Touring Multnomah Falls in Oregon

What is Multnomah Falls?

Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in Oregon and the 2nd highest waterfall in the United States. The falls are located approximately 30 miles east of Portland and offer lodging, hiking, and camping for visitors.

It is said that the falls was created to win the love and affection of a Native American princess so that she could bathe in privacy. Although the falls are not as private anymore due to tourism, the majesty of the falls is breathtaking.

The falls reach 620 feet with a crisp and cool pool of water down below at the base of the mountain. The climb is about a mile up and down with 11 switchbacks rounding the top; and all walks of life come to conquer the mountain.

Can you conquer Multnomah Falls? I’m sure you can, it’s really easy to do!

What do I need to bring when I visit?

Multnomah Falls has either falls around the mountain that you can also visit. In addition to that, there are hiking trails and mini campsites. During the tourist season, the Falls lodge is available for those who would like to stay in more comfortable surroundings for a few days.

So, depending on your stay would depend on your essentials. However, here is a list of things you will need when just “passing through” on your own and with a family:

On Your Own

at least two bottles of water
very comfortable shoes
light and layered clothing
a camera
a partner in crime
a positive attitude

You should also put on some sunscreen before you begin and definitely use the restroom. There are no restrooms along the mountain path for you to relieve yourself, and if you’re the jerk who relieves themselves anyway, I hope a squirrel or hawk claws your eyes out you sicko.

Climbing the mountain is easier when you have someone to do it with, encouraging you to keep going. I would definitely pick someone who is a go-getter because they will piss you off enough to get to the top showing them what’s up!

With a Family

I climbed the mountain with my husband, two kids (one in a stroller), and two dogs (one chihuahua). I have to be honest about this…the climb sucked. It really made me mad and I was not wearing the right clothing and by the time we went up and down, I smelled so bad I was willing to get arrested for soaking the soily-ness in the falls…but I didn’t.

When climbing the mountain with your family, you will need:

two water bottles per person, just to be safe
comfortable shoes
light and layered clothing
a camera (for those special moments at each switchback)
mountain approved stroller (nothing dinky)
small cross-body bag or small backpack for your essentials and baby items
a mini fan for the wee little ones
a massive amount of patience and understanding
leash and water dish for the dogs

As I mentioned before, make sure everyone has used the restroom at least twice and they are all bathed in sunscreen. Can’t take any chances! Also, remind everyone in your family that walking up the mountain is dangerous and to follow all the rules before beginning.

The last thing you’ll need to bring is some money. You may want to buy a souvenir or eat some grub at the end of your visit.

How should I act when on the mountain?

Because the falls are a tourist attraction, you will get all walks of life climbing up and down the mountain. I personally would have liked to have climbed the mountain without a lot of people around because it’s frustrating to accommodate rude people who pass you by.

For example, I tell my kids to walk along the inside part of the path, next to the mountain wall as a safety precaution. There were some people there who felt it necessary to do the same thing (mostly adults) and force my kids to walk along the edge of the path. Grrrr! So, after a few times, I yell out to my children to walk along the inside path and to stay there until the adults get out of their way. I also yell out that it’s safer for them and that to just stop right in front of them until they get out of the way. Everyone hears me and those that ignore what I said get dirty looks thrown in their direction.

Yes, I understand that you don’t want to walk on the outside edge, but my kids (kids in general) deserve the inside lane of the path. That’s all there is to it!

Another thing to watch out for, are people who are in a rush. If you are coming up from behind me and we are slowing you down, it doesn’t hurt to say these simple phrases:

On your left.
On your right.
Excuse me.
Right behind you.
Can we get by?

Takes two seconds to say each one and even less time for me and my family to stop to let you pass us. Don’t be a big yucky jerk turd and huff and puff or bypass me and my kids without warning or announcement. It’s rude and it can be dangerous if you pass us on the wrong side.

Lastly, if you need to rest, try to rest on a switchback. Sometimes the distance between switchbacks is further and you may want to rest in between, but this causes congestion in mountain traffic and could add more risk to everyone on the path. Knowing where the switchbacks help when doing this, and we (as a family) had to rest a little more than everyone else, so be prepared for negativity up and down the mountain.

What else do I need to know about the mountain?

Aside from taking your time going up and down the mountain, the most important part is to be safe and have a positive mental attitude.

Negativity can really slow you down and discourage from reaching the top. However, I promise that once you reach the top, you will feel accomplished and encouraged. The top of the falls is serene and there is a small grove of trees, boulders, and shrubs for you to relax and regain your strength.

During our visit, I saw elderly individuals climb the mountain, people in wheelchairs, big dogs, little dogs, families with babies, and all different cultures in all different types of clothing. It truly is a sight and you won’t be disappointed if you make the climb.

The falls may only be 620 feet, but the mountain climb is 1 mile of winding and steep path with spots of gravel and tree roots bursting through. It’s important to realize what your plan is before you venture out. Safety is key when climbing Multnomah Falls.

Good luck!

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