Well, this is the one all of Portland loads up into their cars on the weekend to see. BUSY! Third-overflow-parking-lot-full busy. If you can camp nearby and get cracking at dawn, you'll do just fine.
Multnomah is iconic, that's for sure. With it's gracefull double-drop and picturesque stone bridge. It deserves the throngs, and I guess the overpriced gift shop and latte cart just come with the territory.
But, like most such places, the 40 minute rule applies: hike away from the parking lot for 40 minutes and you'll lose 95% of the crowd.
In this case, you'll be stomping up 11 conveniently labelled switchbacks (4 of 11!) on a paved walkway until you are high, high above the strollers and picnickers because you, my friend, are a *hiker*.
2.4 miles, shortly after the pinnacle of the switchbacks, you come across the dark and subtle Dutchman Falls.
A little farther along is a Tolkien-esque gully with my favourite of all the 20-odd falls I saw on my Oregon trip. It is not the most powerful, or tallest, and is entirely bereft of cutesy stone bridges... yet has a quality to it that is... transformative. The name "Weisendanger" doesn't exactly capture its essence... but what can ya do?
It's another half-mile to the junction (go right and up for the loop) with trail 420, which traverses a startlingly dry forest slope for another mile before meeting with Trail 419, which descends toward Wahkeena falls.
Fairy Falls is another delightful cascade along the return route, and from there it is a series of wet and sloppy (spring) switchbacks until you return to that certain sign of civilization: pavement.
Even after all the falls on this trail, Wahkeena is still a pleasant sight. From here, it's half a mile to the Wahkena parking lot, or a track through the forest (yet another half mile) leads back to Multnomah lodge.
From I-84 take exit 28 Bridal Veil, then head East on the Gorge Scenic HWY.
Speed limit is 20 around the lodge, and is TEEMING with pedestrians, so be careful. The trail starts from the viewpoint of the falls.
Alternately, stop at Wahkeena picnic area and do the trail in reverse. If you're an early riser and hope to beat the crowds, however, going clockwise is your best bet.
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Posted By: earth_artist
- Fri Sep 06 06:20:08 UTC 2013
UpsideBeautiful. Easy access. DownsideAreas can get a little dark and at times crowded with tour buses. CommentOne of the most memorable places I've been. Amazing interaction with the various falls and great variety of photographic shots and walks.