Multnomah Falls is considered the tallest waterfall in Oregon with its two separate plunges combined, and it's truly a sight to behold. Just up the road is another very impressive set of falls in Wahkeena. Use the 5-mile loop trail connector and witness both of these stunning falls.
With combined drops cited at 630 feet, Multnomah Falls is often billed as the tallest waterfall in Oregon. Just up the road from Multnomah Falls is the much less heralded Wahkeena Falls. If Wahkeena were located anywhere else in Oregon it would be a stand alone attraction. What you miss from the road however, is everything above both of these falls. As it happens, you can visit both falls, as well as more than four other named cascades by hiking the classic Wahkeena-Multnomah Falls loop.
What Makes It Great
The hike described here starts at Multnomah Falls on the Return Trail #442 that is on the west end of the parking lot to the right of the lodge. In a half mile, you will reach Wahkeena Falls and the Wahkeena Trail #420. The trail climbs steeply through some switchbacks until you get to a lookout called Lemmon’s Viewpoint, which allows you a sweeping view of the gorge. The trail turns to dirt here and enters the beautiful Wahkeena Canyon. You continue climbing and you will reach Fairy Falls where there is a great bench to take a break on and enjoy the view and sound of those falls. After Fairy Falls, you will reach a junction with the Vista Point Trail #419, but you should stay right for trail #420.
Continue on the main trail until you reach a junction with the Angel’s Rest Trail, where you should again stay straight on the main trail. This is where you stop climbing for the most part and hike to the Larch Mountain Trail #441, where you will take a left. On this trail, you will pass many, many waterfalls. Once you hit pavement again, you will reach a junction for the Multnomah Falls Upper Viewpoint, which is a short jaunt for a unique view of the falls. Return back the way you came to the main trail and go left back down to Multnomah Falls.
Yes, there are busloads of tourists in summer, and sure, it's a mob scene close to the falls almost anytime of year. But as is the case with many trails in the area, once the pavement ends, the crowds thin out considerably. The trail itself is 5-miles long and gains about 1,600 feet in elevation. It's moderately difficult, family friendly, and highly worthwhile.
For a delicious food and drink option, try The Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant, which offers delicious northwest-style cuisine. Alternately, the snack bar onsite has hot dogs, soft drinks, and ice cream.
Who is Going to Love It
Because of the gorgeous views and seemingly endless number of waterfalls, there is something for everyone to enjoy on this trail. The steep hiking during the first half would be challenging to an inexperienced hiker. For an intermediate or experienced hiker, this hike is well worth the effort to see the incredible number of beautiful waterfalls.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to the Multnomah Falls Trailhead, take I-84 east to exit 28 for Bridal Veil and drive east on the historic highway. The parking area will be on your left and the trailhead across the street.