Due to rockfall, most of the the Multnomah-Wahkeena Falls Loop trail system sadly is currently closed. From the Multnomah Falls trailhead, the trail remains open until Benson Bridge. From the Wahkeena Falls trailhead, the trail is open for 1.5 miles and is closed at the intersection with the Devil’s Rest trail. We hope to see this trail open up in the next few years, but safety is most important. We hope you’ll get a chance to get out and do the parts that are open.
Even though it’s been almost 2 years since the Eagle Creek Fire, the evidence is everywhere on hikes like this. There are still quite a few trials closed that were closer to the start of the fire, like Oneonta Gorge, Triple Falls, and Wahclella but crews have been working hard to get trails reopened. Two trails that are officially open are the Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Hike and Angels Rest! We were thankful to get back in the gorge for The Wahkeena Falls hike and hope you get a chance to do this amazing hike soon!
Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop Hike Overview
Distance: 4.9 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,446 feet
Seasons: Year Round
What You See: Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Ecola Falls, Weisendanger Falls, Dutchman Falls and Multnomah Falls (A total of 6 waterfalls!)
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.57535 -122.12809
Directions from Portland, take I-84E to exit 28, drive about 2.7 miles down the Historic Highway, the Wahkeena Falls Trailhead is located on the right. If you’re wanting to start at Multnomah Falls, continue down the Historic Highway just under half a mile.
We started on a January morning, that just happened to be both sunny and beautiful! We always try to get an early start for weekend hikes, and were glad to get to the start of the trailhead before 9:00am since parking spots fill up quickly. The earlier the better! We started at the Wahkeena Falls Trailhead but you also can start at Multnomah Falls Trailhead. Something to keep in mind, the closer you get to Multnomah Falls the busier the trail gets (especially if you get a later start).
Start of Your Hike
The trail starts with quite a few switch backs up to Wahkeena Falls and Lemmons Viewpoint. It’s only about .2 miles up to Wahkeena Falls, so it is a great falls to go see with your family, but you’ll want to continue on for the full loop. Lemmons Viewpoint is not part of the loop, but it’s worth walking out to because the views of the Gorge are beautiful.
We continued to gain the majority of our elevational in the first two miles, which is why this hike is rated hard. Lots of switch backs, a few waterfall crossings make this hike a bit more challenging then others. I will say that I have done much harder hikes then this trail, so while most websites give the trail a hard rating, it’s more in-between moderate and hard to me.
Some things to keep in mind because of the eagle creek fire, is that the landscape is always changing. Things like loose rock and falling limbs could create hazardous conditions. We did not experience any falling tree limbs, but I think it’s good to keep these things in the back of your mind so you’re always prepared.
Signs of the Eagle Creek Fire
Though we’re so thankful the trails are back open, it’s very humbling and sad to see the damage done to the area. A lot of burnt trees passed the point of making it. However, even through great devastation, there is a lot of new growth coming in and not all the trees are completely gone. We know after a few years the forest will continue to grow and rebuild itself.
You get to see a lot of beautiful falls on this hike, but I think my favorite of the ones we passed was Weisendanger Falls. Multnomah Falls will always have my heart, but this little falls was just so beautiful and a highlight of our hike for sure! There’s room to walk up to the falls too!
You Made it To Multnomah Falls!
This was the part of the trail that got really busy. Granted it was a Saturday, and at this point it was probably getting close to noon, so there was a lot of tourist hiking the Upper Multnomah Falls trail. If you do start after 9:00am it may be beneficial to start at Multnomah and finish at Wahkeena because of the crowds. It’s still beautiful, just be prepared for a lot of people the closer you get to the Lodge.
The view on the way down is beautiful!
WHAT WE PACKED
Pack hiking shoes with good tread on them, lunch and wear layered clothing. I recommend wearing water resistant clothing, and things that are breathable. There is a lot of moisture in the air, that if you’re wearing cotton it may be uncomfortable later on in the hike.
- Water (Here’s the bladder we use for longer hikes)
- Water Bottle (32 or 40 oz), We love Hydroflask bottles
- Hiking Boots
- Lunch (I like to pack my lunch in Stasher bags to help with creating less trash)
- Backpack, one similar to ours
- Lightweight Jacket
- Download AllTrails so you have your route on your phone
Overall this hike was awesome and I would recommend to anyone! If you’re looking for other hikes to add to your summer time list check out Ramona Falls and Tamanawas Falls
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