The Multnomah Falls hike is one of the most memorable hikes near Hood River. Fitting that it’s also one of the most visited waterfalls in all of the Pacific Northwest. Every year, more than two and a half million people come to get a glimpse of the 620-foot landmark, its roaring icy waters cascading down mossy basalt cliffs. The Multnomah Falls hike is located within the Columbia Gorge Area and is only about a half hour’s drive from downtown Hood River.
Multnomah Falls is a four seasons waterfall. It’s fed year-round by rainwater and snowmelt, as well as an underground spring. So whatever time of year you plan your trip to Hood River, Oregon, the Multnomah Falls hike is a perfect addition to your itinerary. It’s a quintessential Pacific Northwest activity for all levels of hiking acumen and can be enjoyed in rain, shine or even snow.
When you stay at our Hood River Bed and Breakfast, you’ll only be a 30-minute drive from the Multnomah Falls hike. The route takes you along the scenic historic highway of the Gorge, skirting the Columbia River, weaving you in and out of forests and dappled light. You’ll spot the falls from your car window, but you won’t truly understand its natural beauty until you’re standing in its majestic shadow. Start planning your vacation to Hood River today and book your room!
6 Reasons to Add the Multnomah Falls Hike to your Itinerary
Since the Multnomah Falls hike is a very popular attraction, it’s good to head that way early in the day if you’re looking to avoid any crowds. Thankfully, for those who are avid hikers, once you’ve taken in the beauty of the falls, you can head out into the expansive Gorge for quiet seclusion immersed in the Pacific Northwest wilderness.
Here are a few things to know about the Multnomah Falls hike and surrounding area before you go:
- Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in all of Oregon State, clocking in at 620-feet. Its icy Multnomah Creek waters span two tiers, creating an upper and lower falls area. The falls can be spotted from the highway and will be the first thing you see as you enter by the parking area at the Multnomah Falls Lodge.
- The Benson Bridge, built in 1914 by Simon Benson, a Portland financier, is one of the most photographed landmarks in Oregon. Connecting the two cascades of the falls, it’s the absolute best spot to take in the view looking up the 600 plus feet of the falls. It’s also a lovely vantage point to look down at the lower pool.
- Make sure to pack accordingly, the temperate climate and mist makes for cooler temperatures (even in the summer) and the spray drifting off of the falls can send an icy chill.
- The Multnomah Falls hike is 2.4 miles round trip and consists of the lower and upper areas. The first 0.2 miles of the trail is an easy stroll and within five minutes from your car. The first part of this trail is considerably low effort for the pay off to see the vast beauty of the falls from the footbridge.
- The next mile of the upper trail to the top of the waterfall is considered a bit more difficult, as it’s fairly steep, but well worth the panoramic views of the Columbia Gorge. The paved trail has a number of switchbacks, some with offshoots onto other longer trails that take you deeper into the rugged wilderness.
- For the more experienced hikers there are miles and miles of trails to explore here. At the first switchback on the Multnomah Falls hike, you could pop off on a much longer 14.4 mile hike on the Larch Mountain Gorge Trail. This trail takes you along rugged terrain beside (and through) Multnomah Creek and includes three more spectacular waterfalls in the woods—Dutchman, Wiesendanger, and Ecola Falls.
- At the base of the falls is the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge and Restaurant. Built in 1925 from native Cascadian stones and timber from the Columbia Gorge, the Lodge houses a gift shop for Northwest-centric souvenirs, snack stop, coffee cart, and full scale restaurant serving breakfast and lunch. Don’t miss an Oregon favorite: the smoked salmon melt!
For those who would like to make hiking the focus of their stay in Hood River, here’s a curated list with hikes nearby that are worth your time and vary in length and difficulty.
The Best Hood River Lodging to Rest, Relax, and Retreat
Before you head out to the Multnomah Falls hike, allow us to take care of your morning meal! Our fresh breakfasts are provided by Farm Stand with local, seasonal ingredients. We also provide pastries and coffee from other small businesses in Hood River. Feel free to enjoy these items in any of our common areas (indoor or out) or we’d be more than happy to pack up a picnic for you to take on the road for your hike in the Gorge.
Upon your return, you’ll find our modern and well-appointed guest rooms are the perfect respite after a long day in the woods. And even better? Take a soak in our hot tub in our secluded backyard. Due to the size of our Hood River Inn, you’ll often have the space all to yourselves and it’s the best place for a nightcap. Your next vacation in Hood River is waiting for you, come join us at the Inn at the Gorge and book your room today!