Multnomah Falls is one of the more dramatic stops you can make when driving on Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. Luckily for you, this roadside attraction is set up perfectly to be one of the more memorable waterfall stops you’ll ever come across. There is a large parking lot accessible by freeway traffic going in either direction. There’s also a lodge and plenty of viewpoints of this very famous, and some would say iconic, Oregon natural attraction. Stopping there while driving through the gorge is always a good idea.
9 Multnomah Falls Family Travel Tips
EAT OUT AT THE BASE OF THE FALLS
The historic Multnomah Falls Lodge is a great eating out option in the Columbia River Gorge. This historic stone and wood lodge first opened in 1925 and nearly 100 years later is still going strong. The food is top notch and you can even purchase a memorable souvenir from the gift shop.
THE PERFECT FAMILY SELFIE
Just search Instagram for “Multnomah Falls” and you’ll find all sorts of family, couples, and friend selfies with the gorgeous waterfall in the background. Selfies are a fun modern part of travel. Whether you’re wanting to preserve a memory, prove your location, or show off your family at a beautiful part of the Pacific Northwest; a selfie at Multnomah Falls is a great idea.
CLIMB TO THE HISTORIC BRIDGE
The bridge at Multnomah Falls is historic in its own right. The construction of it was paid for by the original owner of the land the falls sit on, land he eventually would donate to the City of Portland. The bridge offers a great view up at the falls and also down at the historic lodge and Columbia River beyond.
HAVE A PICNIC
While eating at the Multnomah Falls Lodge is a great choice, so is having a picnic at the base of the falls. There are tables and chairs available or you and your family can sit on any of the low rock walls that border the entrance and waterfall viewing area.
DRIVE THE HISTORIC COLUMBIA RIVER HIGHWAY
Interstate 84 runs along the Columbia River, through the Columbia River Gorge, on the Oregon side of the border. This is a fast, convenient, and overall very pleasant way to drive through this beautiful part of the Northwest. Another way to experience part of that popular scenic route is by taking the Columbia River Highway. This was the original road through the gorge and much of it can still be traveled. Along the way you’ll find trails, tunnels, and waterfalls. You’ll even stumble upon some small communities you would’ve otherwise passed right on by. History and nature buffs love this drive through the gorge.
HIKE TO THE TOP!
When you walk up to Multnomah Falls, you’ll encounter a paved trail that takes you right up to a wide viewing area where you can see both the upper and lower falls, as well as the historic bridge. To the right, as you’re looking at the falls, the trail continues up the side of the hill, courtesy of a few switchbacks, and eventually leads you to the bridge. This is the most popular part of viewing Multnomah Falls. If you and your family want to push it a little further, you can continue across the bridge where the trail will lead you up the other side to a viewpoint at the top of the falls. This is a side of Multnomah Falls that most don’t get to see.
EXPLORE BENSON STATE PARK
Benson State Park is located just less than a mile west of Multnomah Falls. There’s a small lake there that’s stocked regularly with rainbow trout. It also offers picnic areas, swimming, and even a disc golf course. A nice little stop in the Multnomah Falls area.
If you’re getting off the freeway to check out Multnomah Falls, take some extra time and explore any of the numerous hiking trails located on either side of this popular stop in the Columbia River Gorge. There are trails for all levels of hikers, including some that stretch for miles and others that stay mostly flat with little to no elevation gain.
Multnomah Falls is an excellent place to visit for both scenic and historic reasons. If you or your family love waterfalls though, the entire Columbia River Gorge needs to be explored. Some of the best include Latourell Falls, Wahclella Falls, Elowah Falls, and Tunnel Falls. Most of these are easily accessible from trailheads located right alongside the road.