Multnomah Falls in crisis?

In early September of 2017, Oregonians sat on the edge of their seat. Glued to their television screens, and with bated breath, they hoped for the best. With the forest in and around the beloved Multnomah Falls on fire, and spreading fast, for many, the fire wasn’t just affecting a favorite outdoor spot, this was our past, present, and future.

In total, the Eagle Creek Fire burned a total of 50,000 acres over the course of three months before being declared completely contained. Sadly, the fire was started by a 15-year-old boy who was igniting fireworks during a burn ban.

But, why the bated breath? What makes this part of Oregon so deeply woven into the hearts of all who either live or have ever visited this part of the state? Watching the fire burn that September might as well have been our own house or our own neighborhood.


What is it about Multnomah Falls that demands such intimate connection from Oregonians and visitors alike? To answer this question, all one really needs to do is get in the car and drive there. If Multnomah Falls is the Monet painting that hangs on the wall, it is the Columbia River Gorge that serves as the gallery.

America’s Largest National Scenic Area

Getting to Multnomah Falls means experiencing one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, as listed by the popular website, Designated as a National Scenic Area, which by the way, is the largest in America, the Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The canyon itself stretches for over 80 miles and at some points, can be upwards of 4,000 feet deep as the Columbia River winds its way westward throughout the Cascade Range. The river forms the boundary between Washington to the north and Oregon to the south.

All of which makes for one of the World’s greatest galleries and in this, the perfect place to showcase the wonder and beauty that is Multnomah Falls.

Multnomah Falls: The Perfect Photograph

Multnomah FallsA short 30 minute trip outside of Portland, sits Multnomah Falls. And like that of countless postcards and Instagram posts over the years, the scene is always as it appears. Majestic. Nestled along the Columbia River Gorge, visitors can wind their way up the 2.2 mile hike to the top of Multnomah Falls. At 700 feet of elevation, looking down is a sight to behold.

The highest waterfall in the state of Oregon, Multnomah Falls is the second highest in the nation. Plunging 620 feet in two major steps, the upper fall plummets 542 and the lower fall 69 feet. Oregon’s number one most visited natural attraction, Multnomah Falls sees 2.5 million visitors each year.

The Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge

At the base of the falls sits the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge. During the Eagle Creek Fire, the lodge came very close to being destroyed. Watching in sheer horror, Oregonians hoped and prayed for the firefighters who so gallantly fought to detain the fire and save the lodge.

Completed in 1925 by famed Portland architect, Albert E. Doyle, the lodge cost $40,000 to complete. The Cascadia style stone and timber building now houses a restaurant, gift shop, snack bar, espresso bar and interpretive center. Interesting to note that much of Doyle’s works are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. One visit to the Multnomah Falls Lodge will leave any visitor not questioning why. In the early Twentieth Century, very few other architects in Portland achieved his level of success.

Just past the lodge, is one of the state of Oregon’s most iconic viewing spots that seems almost made specifically for selfies, engagement pictures, and family photos alike. The Benson footbridge.

Is This Oregon’s Most Photographed Bridge?

Multnomah Falls WinterThe City of Portland may be known as Bridge City, but footbridge near the base of Multnomah Falls might just be the areas most photographed. The Benson footbridge sits just above the lower falls. The bridge derives its name from one of Portland’s most prominent businessmen in the early 1900’s named Simon Benson. Benson actually owned the falls at one point. He would later donate the land to be used as a park.

Standing amidst a misty base at the first tier of the climb upward,visitors stop and pose for pictures on the footbridge or wave down to their friends and family at the base of the falls for a more panoramic shot. Just type Multnomah Falls into Instagram and you will for sure see countless pictures of such. Pausing for a moment from multiple selfies, visitors can look upward for a front row seat of the top-tier of the falls. The bridge was constructed in 1914. A year later, the Multnomah Falls Park was dedicated.

From the Benson footbridge, visitors are left with a decision to either wind their way upward on the 2.2 mile hike to the stop, or head back down to the lodge for lunch. Most certainly, taking picture after picture along the way.

5 Things To Do When Visiting Multnomah Falls

While there are many things you can do when visiting Multnomah Falls, we’ve narrowed it down to the 5 essentials things you can do when showing off the crown jewel of Oregon to your visiting friends or relatives.

  1. Enjoy Lunch At The Multnomah Falls Lodge
  2. Learn From The Lodge Interpretive Center
  3. Take Selfie At Base Of The Falls
  4. Take Short Hike To Benson Footbridge
  5. Take An Hour To Hike To The Top Of The Falls

The Pride and Joy Of Oregon

There’s no question that Multnomah Falls and its surrounding Columbia River Gorge is the state’s pride and joy. With so much to do in and around the falls, you don’t have to wait for visitors from out-of-town to come to give yourself a reason to visit the falls. These are just 5 reasons to visit, but the real secret is that there is a million more.