- Rating: Moderate
- Activity: Hike
- Distance: 5.4 miles
The carnivalesque atmosphere at Multnomah Falls precludes hikers from silent contemplations of the water’s 620-foot, two-tiered descent, but climb the paved trail to the top of the falls (past clumps of tourists catching their breath) and you’ll discover that where the pavement ends, so do the crowds.
ROUTE: Total elevation gain on this 5.4 mile hike is 1,700 feet. Have a quick look over the top-of-the-falls viewing platform and then backtrack to the junction with the Larch Mountain Trail, which follows the banks of marvelous Multnomah Creek, whose waters alternately rush over boulders sprouting with plants and churn in white pools. You’ll pass Ecola and Weisendanger Falls along the way; what they lack in vertical drop they make up for in sylvan setting. At the intersection with Trail 420, make a right. You’ll catch a few north-facing views across the Gorge from this forested ridge trail that eventually connects to the Wahkeena Trail (when you come to a fork, take the right-hand spur leading down). Here the waters of Wahkeena Creek feed another lovely mini-valley dense with flora. Follow the trail past the charming and gossamer Fairy Falls, across Wahkeena Creek and, when the trail again turns to pavement, to the base of Wahkeena Falls. As you stand on the bridge here, the winds may reward your efforts by blowing the falls’ mist onto your face.
DIRECTIONS: From eastbound I-84, take Multnomah Falls Exit 29. Follow the crowds up the stairs to the start of the paved trailhead.