This incredible hike to the top of Multnomah Falls and along Multnomah Creek provides unforgettable perspectives of the Columbia River Gorge just a short drive from downtown Portland.
Although the Columbia River Gorge was millions of years in the making, it wasn’t until the end of the last ice age that the incredible Missoula Floods carved out the Gorge as we know it today. The floods left us with steep topography and dramatic basalt walls, and the Pacific Northwest climate provides continual rain and snow melt. These factors combine to create one of North America’s greatest collection of waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is at the epicenter, dropping a total of 690 feet.* As Oregon’s most visited tourist destination, visiting the state’s tallest waterfall could mostly leave you with memories of crowds. To get the most out of your stop, hike to the top of the falls and continue all the way up Multnomah Creek to Weisendanger and Ecola Falls as well.
If you have the energy once you've reached the top, make the entire loop over to Wahkeena Falls to the east for a complete 5-mile journey. Along the way you’ll encounter countless cascades and enjoy the Pacific Northwest’s true forest primeval: giant Douglas firs, vibrant violet larkspurs or poison delphinium, false Solomon’s seal, fringecup and countless thimbleberry bushes. To get back to the old lodge parking lot, either head back on the Perdition Trail, which is commonly washed out, or use the lower trail that parallels the Historic Columbia River Highway for half a mile.
*Note that Multnomah Falls is actually a combination of two falls: the upper falls drops 542 feet, and the lower falls drops 69 feet. This Multnomah Falls hike provides excellent views of the entire falls.