Multnomah Falls and Wahkeena Falls Loop Hike in the Columbia River Gorge

As you may or may not know, I grew up in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon.  One thing we did almost every weekend in the Summer was to go on a hike.  One of my FAVORITE hikes is the Multnomah Falls – Wahkeena Falls loop hike.  It is located in the scenic Columbia River Gorge

If you love waterfalls, then this hike is for you!  There are officially 8 named waterfalls but the numerous little falls that “don’t count” as you hike your way up and down Multnomah creek and Wahkeena creek.

Multnomah Falls!

For my trip, I started at Multnomah Falls (mainly because there is a bathroom stop there).  Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s tallest waterfall, falling 620 feet. Only 3 waterfalls in the whole US are taller!

a snail friend

You start at the Multnomah Falls parking lot (get there early otherwise there will be no parking!).  Just follow the crowds to the bridge… then keep going.   You go up a whole bunch of switchbacks and you will end up at the top of Multnomah Falls. Years ago you used to be able to look right over the cliff but someone committed suicide there so the viewpoint is now a ways back from the cliff.

Dutchman Falls

Now at the top of the falls, continue on the Larch Mountain trail.  You follow along Multnomah creek past a whole bunch of bigger and smaller waterfalls. It is so pretty!

Weisendanger Falls

You then will come to Wahkeena Trail #420, heading to the right. Go to the right!  You will climb uphill through a ferny forest.  Although there is no waterfall, it is really pretty!

pretty ferny forest, sorry for blurry iPhone picture

You will end up at a 3-way junction.  Go straight.  The trail will go downhill and reach intersection for Angel’s rest trail #415.  If you want to see Wahkeena Spring, head further up only 0.1 miles. I highly recommend doing that!   This is no ordinary spring!  It is literally a creek just flowing out from underground.

Wahkeena Falls
steep switchbacks. Can you count how many? there are 4.

Now, turn around and head back down.  You will follow Wahkeena creek down the mountain.  You will meet another stream coming into Wahkneea Creek at Fairy Falls.  This waterfall is so pretty! If you need to cool off, sit on the log bench or stand in the mist of the waterfall.

Fairy Falls!

Continue on downhill, enjoying the sights and sounds of Wahkeena creek.

Wahkeena Creek

You will eventually reach some switchbacks and find yourself at the base of Wahkeena Falls.
 Continue down the paved trail to the road.  Follow the return trail #442 eastward back to the Multnomah Falls parking lot.  This section is next to the Scenic Highway. Do not walk on the road, you will get hit by a RV!

base of Wahkeena Falls

The trail is 5 miles long.  The elevation gain is 1600 feet and it is moderately difficult.
To get to the hike, head east on I-84 from Portland.  Take exit 31, the Multnomah Falls exit.  Do not leave any valuables in your car!

For a more scenic route, I highly recommend taking the historic Columbia River Scenic Highway.  Take it at exit 22, Corbett.  Travel 3 miles up the hill to the top were the road makes a “Y”. Go left and head east on the Scenic Highway.  Multnomah Falls is 10 miles East.

To see Wahkeena Springs just come bubbling out from the ground, check out this pretty video!

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  1. July 20, 2015 / 11:29 pm

    Your post makes me want to go to Portland!

    • July 21, 2015 / 2:27 am

      I suppose that kind of was the point of the post!

  2. July 21, 2015 / 12:42 am

    I was just there early in June but didn't do the trail. My kids hiked it but didn't have pictures like this so I'm glad to see what you've posted! Now I feel I have an idea what was up there! Thanks for sharing!

    • July 21, 2015 / 2:28 am

      This trail was kind of hard. I'm not a super hiker that has all the gear, so I probably don't really have an idea of what a hard hike is, but this wasn't a walk in the park! It is really quite pretty way up there, and quiet! Glad you got to see what was hiding in the hills!

  3. July 21, 2015 / 11:48 am

    Such a beautiful trail, Angelina. The scenery and waterfalls are amazing!

    • July 22, 2015 / 3:27 pm

      It really is so pretty! It smells wonderful too, like pine Needles!

  4. July 22, 2015 / 12:22 pm

    I love waterfalls, Angelina! Looks like an amazing hike. Thanks for showing me a piece of Oregon!

    • July 22, 2015 / 3:28 pm

      I love waterfalls too! My favorite hikes involve waterfalls!

  5. July 28, 2015 / 10:21 pm

    Beautiful country you grew up in…so nice and green! The waterfall is beautiful.

    • July 28, 2015 / 10:43 pm

      It is really nice and green… but it was grey and overcast 300 days a year… which you can get a little sick of when it rains 30 days straight (yup! no joke!).