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Multnomah Falls Out and Back

Intermediate

Trail

2.7 mile 4.3 kilometer loop
72% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 868' 265 m
Descent: -868' -264 m
High: 739' 225 m
Low: 63' 19 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 47% (25°)

Dogs

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Trail shared by David Hitchcock

A trail to the top of Multnomah Falls with stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge.

David Hitchcock

Features River/Creek · Views · Waterfall

The trails around Multnomah Falls are open year round from 9 am-5 pm, 7 days a week.

Overview

The paved route is easy to follow, making for a scenic trip that won't soon be forgotten.

Runner Notes

The trail is the most popular trail in the region, so running up to the bridge can be difficult. Past the bridge, the trail narrows and climbs via switchbacks to the top of the falls. The trail can be slippery and there is foot traffic going both ways on the trail. It's a steep climb, but it is relatively free of obstacles.

Description

Parking for the trail can be found in the various parking lots along Highway 30 and Interstate 84 (exit 31) around the falls. The Multnomah Falls Trailhead is located to the left of the Multnomah Falls Lodge and gift shop.

The trail climbs gently along a wide paved trail to a viewpoint where you can see Benson Bridge and the upper and lower falls. This is a popular area for people to take photos. The trail continues to climb uphill to the right as it makes its way toward the footbridge. If you look up the hill to the right, you can see a small cascade that works its way underneath a small wooden bridge that the trail crosses before it passes some wire mesh that prevents rocks and logs from falling into the trail.

At roughly 0.25 miles, the trail crosses Benson Bridge, giving you great views of the upper falls. After enjoying the view and getting past all the people taking selfies on the bridge, the trail begins to climb in earnest. Leaving the crowds behind, the paved trail begins to climb a series of switchbacks to the top of the falls. After the first couple of switchbacks, there is a bench that sits on a cliff edge that provides an obscured view of the falls. As the trail continues to climb through the woods, views of the Columbia River Gorge begin to open up, allowing for great views during your run.

There are moss-covered rocks and trees along the trail as it climbs through the forest toward the top of the falls. There are sections where the trail narrows some, so be mindful of people coming back down the trail to their cars. Around 1.1 miles, the trail finally stops climbing and begins to descend toward Multnomah Creek. The Larch Mountain Trail (#441) breaks off to the left as the Multnomah Falls Overlook Spur breaks back to the right and descends a couple of small switchbacks until finally coming to stone staircase that descends to a wooden platform that sits above the precipice. Take time to enjoy the views of the creek and the Columbia River Gorge, even if it is a little obscured. Looking down, you can see the lodge and footbridge far below.

Once you have enjoyed the view and taken your photos, you can continue exploring the area via the Larch Mountain Trail or return back down the trail to your car.

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Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 13 votes

#1538

Overall
  4.4 from 13 votes
5 Star
54%
4 Star
31%
3 Star
15%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Run Rankings

#37

in Oregon

#1,538

Overall
47 Views Last Month
1,265 Since Nov 21, 2016
Intermediate

0%
77%
23%
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Photos

Multnomah Falls - 620ft of raw water power...
Jan 22, 2016 near Bridal…, OR
Mutnomah
Mar 20, 2019 near Bridal…, OR
Multnomah Falls from below.
Jan 22, 2016 near Bridal…, OR
Moss-covered trees and rocks on the hillside above the trail.
Nov 27, 2016 near Bridal…, OR
View up toward Multnomah Falls
Aug 19, 2016 near Bridal…, OR
Portland 014
Mar 20, 2019 near Bridal…, OR

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