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Multnomah Falls: America's Greatest Waterfall

Updated on October 2, 2014
Multnomah Falls Bridge
Multnomah Falls Bridge

Put this one under the 'places worth visiting' banner. Add in the fact the attraction is free and it makes it a must see for the American traveler.

Legend has it that years ago a sickness fell upon a native American tribe. An illness that threatened to wipe out all the warriors that protected and provided for the people. The only way to break this curse was for the tribe to sacrifice one of their daughters off a large cliff that overlooked a great river.

The tribe chiefs decided against this because of the huge price to be paid. One of the elder's daughters was deeply in love with a warrior who had fallen ill with the sickness and was thought to be dying. This woman took it upon herself to fulfill the prophecy and leaped to her death.

Immediately the men of the tribe began to recover to full health. The elders declared that from that point on a great monument to her sacrifice would be made and a great waterfall appeared over that spot. The mighty Multnomah Falls was created.

Greatest Waterfall

What do you consider 'America's Greatest Waterfall'?

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This incredible natural beauty is located in the Columbia River Gorge outside of Portland, OR. While it will take about a half hour to drive to the Falls from the city, the trip goes by quickly due to the incredible scenery along the way. On your left you will take in breathtaking views of the mighty Columbia River as it rushes to the Pacific. If lucky and it is a clear day, ahead of you and to the right you will see Mount Hood, a dormant volcano that sports snow on it's peaks year round.

As you approach Multnomah Falls from the road you will be amazed at it's height and beauty. What you don't realize is that you are only seeing half of the falls. There is a top and a bottom section, the latter of which you will not see until you take the short walk into the National Scenic Area.

Once you turn the corner to get to the Falls, you will instantly notice the drop in temperature that accompanies the Falls. The mist from the water vapor can take the thermometer down about ten degrees or more. A light jacket is recommended even on some Summer days.

Note the parking lot below.
Note the parking lot below.

There is a bridge between the Falls that you can stand on after taking a short walk up a paved path. It is definitely worth it to see the awesomeness of this natural wonder. For those who are more adventurous, you can walk up to the top of the Falls to a platform which looks down. This hike can take up to a half hour depending on your physical fitness level. You will wind back and forth up the steep hillside as you overlook the Columbia River to the North.

The platform on the top will allow you to look down on the bridge and parking lots below. People will look like the proverbial ants as you are higher up than it would seem. The stream that feeds the Falls seems insignificant compared to how mighty the waterfall appears.

I highly doubt anyone who takes the time to see Multnomah Falls will regret their decision. It is one of the most beautiful natural areas in America

A few travel tips.

There are limited parking spaces. Avoid the high profile dates and times if you want to guarantee yourself parking and good pictures. If too busy it is hard to get that once in a lifetime picture of you in front of the Falls.

From the West you will arrive at the main parking lot first, which will most likely be filled. Continue on and you will be able to go underneath the highway to another parking lot on the other side.

There are restrooms, along with food and beverages available. Prices are reasonable.

No fee is charged to enjoy this area.

If your camera allows it, change to a longer shutter speed which will give the waterfall a more highlighted and cascading effect.

multnomah falls, or:
Multnomah Falls, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon, USA

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    • susi10 profile image

      Susan W 

      4 years ago from The British Isles, Europe

      Welcome to HubPages! :-)

      Thanks for providing all the info on this magnificent waterfall, I love the photography too. It is definitely worth a visit for me some day. Great job.


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