Over Canadian Thanksgiving weekend in 2016 Kyle and I drove from Vancouver down to Portland for the weekend. True to our style, we camped in the back of our truck and hiked/explored the Portland area for the weekend. (if you are looking for a website with free campsites check out freecampsites.net ) we have used it on numerous trips across the US and never had any issues. It was incredibly rainy for the most of the weekend, yet we still fell in love with this area of the States! If you haven’t been, I highly recommend making the drive.
As part of many things we did that weekend, I wanted to share one of our hikes. We hiked in the Columbia Gorge Area at a spot called Multnomah Falls, located HERE on Google Maps. I have never hiked such a short hike with so many beautiful waterfalls. To get to the hike from downtown Portland we drove along a beautiful stretch of road called the Historic Columbia River Highway. There were many beautiful spots to hop out of the car for photos.
Once you make it to Multnomah Falls there are plenty of hikes to take part in. For those who are only there to see the main waterfalls, the good news in you can park your car and don’t have to do any walking :). Here are some photos of what you can see from just a short walk from your car.
After checking out the beautiful falls, for those that are in for a short hike there is a 2.7 mile “Loop 1” you can walk along, and there is also a 5.2 mile “Loop 2”, which is the one we did. Take a look at the map for details. We found the trail to be quite popular and busy, which was helpful because it wasn’t especially well marked. We never actually got lost but there were a few stream crossings and sketchy points where we were happy to be able to ask around for the next directions. Be sure you have your map with you.
The start of Loop 2 begins with a pretty major ascent up to the Multnomah Falls Lookout. If you are a seasoned hiker you will have no problem, but we saw many families with children as well as people in jeans/people who didn’t appear to be regular hikers trudging up the hill. For those of you who hike around Vancouver- you could think of this part of the hike as pretty Grouse Grindish. You do most of the total climbing of the trail in the first section. You could consider hiking the trail in the opposite direction and that would mean descending this portion instead of ascending.
Once you reach the falls lookout, it’s all fun and games from there! You meander for the rest of the hike through a variety of terrain (quite slippery at times) and get the most beautiful view of more than a handful of waterfalls.
You might even spot some deer too! These guys were super close to the trail, and were clearly not startled by us. If was beautiful to watch them up close.
Besides the first ascent to the top of the falls lookout (which many people were hiking up and right back down) the rest of the hike was moderately difficult. There weren’t many other inclines, yet the trail was a little bit technical at times with some rocks to maneuver over etc. so consider wearing hiking boots.
Check out the Columbia River Gorge webpage for more details on the falls, as well as a link to a PDF which has both the loop hikes listed. https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/crgnsa/recarea/?recid=30026
With plenty of rest and photo breaks, snack breaks, and time to enjoy the scenery this hike took us 3 hours. If you are a slow hiker, or like more breaks budget for 4-5.
Oh and don’t forget the most important part- stop in at the shop and lodge on the way back for a treat!!!!
I look forward to heading back to Portland and hiking more of Oregon’s beautiful hikes.
And just for fun, I thought I would throw in some photos of some of our other highlights from the trip:
And the drive home was lovely. We chose to take the long route and head out to the coast and follow route 101 back up towards Seattle.
Well, I hope you have a great time if you head out in this direction. Let me know if there are any hikes in the Portland area that you recommend for me!