North America, United States
Multnomah Falls, with its height of 620 feet, is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and a truly magnificent sight.
This two tier waterfall is located approximately 48 kilometres from Portland along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Unlike many other famous waterfalls, Multnomah Falls can be visited all year round thanks to its constant stream of water from rainfall, an underground spring and snow melt.
Visiting Multnomah Falls is easy – from the parking area it is only a five minute walk to the base of the falls where visitors can appreciate the power and beauty of this waterfall up close. Many visitors choose to see the waterfall from a few different angles by heading to the popular viewing areas. The lower of these has been carved into the rock face of the waterfall’s surrounding cliffs and enables visitors to see both tiers of the waterfall. If visitors keep going along the trail they will reach Benson Bridge, which spans the falls at the base of the first tier and which provide visitors with truly incredible views and photo opportunities! Benson Bridge was named after Simon Benson, a businessman in Portland, who owned part of the falls in the early 1990s before giving them to the City of Portland. The falls are now owned by the USDA Forest Service. From the bridge visitors can, if they choose, keep hiking for another mile to reach the top of the falls from where they can see the Colombia Gorge. This is a steep and uneven path, however, and should only be attempted by those with good levels of physical fitness.
Too often places of natural beauty are restricted to those of us with no accessibility issues, making it difficult for families with small children, wheelchair users or people with other physical disabilities to enjoy. Whilst some sections of Multnomah Falls, such as the final hike mentioned above, enter this category, there are viewing platforms which are both wheelchair and pushchair friendly, enabling access for a wider range of visitors.
No visit to Multnomah Falls would be complete without dropping in to Multnomah Falls Lodge. This historic structure was built back in 1925 and today houses a restaurant, a gift shop and a US Forest Service Information Centre. It is also another great spot (there are so many!) from where to appreciate views of the waterfall.
Whatever time of year you visit Multnomah Falls, make sure you wear sensible shoes and wrap up warmly as the constant spray from the waterfall means it tends to be pretty cool and wet all year round here.
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