Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Multnomah Falls Travel Guide

Multnomah Falls Visitor Guide

Updated: May 24, 2024

Should you get a permit?

A permit is required from May 24, 2024 through October, and is available two weeks ahead of your date on This permit is only good for Multnomah Falls. To see all six major waterfalls and state parks we recommend renting an ebike and cruising through the forest to each falls or hopping on the waterfall shuttle which takes you to each park in the early afternoon and our favorite time to visit, sunset.

How to visit without a permit?

E-bike to Multnomah Falls: 

An E-Bike is a fun and easy way to chase waterfalls. Get a hassle free front row spot at Multnomah Falls and the 5 other major waterfalls allowing you plenty of time to explore each of the parks, take a dip and enjoy the views. E-bikes are just 3 miles from Multnomah Falls in Bridal Veil and start at $60. Make a reservation on their website.

Book a guided waterfall tour: 

The Multnomah Falls Tour from Waterfall Shuttle visits the 6 major falls on a 3.5 hour hiking tour with pickup in Portland. Six short hikes (1/4 mile) take you to the waterfalls and the Crown Point Vista House. We highly recommend their Sunset Tour if it’s not sold out.

Use a shuttle.

Purchase a $5 parking pass from Sasquatch Shuttle and use their free shuttle. For just $5/car you and everyone in the car gets a free shuttle to Multnomah Falls.

Ways to visit totally FREE:

There’s no permit requirement before 9am or after 6pm 365 days/year. Just show up at 8:59 am or 6:01 pm and enjoy lower crowds and free entry!

Use your own bike and do the ebike tour route. Ample free parking at Guy W Talbot park in Latourell.

Park at Wahkeena Falls and hike 1/4 mile to Multnomah Falls from there. (you may have to wait for parking)

Things to know:

While you’re here you have to check out Latourell, Bridal Veil, Horsetail and Wahkeena Falls. They’re only a couple miles away and many prefer these falls as they’re also huge but have way less people and feel more natural.

This Historic Highway is a slow going tourist route not an actual highway. There’s next to no parking either so use I84 if you’re just visiting Multnomah Falls


Map of Multnomah Falls area with hikes and other attractions
Comparing different ways to visit Multnomah Falls ways to

Explore the Falls without the Hassle

HOW to have an amazing Multnomah Falls Experience

At Multnomah Falls , this is what you can choose from:

  • Hike 4.8 miles, 1540′ up, past the top of Multnomah Falls and do the awesome loop in the map below.
  • See the 6 other waterfalls on an Electric Bike or tour
  • Hike 2.5 miles roundtrip up a steep switchback trail, climbing up 800′ to the top of the falls.
  • Hike 1/4 mile roundtrip to the bridge for a better view of the falls.

Jump to:

Multnomah Falls FAQ


What’s the Parking situation at Multnomah Falls?

There is very limited parking and it's hard to come by on a nice day or on the weekend. Alternatives are renting an ebike or taking a tour.


How long does it take?

We recommend spending 3-4 hours exploring the Waterfall Corridor rather than just visiting Multnomah Falls.


Can you see Multnomah Falls without hiking?

Yes, the best view is from the bottom right by the road.


How long is the hike?

You can see the falls without hiking. The hike to the top is tough and takes a few hours.


Are the Multnomah Falls trails open?

Yes, the trails to the bridge and beyond are currently open.


What are the other waterfalls?

Horsetail Falls, Pony Tail Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Shepperds Dell, Bridal Veil Falls, and Latourell Falls are all within a few miles.


What is the Best Way to see the falls?

If you want to do more than see it from the freeway we suggest renting an Ebike from Ebike Multnomah Falls or taking a tour. Either way you can see everything the area has to offer.


Can you explain The Permit System?

Yes, permits are required during peak season from Memorial Day through Labor Day. They can be purchased online at but only go on sale two weeks prior to the travel date. They cost $2 and allow you to park your car in front of Multnomah Falls using the I84 parking lot. This route does not allow access to any other waterfalls which is why we recommend using the Historic Highway.


Can you swim at Multnomah Falls

No, but Horsetail Falls is a good place to do so.

The Columbia River Gorge and the Waterfall Corridor

Explore beyond Multnomah Falls and enjoy these points of interest all within a few short miles of the iconic waterfall.

Points of Interest

Some of our favorite spots and the best way to experience them

Discover Waterfalls

Take a hike under a hanging waterfall cave! Simply go to Horsetail Falls and take the .8 mile round trip hike up to Upper Horsetail Falls.

Dip your feet in and take a swim at Horsetail Falls a popular swimming hole.

Do what Julie’s family did and ride an Electric Bike to 7 waterfalls!

Tour the Country’s First Scenic Byway which runs from Troutdale to the Dalles. I’d recommend leaving I-84 at exit 18 from Portland and driving the Byway to Ainsworth State Park at Exit 35 from 1-84 (works in reverse if coming from Hood River)

Stand under a 250′ tall waterfall and feel the powerful energy of Latourell Falls near Mile 26 of the Scenic Byway

On the way back to Portland stop at the most epic viewpoint, the Crown Point Vista House

See old growth trees and 2 waterfalls on a beautiful and moderate 2.5 mile nature hike from Latourelll Falls. This is one of my favorite hikes in all of the PNW.

Learn about the Geography and see how 17 million year old lava flows define the geography of the region on a Tour from Ebike Multnomah Falls.

Columbia River Gorge

Must See Waterfalls

  • Multnomah Falls
  • Latourell Falls, 5 miles east on the historic highway and 1/4 mile easy hike.
  • Bridal Veil Falls, 3 miles east on the historic highway and a 2/3 mile moderate hike.
  • Pony Tail Falls, 2 miles west on then historic highway and a .8 mile tough hike


Falls Creek Falls? Not in the corridor, 53 minutes away is my favorite falls in the area. A remarkably easy 3.5 mile hike to the most beautiful waterfall around. I recommend hiking Falls Creek and riding electric bikes on the scenic highway through the waterfall corridor near Multnomah Falls


Whether you've only got an hour or an entire day to commit to experiencing the Columbia River Gorge and the Waterfall Corridor, these itineraries will help you plan your outing in this beautiful area.

1 Hour or Less Itinerary

To make the most of your short time take a walk passing two beautiful waterfalls while walking along mostly paved paths through scenic forests full of old growth, burn, and birds.

1-2 Hour Itinerary

To make the most of your short time take a walk passing two beautiful waterfalls while cruising along mostly paved paths through scenic forests full of old growth, burn, and birds.

  • Rent an electric bike and see 3-4 waterfalls from the country’s first scenic byway.
  • Hike to the Top of Multnomah Falls and back down 2.2 miles roundtrip this is a steep hike that takes up to two hours. Most people complete the hike in 90 minutes. (Closed through Nov ’21 for repairs)
  • Drive from exit 28 to exit 35 (or in reverse) and see 7 miles of the historic highway by car. Expect delays as the road is windy, slow, and full of cyclists and tourists taking their time.
    1. If you try this at a peak time you will spend more time looking for parking than anything else. Go when it’s raining or early or late in the day.
    2. Simply stop at each of the well labeled state parks on the route and follow the signs to the waterfalls. There are 4 to see and a 5th you can hike to. That’s Ponytail falls which you hike to from Horsetail Falls.

2-4 Hour Itinerary

Adding a couple hours to your trip opens up a plethora of opportunities to see more waterfalls and take advantage of local offerings such as coffee and fresh produce.

  • Do the 5 mile moderate hike shown below and see 6 waterfalls and sweeping gorge views. Simply keep going past the top of Multnomah Falls, visit epic viewpoints and waterfalls, and make right turns to get back to your car. (Closed through Nov ’21 for repairs)
  • Drive from exit 18 to exit 35 (or in reverse) and see 17 miles of the historic highway by car.
    1. If you try this at a peak time you will spend more time looking for parking than anything else. Go when it’s raining or early or late in the day.
    2. Here are the stops to make:
      1. Troutdale, cute old town with great coffee.
      2. Farm Stands! Excellent food and farm products. Don’t miss the Corbett Country Market for the last gas.
      3. Womens Forum, viewpoint
      4. Crown Point Vista House, viewpoint
      5. Latourell Falls
      6. Bridal Veil Falls
      7. Wahkeena Falls
      8. Multnomah Falls
      9. Horsetail Falls

Full Day Itinerary

The dream! To have a full day in waterfall alley. Here’s how I’d do it from Portland, it works in reverse just as well if you’re coming from Hood River.

Start from exit 18 off 1-84 and drive along the Sandy River to Corbett Country Market for gas and fresh hot local snacks.

Continue to some farm stands that you’ll spot along the road. After the stands enjoy what you got at the women’s forum and crown point vista house.

Pack a lunch from the market, the farm stands, or. if coming from Hood river in Cascade Locks.

Carry on down to Latourell Falls where you’ll do a 2.5 mile easy hike to spot native species, old growth cedar and fir, and two waterfalls.

Get on your bikes and ride! Meet your ebike rental and ride to the relaxing and peaceful scenic highway to the rest of the waterfalls. If you didn’t bring lunch get some at the lodge. Pizza and hot dogs are available easily there too.

Return to your car and go get dinner!

McMenamins Edgefield if going to Portland. and Gorges Beer Co if going to Hood River from Portland

Car Free Itinerary

Be wary of ride share, there are typically only 1 way trips to the falls and no drivers to take you home.

If you’re arriving car free you’ll take the CAT bus to the main Multnomah Falls parking lot.

Car Free 1 hour or less

  • You have time to see Multnomah Falls, hike to the bridge, turn around and take the trail to Wahkeena Falls and take the trail back to the bus stop.

Car Free 2-4 hours

  • Walk to Multnomah then pickup an e bike from E-Bike Multnomah Falls (click here for reservations) for $60 to tour waterfalls on the scenic highway for 2.5 hours.
  • Do this 5 mile moderate hike and see 6 waterfalls and sweeping gorge views.

Best Short Hikes

1. Latourell Falls Loop, starting from a 250 foot cascading beauty a beautiful path follows a bubbling creek to a waterfall in the hills. I love the old growth cedar and Douglas fir on these easy 1 hour hike.

2. Upper Horsetail Falls, simply park at Horsetail falls and walk up the switchback to a beautiful overhanging waterfall. The path actually cuts underneath the basalt cliff waterfall for about 100 yards. Easily done in 45 minutes.

3. Angels Rest, a bit longer and harder without any waterfalls this 2-3 hour hike climbs to a beautiful precipice with the best gorge views you can get in the area.

Best Day Hikes

1. Up for 5 hours of tough hiking? It’s worth it to climb from Multnomah Falls to Sherrard Point. Many waterfalls along the picturesque trail and views of 5 volcanos from the top! One volcano per hour of hiking with bonus waterfalls. Can’t beat that!

2. Simply hike to the top of Multnomah Falls and make right turns til you get back to the parking lot and you’ll complete a beautiful 2-3 hour waterfall hiking loop through Wahkeena Falls.

3. Beat the crowds to 4 waterfalls and the only way to access epic Oneonta Gorge by hiking up from horsetail falls and once again making rights till you get back to the road. Expect 2-3 hours but allow time to explore on this one.

Contact us to help plan your trip!