Multnomah Falls, just east of Portland off I-84 (also accessible from the Historic Columbia River Highway) is a top visitor destination. Although it is only one of the waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge, it is the most well known.
The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet and a lower falls of 69 feet, with a gradual 9 foot drop in elevation between the two. The total height of the waterfall is listed as 620 feet. Beautiful Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon.
It is best to go early in the day or on a weekday. During peak tourist season, the parking lots can get rather crowded on weekends. The falls are beautiful in any season. In the winter, if you are lucky, you can see the falls iced over.
There are several ways to see the falls, based on your activity level. Of course you can visit from the base and take a photo of the double falls. Most take a short hike along an asphalt path to the bridge spanning the falls. This is the bridge seen in most photos. When you are there be sure and look for the huge boulder in the pool. On Labor Day in September 1995 a 400-ton boulder, loosened by erosion, fell 225 feet from the face of the falls into the upper pool.
But to get a true sense of the majesty of Multnomah Falls, take an hour and hike the well-maintained trails to the top. There are switchbacks and the hike is up, up, up…. but it is well worth the climb to walk out onto the observation deck and look down as the falls go over the edge of the mountain. You can walk along the creek, the source of the falls. Interestingly, it is not a large creek that feeds these beautiful falls. The descent takes much less time than the walk up.
Be sure and stop in to the well-stocked gift shop and bookstore at the base of the falls. There is a restaurant at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge as well.