I will admit that no one immediately thinks of me when they think of hiking recommendations. However, my husband LOVES hiking. When we’re traveling he always wants to find a good hike. I enjoy the sense of accomplishment while hiking, I enjoying being able to say that I went on a hike, but I am still working on the part where I’m excited about the actual hiking part.
We’ve been doing a bit of traveling lately and we’ve been able to hike in some absolutely beautiful areas. During a recent quick trip to Oregon, my husband was intent on squeezing a hike into our day. Since we had a flight to catch, we chose Multnomah Falls, which is an easy drive to the airport, but feels like you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Parking at Multnomah Falls
Be aware that the parking lot fills up quickly. We were able to find parking near Wahkeena Falls, which adds a half mile to your hike in either direction, but it’s an easy stretch to hike and you get the added bonus of an additional waterfall that you can get right up close to.
Another option is using the Columbia Gorge Express which starts at the Gateway Transit Center in Portland and makes five stops including Rooster Rock State Park and Multnomah Falls.
Multnomah Falls Trailhead
One of the best things about Multnomah Falls is that you can get a great view without hiking at all. About 100 yards up from the visitor center is an amazing view of the falls. Honestly. this is a better view of the falls than you’ll get from hiking to the top (but you won’t get to brag about conquering those 11 switchbacks.)
If you have someone in your party who isn’t up for the hike, they can still take in an amazing view and hang out (and grab an ice cream cone) at the visitor center.
Multnomah Falls – The Hike
It’s a short hike up to the bridge below the falls where you’ll find many people congregating to take photos and view the falls. From there, you’ll hike 11 switchbacks up to the falls. The hike itself is only a mile each direction, but there’s a definite elevation gain in that mile. The hike is rated moderate and I think that’s fair. The incline is intense, but the terrain is mostly even. If you’re out of shape like me, it’s doable, but you might tell your husband to go on without you. You might even cry when someone says “You’re close! Only another 20 minutes!” That 20 minutes will feel like a lifetime. However, the feeling of accomplishment when you reach the top of the falls is the one and only thing that gets me to continue to agree to hike with my husband.
I was PROUD of myself in this moment. Yes, I whined and I cried real tears. Yes, my husband had to slow his natural stride way down to keep pace with me. Given that he’s nearly a foot taller than I am, his stride is nearly double mine, plus he coaches sports and is generally more active than I am. Also I am incredibly out of shape as mentioned before. However, getting to the top was worth it!
On the hike down I was practically giddy. A thunderstorm had rolled in, so a light rain was falling and cooled us off. Plus, the second half of a hike is always so much easier for me because I know we’re almost done. It helps that the return hike is almost 100% downhill.
Oregon is FULL of trails to hike, but if you’re looking for a well-trafficked hike that’s easily accessible from Portland I would highly recommend Multnomah Falls. Even though I cried I am so glad I did it and the views can’t be beat!
What Supplies Should I Take on a Hike?
If, like me, hiking doesn’t come naturally, there are a few things that will make your hiking trip more comfortable!
Start with a great water bottle to keep you hydrated, add in cooling towels to keep you cool on a hot day and don’t forget the sunscreen!
What Other Hikes are Near Multnomah Falls
Rock of Ages and Horsetail Creek Loop
Triple Falls Trail
Oneonta Gorge Trail
Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail