Dan and Hannah Hike Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

mult col river gorge map

Over the past week in the northwest in early August, Hannah and I have been to Mount St. Helens in Washington and Crater Lake in southwestern Oregon.  And yet it’s today’s hike on the Columbia River Gorge that is the most spectacular.

MULT 1 SIGN

Multnomah Falls lies some thirty miles east of Portland, OR along I-84.  It’s a perfect location for the last hike of our vacation in the Northwest since we leave from Portland (PDX) tonight at 11P on a red eye non-stop flight to Boston, MA.

MULT 23 CROWD AT MF BRIDGE

With such easy access, the falls are mobbed on this first Thursday in August.  Mobbed is no hyperbole.  It’s Disney World during school vacation crazy; it’s Jersey shore in August nuts.  At the base of the falls we step around tourists to view the falls in the distance.  The good news is that 99% of the throng has no interest in hiking the Multnomah loop trail with us.  I guess, in this case, we are the 1%.

The Multnomah Falls Loop Trail

The Multnomah Falls Loop Trail

Beginning by walking  for 100 yards west along Oregon state highway 30, we soon step into the forest and climb the rocky trail towards Wakeena Falls.

The Multnomah Loop Trail begins

The Multnomah Loop Trail begins

And just like that we are up and away from the crowds.

At the start the trail parallels State route 30

At the start the trail parallels State route 30

Our loop hike will go from Wakeena Falls to Devil’s Rest and back by Multnomah Falls today; it will take nearly four hours over some nine miles of mountainside hiking.

In another 0.4 of a mile we are at the Wakeena Falls, which both fortunately and unfortunately, has a parking area nearby.

MULT 6 WAKEENA SIGN

As such, the crowds return.  And that’s fine.  There’s a fiesta buzz to the air.  We remember that this natural wonder is not only for the uber-fit and half-crazed hikers.

Wakeena Falls

Wakeena Falls

The spectacular falls are just the first taste of the five falls we will see today.  Enjoy this 26 second video of Wakeena Falls.

Once we leave Wakeena Falls, the crowds disappear again.  We resume our loop hike heading for Fairy Falls, our next aquatic attraction.

Multnomah Falls Trail Map

Multnomah Falls Trail Map

In short order we are high above the Columbia River

Columbia River

Columbia River

The trail is a pleasing and certainly demanding set of switchbacks shaded by the summer forest.

Another 0.8 of a mile we come to Fairy Falls.

Fairy Falls along the Columbia River Gorge

Fairy Falls along the Columbia River Gorge

Mother Nature has presented us with another natural gift.  Check out this 37 second video of Fairy Falls.

The loop trail climbs through a rain forest of dense growth.  These summer months are the dry ones here in Oregon.  Come October, they will get the rain that they are known for and it will last til spring.

Water falls across our trail

Water falls across our trail

Though not often, but regularly enough, we catch a glimpse of the Interstate 84 below us.

I-84 heading East

I-84 heading East

Still just 3P in the afternoon and having hiked three miles up the mountain, we choose to hike on another 1.6 miles to the Devil’s Rest viewpoint at 2400 feet.

It turns out the trail is dirt packed and easy on our feet with convenient switchbacks to take us up to Columbia River vista.

Two hours in, we hike back onto the Multnomah Falls loop and head for Ercola Falls.

Ercola Falls

Ercola Falls

After two miles of hiking, we pick up other trail loopers at Ercola Falls.

Descending to Multnomah Falls

Descending to Multnomah Falls

The trail remains rocky, but it’s all downhill from here.  And then the crowds pick up; soon the trail is paved and leading to a view from the top of Multnomah Falls.  The back and forth switchbacks allow many to scale this mountain side facing the Columbia River Gorge.

Cool, cool, cool

Cool, cool, cool

When on a hike, if at all possible, hike with someone who is cool.  Shades make this woman.

After nearly four hours of hiking we arrive back at Multnomah Falls

After nearly four hours of hiking we arrive back at Multnomah Falls

We are now asking sightseers to wait just a minute as we snap the multi-wonderous Multnomah Falls.

A tad weary we sip red wine from our water bottles at the stone patio as the base of the falls.  We are not in a hurry to have our vacation end any time soon.

Journey's End

Journey’s End

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One thought on “Dan and Hannah Hike Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

  1. Love those Falls! I was there on a late Oct. day — the rains had begun, except
    for on this ONE day — only misty — not hikers, we only walked and “snapped”
    lots & lots of pics!!

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