomah Falls is open year-round, with the most impressive water flow in winter and spring. To avoid large crowds, go early in the morning, midweek, or on rainy days. Know that on warm days in spring, summer, and fall, there will be crowds.

While Multnomah Falls is definitely the grand dame, it’s not the only waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area or along the Historic Columbia River Highway. On the drive between Portland and the gorge, stop off at Wahkeena Falls, Latourell Falls, Horsetail Falls, or Bridal Veil Falls for more opportunities to take in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Select day tours to Multnomah Falls also stop at additional waterfalls on the route.

No, you don’t need tickets to visit Multnomah Falls. However, if you’re visiting during the peak season—which lasts from May through early September—and are driving your own vehicle there, you’ll need to pre-buy a timed entry permit, which is available up to 14 days in advance.

No, there’s no admission fee for Multnomah Falls or the trails surrounding it. You’ll need a timed-entry vehicle permit during high season, which runs from late May until the beginning of September, but If you visit as part of a tour or come by bus or shuttle, you won’t need to pay anything extra.

You can reserve a timed use permit for Multnomah Falls on up to 14 days in advance. There are two permit types: One is just for Multnomah Falls, while the other covers both Multnomah Falls and the surrounding Waterfall Corridor, which extends along Highway 30 from Bridal Veil Falls to Ainsworth State Park.

You can stop at Multnomah Falls for as little as 10 minutes, but most people spend up to an hour there, to visit the lodge and walk over the footbridge. You can also hike to the top of the falls, which takes around 90 minutes to complete the loop.

The best time to visit Multnomah Falls is in the springtime, when water levels are at their highest and the surge is most powerful. Summer is also popular, as the weather in the Columbia Gorge is usually pleasant, but water levels are lower and there are generally more crowds.

If the Multnomah Falls parking lots are full—which they often are—you’ll need to either wait for a space to become available or take a hop-on, hop-off shuttle. As Multnomah Falls has limited parking facilities, you might want to consider leaving your car at home and taking a tour.


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