Hike the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop
Oregon › Multnomah Falls Parking Lot
Added by Lorene Voskinarian
Visit 6 stunning waterfalls while getting away from the crowds at Multnomah Falls. This loop will allow you to see Multnomah Falls from the top. This hike is easily accessible from the Portland Metro Area.
The Multnomah-Wahkeena loop is a classic hike in the Columbia Gorge. Few hikes take you by as many waterfalls, and the tree cover makes it a great hike in the rain.
Starting at the Multnomah Falls Parking Area, head to the main viewing area of Multnomah Falls. If you get there early in the morning, you can avoid some crowds while you take in one of Oregon's iconic sights. Be sure to read the sign which explains the the legend of Multmomah Falls.
Next head up the trail to the right. This short paved walkway takes you up to Benson Bridge. This bridge was constructed in 1914. Falling rock off the falls has lead to damage and temporary closure of the bridge for repair - most recently in 2014. Continue up the trail, away from the crowds, as you head up towards the top of Multnomah Falls. This portion of the trail has helpful signs counting out all 11 switchbacks. Luckily the last two are actually downhill. This portion of the trail is shaded and paved, which makes the steep climb a little easier.
At the next trail junction head to the right, following signs for Multnomah Falls Overlook. A viewing platform lets you peer over the top of the falls. Just upstream is Little Multnomah Falls. Retrace your steps back to the trail junction and continue in the opposite direction on Larch Mountain Trail #441. Along this section of trail you will pass several smaller waterfalls known as Dutchman Falls, before you get to Dutchman Tunnel. Next you will pass Weisendanger Falls and the top of Ecola Falls.
At the next trail junction turn right on to Wahkeena Falls Trail #420. Following this trail for nearly a mile, there will be a few viewpoints of the Columbia Gorge. Continue pass a trail junction for Devils Rest until you reach a 3 way junction. Stay straight on Trail #420 for .3 miles. At the next trail junction, continue on #420 heading down the Wahkeena Valley. Pass by several small waterfalls and cross directly in front of Fairy Falls. 1.2 miles downhill you will reach Wahkeena Falls.
Take Return Trail #442 back to Multnomah Falls. Do not walk along the road, which is too narrow for cars to safely pass pedestrians. Stay on the walkway heading east until you reach the end of the parking lot, where you will see the trail heading back uphill. Half a mile later you will reach the Multnomah Falls Parking area where you can find bathrooms, food, coffee, and a gift shop.
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I loved this hike, it remains to be one of my favorites. After you turn left on Multnomah there is beautiful falls for a solid mile and then a really pretty hike into Wahkeena. If you hike it in the morning when it's foggy it feels really mystical almost like a fairytale. I brought my younger siblings, ages 8 and 11 and they seemed to do fine, the 8 year old eventually complained about the length. Happy hiking!
So Much Awesomeness!!
This trail is covered with waterfalls and nice spots along the stream to chill out! We did the Wahkeena side first. Beware of the crowds on the Multnomah side. Once you get to the highest point of the trail, you'll experience absolute silence.
The first part of the hike after Multnomah Falls is great, but after you get higher up, their is lots of different trails which are unmarked, and can be confusing. If you choose to do this hike, be sure to bring a map with you!
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