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Multnomah/Wahkeena Falls, A TrailDudes Hiking Guide

Updated on May 13, 2013

A Platform View

Our feet were solid against the concrete as we stood looking up in awe at the white wall of water cascading over the rigid rock. A stone building to our right provided patrons with information and fine dining at the Multnomah Falls lodge. After snapping a few photos, we began our ascent on the paved switchbacks. People were cheery as we passed by them; men, women, and children alike. There were couples and families, singles and friends and groups of friends, all there to witness the lush scenery and sense the raging waters.

Quick Facts

Multnomah Falls

Height: ~620 feet

Trail Distance: 4.9 miles

Fun Facts:

1. The bridge crossing the lower tier of Multnomah Falls (the Benson Bridge) was built by Italian Stonemasons

2. The Multnomah Falls Lodge includes a high-end restaurant, coffee stands, and visitor's information.

Wahkeena Falls:

Height: ~242 feet

Fun Facts: The name of this waterfall comes from a Native American phrase meaning "most beautiful."

Cute Hikers Ahead!

As we climbed, we were privy to vast-reaching views of the Columbia River Gorge. Each turn gave us a unique perspective at the water over Multnomah, with plenty of extras on the side to catch our eyes. Many others made their way up the hillside with us including a couple from the area, who were happy to be off the couch and in the wilderness, a happy trio all the way from San Francisco, and a Washington bombshell with her little dog. We were able to get them to tell us about their journeys on video. See their interviews on the video guide at the end of this hub.

Into the Forest

The real adventure came, however, when we walked off the beaten path. It seemed that a new waterfall appeared every few hundred feet, and the sights were unlike anything I've before experienced. Detouring from the loop a little, we were able to catch a cave on camera inviting us in from the far side of a waterfall. As we stood overlooking the image, we felt like opportune explorers witnessing a virgin earth, untarnished by the human hand.

Continuing on the trail we were graced with another fall which TJ dubbed "Mini Niagra" as he talked about how it was well worth missing Judge Judy to witness natures marvels in the hills of Multnomah County. A river on its way to the edge flowed freely over rocks grown green with vegetation. We pushed forward ducking under logs and crossing small streams left by small falls until reaching a fork in the road.

Wahkeena and It's Travelers

We crossed a bridge over another picturesque view before realizing we were headed up the Larch Mountain Trail, or in other words, the wrong way. Retracing our steps, we again found our original loop. Though the waterfalls came fewer and further between as we paced toward Wahkeena, the fog in the trees made us feel like we were in a haunted movie.

The path began to slip downward again and we could see Wahkeena Falls and an old stone bridge. Then came the half-mile hike to the lodge to close the loop where the falls became trickles over mossy boulders. The path narrowed and we walked single file toward the lodge where we began, now tired and sweating and sore. There at the point where the path met the pavement, two bodies moved toward us; a young boy and his mother, just beginning their journey up the mountain.

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Hikers and Tourists

This is the fall where hikers and tourists collide. We hope that some of you are also sharers, meaning you'll tell us how you liked the hike, and give us insight into your unique Multnomah Falls adventure. Leave a comment below!

Trail Part 1

Trail Part 2

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The spring sun peering through trees in the forest.Multnomah Falls and the rail we saw it from.Wahkeena Falls from the old stone bridge.Another shot of the sun peering through the wooded forest.the full view of Wahkeena Falls from the top to the bottom.
The spring sun peering through trees in the forest.
The spring sun peering through trees in the forest.
Multnomah Falls and the rail we saw it from.
Multnomah Falls and the rail we saw it from.
Wahkeena Falls from the old stone bridge.
Wahkeena Falls from the old stone bridge.
Another shot of the sun peering through the wooded forest.
Another shot of the sun peering through the wooded forest.
the full view of Wahkeena Falls from the top to the bottom.
the full view of Wahkeena Falls from the top to the bottom.
A markerMultnomah Falls, OR -
Multnomah Falls, Mt. Hood National Forest, Oregon 97014, USA
get directions

Multnomah Falls is perhaps the most famous of the falls in the Columbia River Gorge.

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    • traildudes profile image
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      traildudes 4 years ago from Portland, OR

      Enjoy the full video from our hike at the top of this hub! Keep watching for the addition of part 2.

    • traildudes profile image
      Author

      traildudes 4 years ago from Portland, OR

      There you have it, Episode 1 and 2 ready for your viewing pleasure

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