The Franklin Ridge Loop hike is a great option for hikers looking to link up the heavily trafficked, well-known waterfalls along Multnomah and Oneonta Creek with several peaceful miles of solitude. It is also a good transition from from the area's easier day hikes into the more strenuous hikes.
The hike in the Columbia River Gorge starts at Multnomah Falls, Oregon's highest waterfall. From the Multnomah Falls Lodge, make your way up the often crowded Larch Mountain Trail #441. In the first few minutes the paved trail climbs to the Benson Footbridge, where most of the crowds snap photos in the waterfall's mist before returning to the lodge. You will be accompanied by a far smaller number of tourists as you continue past the bridge, ascending almost 700 feet via 11 switchbacks in less than a mile to the falls overlook. Past the overlook the paved trail turns to dirt and the masses of day tripping sightseers disappear.
As you ascend Larch Mountain Trail along Multnomah Creek you will pass numerous unnamed falls, as well as larger falls like the 50-foot high Weisendanger Falls. At about the 3 mile mark, take the Franklin Ridge Trail #427 northward. There are no waterfalls or lookouts for the next 2.2 miles as you ascend and traverse the ridge; instead, the peaceful forest of tall, straight trees and the seasonal wildflowers are your reward. At the end for Franklin Ridge take Oneonta Trail #424. Back in Oneonta Gorge, groups of hikers appear again. Take a moment to soak in Triple Falls and Upper Oneonta Falls as you descend. Complete the loop with a 2-mile jaunt westward on Gorge Trail #400, which parallels Historic Columbia River Highway.