Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge

The view of the Columbia River from Angel's Rest.
The view of the Columbia River from Angel’s Rest.

While visiting Portland, Oregon with Adam’s parents, Joe and Kathy, we took a great day trip out to the Columbia River Gorge for a ~9 mile loop through the forest, past waterfalls, and ending at a scenic overlook, Angel’s Rest.

Made it!
Made it! All smiles at the top.

CRG_SmallFallsThe Park: Multnomah Falls is just 30 miles from Portland. The waterfalls and overlooks are the most notable aspects of this park, but the well-marked trails through the lush greenery were also very enjoyable. The park is a FREE national scenic area. 

We saw some wildlife on the trail, but the chipmunk and snake were too fast for my camera.
We saw some wildlife on the trail, but the chipmunk and snake were too fast for my camera. This guy couldn’t quite escape.

Grab the one sheet paper map at the Lodge when you arrive, and take your pick of varying length hikes, from just a few hundred yards to more than 10 miles. On the summer Tuesday when we were there, the base of the Multnomah Falls and 1.3 mile hike to the top were moderately crowded, but after that point, the crowds thinned out substantially. Here’s a link to the map and another hiking description.

You can’t camp in the park, but there are campgrounds nearby in the Columbia River Gorge Area.

We saw a rainbow of beautiful wildflowers along the trail.




The Story: 

Multnomah Falls from the base.
Multnomah Falls from the base.

Since Adam’s parents were in to experience the Ogre lifestyle for a day, we chose a hiking spot not far from downtown Portland, where we were staying. Multnomah Falls has been recommended to us multiple times by locals and tourists, and it has hiking options of varying lengths, which was exactly what we wanted. We started on the trail not knowing how far we’d go, but ended up enjoying the hike and scenery so much that we were out there for 5 hours and 9 miles.

We took exit 31 off Interstate 84, parked across the highway from the Multnomah Falls Lodge, and then took the pedestrian underpass to the lodge and the base of the falls. From there, we hiked just over a mile to the Falls Overlook, on a mostly paved path. While impressive, the overlook gives a better view of the Columbia River and the parking lot than of the falls.

At the Multnomah Falls Overlook.
At the Multnomah Falls Overlook.

From there, we wound our way up to Angel’s Rest via Trails 441, 420, and 400 / 415. We passed waterfalls all along the way, including the Dutchman falls, the Weisendanger Falls, Ecola Falls and Wahkeena Springs. The total mileage from the Multnomah Falls Overlook is about 4.4 miles. It took us about 3 hours all in to get from the car to the overlook, including a snack stop and a few pauses for photos.

An American on Dutchman Falls.

On the way down, we backtracked to Wahkeena Springs, then took trail 400 / 420 down to the fairy Falls, and continued down to the Wahkeena Falls. The last 0.6 miles of the trail is a path paralleling a road and parking lot, but it’s flat and easily gets you back to the lodge, where there are restrooms and a snack bar. The way down was only ~4.1 miles and it went a bit faster than the way up.

There were waterfalls all over the trail, and we passed these on the way back down.

Here’s the rest of the photo roll:

Sitting pretty.


Adam and his mom.


One thought on “Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge”

  1. Adam’s beard is starting to look like a waterfall…
    Great photos…can’t wait to visit there someday.

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