We visited Multnomah Falls in the end of April (2017). It was a short 45min ride from Portland. We were fortunate to land a clear day as typically that time of year is considered the rainy season in Pacific Northwest. It was very cool to check the area out during that time. The green signs of life were retuning back to the forest. The hike started out pretty much at the base of the falls. It was extremely misty at the base, so if it is cold out I would recommend taking a jacket. The base felt 20 degrees colder than the parking lot which was only a short distance away. The hike up to the top was a pretty moderate hike, however it can be slippery which makes it more challenging at times. It is bit noisy at the base of the falls when you consider being just off the interstate, the touring crowds, and the roar of the falls itself. But once you’re at the top, all you can hear is the falling water!
Multnomah Falls is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest with more than 2 million stopping by each year to take in the views! Fed by underground springs from Larch Mountain, the flow over the falls varies, but is usually highest during winter and spring. This is also one of the best places in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to study geology exposed by floods.
The Multnomah Falls Lodge, which is run by a concessionaire, is well maintained with bathrooms, a visitor
center, snack bar, and a restaurant that is fully ADA accessible. The visitor information area within the lodge is jointly staffed by Friends of Multnomah Falls and the U.S. Forest Service. Offerings include a free simple trail map and free brochures about Multnomah Falls in multiple languages. Books, detailed maps of the Columbia River Gorge & Pacific Northwest, and Northwest Forest Passes are also available for purchase.
From the information center, visitors can follow a steep paved trail to Benson Bridge, which spans the upper and lower falls. From there, Larch Mountain Trail climbs a series of switchbacks rising 600 feet to the top of Multnomah Falls. The hike from the lodge to the upper overlook is 1.2 miles, so bring water and wear proper footwear. From the upper overlook, the trail, which is no longer paved, continues up its namesake, Larch Mountain, which is also the highest peak within the Scenic Area boundaries. Adventurers who journey past the top of the falls can create several loop hikes with area trails, but should be prepared with an up to date map detailing topography, and the 10 hiking essentials.
The trail that starts at the base of Multnomah Falls is actually Larch Mountain Trail, which continues to the top of Larch Mountain, creating the potentially for a backpacking trip. Please consider whether you have the proper footwear and the 10 hiking essentials before continuing onwards after the bridge.
One of the most popular hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. From the Multnomah Falls visitor center, a steep trail climbs to cross the historic Benson Bridge. Beyond the bridge those seeking a more rigorous experience can continue to the top of the cliff and take a short spur trail to a small viewing area at the very top of the falls. The total distance to the top of the falls and back is 2.4 miles, making this a great day hike. Hikers up for a longer climb can continue on Larch Mountain Trail for six miles to the top of Larch Mountain. Please consider whether you have the proper footwear and the 10 hiking essentials before continuing onwards after the bridge.
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