Visitors to the Pacific Northwest, especially those aboard our Columbia River cruises, are naturally curious about their ability to visit the region’s natural wonders. One question that pops up frequently: Is Multnomah Falls open? The answer is a resounding YES!
There are, however, some restrictions in place that visitors should be aware of.
We sent straight to the source, the United States Forest Service, for this information. The agency says the falls are open to visitors, as are the “Multnomah Lodge restaurant, gift shop, snack bar and restrooms.”
However, as of September 20, 2021, the Larch Mountain Trail that continues beyond the Benson Bridge viewing platform remains closed for repairs. That means visitors won’t be able to hike to the top of the falls via that route. Be sure to check with the Forest Service for the most recent updates on trail closures and travel advisories.
Those repairs were necessary after the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire burned 50,000 acres of the Columbia River Gorge, leading to post-fire-related hazards including falling rocks, hazardous trees, and landslides. The Larch Mountain trail also had cracks along a 100-foot section of pavement.
In fact, multiple trails throughout the area were closed after the fire, including trails to Horsetail and Wahclella falls and the Oneonta Gorge.
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The good news is that, while crews work to repair trail damage, nature is itself in the midst of a great process of healing. Many trails have reopened thanks to this human/nature repair and healing process.
That means as time marches on, visitors will begin to flock to Multnomah Falls for the breathtaking views and a chance to see Oregon’s tallest waterfall (620 feet!) and to marvel at the geology of the Gorge itself.
According to the Forest Service, Multnomah Falls “is the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest with more than 2 million stopping by each year to take in the views.”
It’s been a challenging time over the past couple of years for Multnomah Falls. But things are slowly but surely returning to normal.
It’s a good time to begin planning your own Columbia River cruise. Now that you know Multnomah Falls is open to the public once again, take a look through our collection of fantastic Columbia River trips.
Visiting the Falls
Anytime is a good time to visit the falls and the hiking trails. The summer months are busy, naturally, but the falls (including nearby sights such as Wahkeena Falls) attract visitors in fall, winter, and spring, too.
Most people who visit Multnomah Falls, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the Multnomah Falls lodge (a historic lodge built in 1925), and its gift shops, arrive via Interstate 84 or the Historic Columbia River Highway. They pull into the parking lot from Exit 31 — either from Portland (West) or Hood River (East), and then take a short walk to the falls.
But onboard a USA River Cruises Columbia River Gorge, you’ll see the falls in a whole new light! There’s nothing quite like the view from onboard one of our wonderful ships.
Let us know if you have any questions about visiting Multnomah Falls. We look forward to speaking with you.