With more than 600 feet of water falling in a gorgeous horsetail, Multnomah Falls is one of the most beautiful (and popular) in the Columbia River Gorge. And that's saying something, since the Oregon side of the Gorge flows with more than 70 cascades of varying heights. Of course, all that flowing water has made it famous, and its proximity to Portland and Vancouver mean Multnomah is one of the most crowded of these waterfalls as well.
More than 2 million visitors flock to these falls every year. On a busy weekend, expect to see hundreds of your fellow hikers, not to mention family outings, tourists, even wedding parties, since the historic Benson Bridge across the upper splash pool is a favorite location for wedding photos, despite a handful of incidents in which rocks have come over the edge of the falls and crashed into the pool below. While quite rare, the effects of these exciting incidents range from thorough soakings of the wedding party to significant chunks being taken out of the bridge itself.
The hiking options here vary greatly. If you want an easy day, you can snap a few photos from the base of the falls, check out the informational kiosk at the base of the falls, then toddle to the gift shop/cafe for an ice cream cone. Or you can head up to Benson Bridge for a closer view of the waterfall. For a short, but rigorous hike, it's less than a mile to the overlook at the top of the falls, but be warned that the route is often crowded and always steep.
While the trail is quite wide, it is not ADA-accessible because of the grade. Mud near the top of the trail can also pose a bit of a threat be careful at that overlook!
On the way to the top, you'll hike through lush forest with ferns and moss growing on all sides. Maple and alder trees mix with Douglas-fir and redcedar and add a splash of color in the autumn. Wildflowers like False Solomon's Seal, foamflower, violets, and many others line the trail in spring.Multnomah Falls is spectacular year round, but go in winter or early spring to see the highest water flow.