Multnomah Falls is a waterfall on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge, located east of Troutdale, between Corbett and Dodson, along the Historic Columbia River Highway. A waterfall as magnificent and memorable as any in the country is located just a 30- minute drive outside of Portland. Visiting Multnomah Falls, a 611-foot-tall roaring, awe-inspiring cascade of icy water, lets you experience the power and beauty of nature up close and with ease.
The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet (165 m) and a lower falls of 69 feet (21 m), with a gradual 9 foot (3 m) drop in elevation between the two, so the total height of the waterfall is conventionally given as 620 feet (189 m). Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in the State of Oregon. It is credited by a sign at the site of the falls as the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States but that claim is debated among waterfall experts.
A foot trail leads to Benson Footbridge, a 45-foot (14 m)-long footbridge that allows visitors to cross 105 feet (32 m) above the lower cascade. The trail continues to a platform at the top of the upper falls where visitors get a bird’s-eye view of the Columbia Gorge and also of “Little Multnomah”, a small cascade slightly upstream from the “upper” falls, which is not visible from ground level. Standing on the bridge you have a perfect view of the top tier’s full 542-foot height and a knee-wobbling vantage point over the second tier’s 69-foot drop!
Underground springs from Larch Mountain are the year-round source of water for the waterfall, augmented by spring runoff from the mountain’s snowpack and rainwater during the other seasons. To make the outing complete, visit the Multnomah Falls Lodge which was built in 1925 to serve throngs of tourists who came to view the spectacular sights of the Columbia Gorge. During the summer months vendors offer ice cream, coffee, sodas and other quick snacks from booths and carts in front of the lodge.