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New York Might Have Niagara, but Oregon Has Multnomah...and We Don't Share it with Canada
I read this the other day...“Multnomah Falls has to be one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the United States, maybe next to Niagara.”
This was obviously written by a New Yorker. Niagara doesn't even come close, and here's why.
The spring originates from the melting winter snowpack of nearby Larch Mountain, but the falls are located just a 30 minute drive east of Portland.
There is a descent size parking area just across the highway, and a pedestrian walkway under the road leads to the “Guest Services” area. From there it's just a short walk to the bottom of the falls.
In order to see the full length of the falls, you'll need to walk to a viewing area that's been carved out of the surrounding rock walls. This will give you a full view of both the falls and the footbridge that passes in front of it where the upper meets the lower tier.
You can take some awesome photo's from this location.
From here, continue up the paved trail to the footbridge, called the Benson bridge, named after Simon Benson who financed its construction in 1914. He owned the falls and eventually donated it and land that included most of the falls, to the city of Portland.
The trail to the bridge is easy, but once you cross over it gets steeper and a bit more difficult. If you decide to continue, the trail will take you to a viewing area at the top of the falls where spectacular views of the Columbia River Gorge can be had.
Your day trip wouldn't be complete without a stop at the lodge for lunch and a souvenir. The lodge was built as part of a 1925 agreement between the railroad and the city. They donated the land at the base of Multnoma Falls with a stipulation that the city build a lodge to serve the many spectators who were stopping to view the falls at that time. The lodge was built and has been serving the many thousands of spectators ever since.
Eventually the lodge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Portland later transferred ownership of the falls and the lodge to the US Forest Service.
There's also a nice ½ mile hike on a trail just outside the lodge that will take you to the base of another 240 foot falls called Wahkeena. The path continues on for another mile taking you to the top. The views at the end of this steep trail are well worth the hike.
Learn more about Multnomah Falls here