How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike!

Along with the towering & impressive Mt. Hood, Multnomah Falls is one of Oregon’s most iconic images.  Visitors come from all over the world to see these staggeringly tall falls, & as you’d expect, the Multnomah Falls hike is on most people’s bucket lists as well making it one of Oregon’s most crowded & popular hikes.  In this post, I’ll tell you exactly how to get to Multnomah Falls hike ~ & if it’s worth the crowds or not!

So, let’s get right to it: is it worth it?  My take: you’ve got to do the hike at least once ~ but as an Oregon resident, it’s not my choice for a repeat hike unless you like crowds.  It’s also not my favorite hike for dogs, as they’re required to be on leash.  But, don’t let me dissuade you from going!  Especially if you’re visiting Oregon , you need to at least drive by & see the Falls.  Getting to the top requires a bit more effort & dealing with crowds, but you’ll be rewarded with this view…

How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike, Great Oregon Hikes, Girl Who Travels the World

View from the top of Multnomah Falls.

Eagle Creek Fire Update

Unfortunately, the devastating Eagle Creek Fire that occurred in the Columbia River Gorge on September 2nd, 2017, affected the Multnomah Falls area, & the Multnomah Falls hike is currently CLOSED.  It is expected to re-open in Summer 2018.  For complete info on trail closures, visit the Gorge Friends website HERE.

How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike!

Multnomah Falls

Directions to Multnomah Falls

Directions from Downtown Portland

Distance from Portland: 30 miles

  • Take I-84 East for 26 miles
  • Take Exit 28 toward Bridal Veil, Historic Columbia River Hwy
  • Continue Straight on E. Historic Columbia River Hwy
  • In 3.6 miles, Prepare to Park in Multnomah Falls Parking Lot
  • Park car & head towards Multnomah Falls Trailhead

Multnomah Falls Hike Info

  • Starting Point: Multnomah Falls Lodge/Trailhead
  • Total Hike Distance: 2.4 miles round-trip
  • Hike Type: Out-and-back
  • Difficulty: Moderate, steep at end, on paved road
  • Time: 1-2 hours
  • Elevation Gain: 870 feet
  • Pet-friendly: On leash only
  • Kid-friendly: Yes
  • Good for Trail-Running: No, too many people
  • Crowded: Yes, very
  • Best Time to Go: Give it a try in winter & miss some of the crowds
  • All Seasons? Yes

Multnomah Falls Hike Photos

 In winter, the falls are as spectacular as in summer (take a look at the photo below), when they look like a thundering frozen column surrounded by wintry landscape.  The falls are visible from the highway, & after parking in the large parking lot, a quick walk takes you to the base of the falls, next to Multnomah Falls Lodge.  From there, you’ll see that there are really three falls: upper, main, & lower falls.  You’ll also see Benson Bridge, which is just a quick, 0.2 mile walk on a paved road.  

Completing the entire trail is a bit longer & quite a bit steeper, but only 2.4 miles round-trip ~ with 11 switchbacks & a turn-off for Larch Mountain hike.  Crowds thin out slightly as you get higher, so you’ll be able to get some great shots of the falls.  But the best part?  Heading back down for a refreshment at the lodge ~ or in winter, a Spanish Coffee.  

How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike, Great Oregon Hikes, Girl Who Travels the World

It’s worth the drive to see Multnomah Falls in winter.

How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike, Great Oregon Hikes, Girl Who Travels the World


How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike, Great Oregon Hikes, Girl Who Travels the World

The first part of Multnomah Falls hike is a gentle incline, then gets steeper as you go.

Where to Stay & Drink!

Great Oregon Hikes, Angel's Rest Hike, McMenamins

Best place to stop & get a drink? McMenamins Edgefield.

The best place to grab a drink after Multnomah Falls is of course, the Multnomah Falls Lodge.  Built in 1925, it has loads of historic charm, great teas, coffee, & all kinds of adult beverages.  If you’d rather head back towards Portland, stop at the classic Oregon hotel, McMenamins Edgefield, in Troutdale, OR.  It’s located right off I-84, & has a spa, golf course, several restaurants, a brewery, huge porch, & plenty of Oregon quirkiness.  In the summer, there’s no better place to be ~ they host concerts on their huge lawn nearly every weekend.  

Another option is to keep going north & spend the weekend in Hood River, especially in the summer.  Hood River is one of the best wind-surfing spots in the country, & is a charming town filled with cute breweries & wineries.  For some luxury in Hood River, try the Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel, or click here to check out all Hood River accommodations.  

Great Hikes Nearby!

The Columbia River Gorge is FULL of amazing hikes ~ for a more complete list, click here.  If Multnomah Falls is too crowded, try Angel’s Rest, Horsetail Falls, or Wahkeena Falls.  If it’s summertime & you want to cool down, Oneonta Gorge or Horsetail will do the trick.  For serious hikers wanting a longer, more challenging climb ~ take the turn-off for Larch Mountain.  Larch is an intense, 14-mile climb that starts at Multnomah Falls & ends with one of the best views in the Gorge. 

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How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike ~ Gear!

How to Get to Multnomah Falls Hike!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short post on how to get to Multnomah Falls hike.  My goal is always to help people get outside more & enjoy life’s adventures ~ & Oregon & the Columbia River Gorge are outstanding places to have a thousand adventures.  Have you been to Multnomah Falls?  What are your favorite & least favorite things about this hike ~ & did you take your dog? 

Happy Adventuring! 

xoxo Noelia 

Read Next: Great Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge!


“60 Hikes!”

If you love hiking in Oregon, then GET this book by Paul Gerald: “60 Hikes Within 60 Miles of Portland.”  My copy is highlighted & dog-eared galore ~ & there’s no doubt that this one, $13 purchase got me out having more adventures than anything else.  Book gives detailed trail directions for each hike, & categorizes them, so that you can pick the best hike for each season/mood.  Get it & start having adventures!

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Noelle Bertram is a restaurant owner, former fitness coach, Huffington Post writer, & all-around entrepreneur who travels full-time now & writes all about it! Catch up with her on Instagram or @ her website about being the ultimate, fearless travel girl:
Why I Use World Nomads Travel Insurance

Whenever I travel ~ especially if I’m traveling solo, I always get travel insurance.  It gives me the peace of mind to go out and have all kinds of adventures, because I know someone’s got my back.  Who do I use? World Nomads. They cover you whether you’re sky-diving, spelunking, or hiking in the Columbia Gorge: they’re not your average insurance company.  Read more about travel insurance here.

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