Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is located along the impressive Columbia River Gorge east of Portland. It draws more than 2 million annual visitors who explore its majestic backdrop in detail. Sitting at more than 600 feet, the staggering height and beauty of Multnomah Falls Park makes the waterfall one of the largest attractions in Oregon and a major stop during vacations in northern Oregon. The falls are the second highest in all of the United States, and, surrounded by plenty of green space that presents plenty of spots to view the icy, natural wonder.

Camping near Multnomah Falls offers an opportunity to spend a few days exploring the falls and the surrounding area. The lodge at the base of the falls also presents ample chance to learn more about Multnomah Falls history and the legend behind the majestic waters. Native American legend says the falls were established to win over a youthful princess seeking out a clandestine spot where she could bathe. To see both of the falls' tiers, head to the waterfall viewing spot situated in a chiseled rock face in front. The viewing area presents a magnificent spectacle—a view up the craggy, carved-out areas of the abrupt cliffs where an awe-inspiring scene of plummeting water gives a good idea of the incredible height of the Multnomah Falls.

Benson Bridge, which is depicted in many photographs of Multnomah Falls Park, presents ample, close-up looks at the stunning falls. It is named after Simon Benson who once owned the mighty falls back in the early 1900s. Multnomah Park Falls was donated to Portland after Benson’s death many decades later. The bridge is reached by hiking a few extra hundred feet along a paved path that is accessible to most hikers. Benson Bridge crosses the first tier of Multnomah Falls where visitors are embraced in the misty air created by the crashing water. The top tier is easily visible from Benson Bridge, which is also a great a spot to see the 70-foot drop of the waterfall’s second level.

Camping near Multnomah Falls is possible at Ainsworth State Park, one of Oregon’s exceptional state parks, and one that is set adjacent to Columbia River Gorge. This means kayaking, swimming, canoeing, rafting, and other water-related activities are readily available to campers. Camping near Multnomah Falls at Ainsworth also means access to 45 excellent camp sites with a thick canopy of trees overhead. Showers, flush toilets, an amphitheater for special events, and firewood are all available.

Anyone planning a stay near Multnomah Falls Park will have extra time to explore other nearby attractions. Multnomah Falls Lodge is a historic base built in 1925. Its purpose is to offer the best vantage point of the Columbia River Gorge and the falls, and offer dining and a chance to shop for souvenirs. The onsite US Forest Service Information Center offers visitor maps to better traverse the network of trails. Out in front of the lodge, during the summer, ice cream, sodas, coffee, and other snacks are sold through vendors.

Two points of interest accessible from Multnomah Falls include a steep hiking path leading off from Benson Bridge. The path leads skyward to an incredible point where the best views of Columbia River Gorge are found—though keep in mind the path can get slick so it’s not appropriate for small kids. From the lodge, directional signs offer route to Wahkeena Falls, another beautiful sight only a half-mile from Multnomah. The trail spans a mile and gets steep in parts but the panoramas—along with the wildflowers and few people—are well worth the added work.

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