Where: Multnomah Falls, Oregon, located along the Columbia River Gorge. The falls were the main stop along our Oregon roadtrip along the Historic Columbia River Highway
When: July 3-4 – which turned out to be one of the worst days to visit the falls. The crowds and traffic were about as bad it gets (although we did enjoy the patriotic music being played by a visiting high school band from Utah).
Why: In a state that boasts plentiful waterfalls, Multnomah Falls stands out as one of the most iconic – and photographed. At 620 feet in two sections, it’s also the tallest waterfall in Oregon, and the second tallest in the country.
Fun Fact: The footbridge located between the upper and lower falls was built in 1914 by Simon Benson, a logging magnate who was one of the more enthusiastic developers of the Historic Columbia River Highway (the country’s first scenic bypass); He also bought Multnomah Falls and deeded it the city of Portland as a public park.
Highlights: The falls themselves are gorgeous, but if you’re taking the hour-long hike to the top, make sure you glance the other way for a view of the Columbia River Gorge.
Munchies? You can’t stay at the Multnomah Falls Lodge, but the restaurant serves up Northwest-inspired food in a gorgeous setting (but you’ll pay for the privilege). Or grab an ice cream at the snack bar. The lodge is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
We wish we knew: That we were visiting Multnomah on one of the busiest days of the year. The backup started about 1/4 mile away and it took us at least 45 minutes to reach the parking lot. We both agreed that the time to go would be in the morning, before the swarms began.
Details: It’s more scenic to take the Historic Columbia River Highway, also known as Historic US 30, to Multnomah. But if you’re in a hurry, Multnomah Falls is also easily accessible from I-84.