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Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls, OR

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Guide 29 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List OR > North Central
5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Loop 4.71 miles
Trailhead Elevation 102 feet
Elevation Gain 1,474 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,624 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 12.83
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack Connecting Only
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
4  2018-12-24 keepmoving
5  2018-12-09 keepmoving
6  2018-11-26 keepmoving
6  2013-04-29 keepmoving
11  2010-12-28
Wahkeena Springs Loop
1  2010-12-22 jaboneagar
18  2010-03-05
Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena Falls Loop
Author keepmoving
author avatar Guides 34
Routes 206
Photos 1,847
Trips 517 map ( 3,846 miles )
Age 33 Male Gender
Location Portland, OR
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, Oct, Mar, Apr → Any
Seasons   ALL
Sun  5:49am - 6:16pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
More waterfalls than you can count!
by keepmoving

Likely In-Season!
If you enjoy waterfalls, then this trail is for you! It is one of the best trails the Pacific Northwest has to offer and takes you past the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon, along with countless other waterfalls. Take your camera with you and prepare to have fun!

You can hike this loop in whatever direction you choose, but I would highly recommend starting from Wahkeena Falls and hiking counterclockwise (as the following text will describe). I find it easier to take in the beauty of Wahkeena Creek when you are headed uphill and it gives you a good reason to pause and catch your breath. The other nice part about going counterclockwise is that your first view of Multnomah Falls will be looking from the top down. If you have never seen the falls before, it can be quite a surprise to suddenly find yourself standing atop a 600+ foot waterfall looking down on the parking lot far below.

The park service maps all show this trail as 5.5 miles in length, but my GPS clocks it at 4.71. I opted to trust my GPS for the mileage.

I once read that Multnomah Falls is the most popular hike in Oregon. Driving past the falls on a summer afternoon leaves little doubt in my mind that this is true. However, despite most of the trail being family friendly, there are a couple of narrow rocky sections above Multnomah Falls with significant exposure. In the winter the trail is often slick from rain or fog, and can get icy in some places. If you have young children or dogs, please keep them close as you traverse the narrow sections- hikers have fallen and died in the past.

From Wahkeena Falls, head uphill along the paved path and follow the trail as it quickly begins to gain elevation. The trail will soon cut back towards Wahkeena Creek and cross the bridge that you could see from the parking lot. Beyond the bridge, the trail will switchback steeply up the hill for the next half mile before you reach the top of a ridge above Wahkeena Falls. Here, a short walk to your right will take you to Lemmon's Viewpoint, named after a local firefighter that died in a fire.

Back on Wahkeena Trail, you will pass a sign marking Monument Viewpoint (closed indefinitely) and the trail will change from asphalt to dirt. The trail now closely follows the creek as it crosses a couple small wooden bridges and works its way up canyon. About a quarter mile from the viewpoint you will encounter a small wooden bench at the base of Fairy Falls.

Shortly beyond Fairy Falls you will have the option to turn left onto Viewpoint Trail #419 or continue straight on Wahkeena Trail #420. Both trails will take you to the same place, but Wahkeena Trail will save you about a 1/4 mile and keep you along the creek. Viewpoint Trail is longer, a little steeper in places, and doesn't offer much of a view so I would recommend saving your energy and sticking to Wahkeena Trail.

Continuing along Wahkeena Trail past the Viewpoint turnoff, we gain a bit more elevation before leveling out at the junction with Angels Rest Trail #415. Here we turn left and begin the final climb of the loop. But if you need a quick break before the final climb- you could follow the path to the right about 100 yards to Wahkeena Springs for a quick rest at a nice shady spot.

Beyond #415, Wahkeena heads steeply uphill for its final climb before depositing you at a nice clearing on a ridge with several trail markers. I have spoken to many hikers at this junction that have asked for directions, but I have never understood what the issue is- the signage seems very clear to me. If have a trail map or read the signs, you really shouldn't have any issues. You simply follow the the signs for Wahkeena Trail #420 towards Multnomah Falls. You will pass Viewpoint Trail on your left, then about 20 yards later you pass Devils Rest Trail on your right. If the trail you are on drops straight down or immediately climb uphill, you have most likely chosen the wrong trail!

Wahkeena Trail will very gradually begin to loose elevation as it counters along the hillside and heads towards Multnomah Creek. A bit over a mile past the last junction, you will reach a trail marker telling you have arrived at Larch Mtn Trail #441, turn left here and follow the signs to Multnomah Falls. The trail will gradually lead you closer to the Creek. In short order you will pass Ecola Falls, Weisendanger Falls, and Dutchman Falls. You will then reach a trail marker for Perdition Trail (closed indefinitely) and cross over Multnomah Creek on a small concrete bridge. The trail will head uphill, but you will soon encounter a sign on your left pointing to the Multnomah Falls Overlook. A short 5 minute stroll down this trail and you will find yourself standing on a viewing platform on the edge of Multnomah Falls.

When you are done taking in the view, return to the main trail and follow it about 100 feet to the top of the hill. You will pass over the hill and now follow the asphalt path as it switchbacks steeply down the hillside to the base of Multnomah Falls. Once at the base of the falls, follow the left shoulder of the parking lot about 100 yards to the marked sign for the return trail to Wahkeena Falls. In the summer, many hikers try to walk along the roadway between Wahkeena and Multnomah Falls instead of using the return trail. Please do not do this- the road is very narrow with no shoulder and people drive way too fast!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2015-08-20 keepmoving
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 19 deeper Triplog Reviews
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Ran clockwise from Wahkeena Falls. Started around 19:30, low 80s, clear skies, mostly dry trail, moderate/heavy traffic up to the Benson Bridge, then empty beyond.

    I have been plagued with calf injuries as of late, so this is my first time back running the loop in what feels like forever. Recently I have been just doing short runs on pavement which really doesn't satisfy me. I knew today wouldn't be a speed record, but I was still surprised by how slow my time was. Right from the start my glutes and quads were sore (it was leg day this morning and I ran a couple miles too).

    As I progressed around the loop I noticed my pace was dropping further and further behind my normal time window. When I reached the Devils Rest junction I was so far behind that I decided to just take a casual approach to the downhill instead of barrelling downhill and risking an injury on a non PR run.

    Times were as follows:
    06:00 Base of Multnomah Falls
    23:00 Top of Multnomah Falls
    28:00 Weisendanger Falls
    36:00 Larch Junction
    50:00 Devils Split
    1:15:28 Finished
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Started around 18:00. 70 degrees and sunny out, beautiful day, dry trail. Not many people out which was surprising since the weather was so nice.

    Ran clockwise from Wahkeena to Multnomah, while Mel headed straight up Wahkeena. The goal was to race and see who could make it to the Devils Rest Junction first. Right before we started a female runner started heading up Wahkeena Falls, I assumed that she was there to run the loop, so I made a mental note to push the pace a bit and see if I could finish before her.

    When I reached the top of Multnomah Falls I passed a guy right where the trail crosses the creek. He started jogging/power walking behind me, so it felt like we were racing which was fun. 4 minutes before reaching the Devils Rest junction I passed the female runner as she was making her way downhill the opposite way.

    When I got to the Devils Rest split Mel was already there waiting (having won by about 4-5 minutes). I was hoping the guy that was running behind me would have followed me down Vista, but he veered left and took the shorter descent down Wahkeena.

    I'm pretty good at the downhill section, so I pushed the pace to see if I could still beat him down. The Vista split is more challenging to run on, and its an extra 3/10 of a mile, so I didn't know if I stood a chance or not, but I went all out. About a minute or two after rejoining the main Wahkeena Trail I looked up to see the other guy a switchback or two above me- my hard work paid off and I was able to get back in front of him and stay there for the remainder of the way down.

    00:05 Multnomah Falls
    00:08 Benson Bridge
    00:22 Top of Multnomah Falls
    00:31 Larch Junction (best guess)
    00:44 Devils Rest
    01:00 Base of Wahkeena Switchbacks
    01:03:36 Finished
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Back in July I woke up one morning with my right leg almost completely numb from the knee down. It felt like my leg had simply fallen asleep and I assumed it would wake up as the day went on, but as I tried to get ready for work I fell multiple times and realized that it was probably something more serious.

    I met with several doctors and neurologists over the coming weeks and was eventually diagnosed with a pinched nerve somewhere in my lower back that was affecting my leg. I was told that there was a 90% chance that my leg would get better, but it could take awhile. Over the past year my leg has been slowly improving to the point where I finally felt comfortable starting to do some easy pavement runs starting in March and then graduating to easy trail runs. Multnomah Falls is my all time favorite run, and although my leg isn't yet 100%, I decided it was time to finally return to the trail and see what my leg could do.

    Hit the Wahkeena parking lot around 14:30 and was surprised to find that it was only about half full. The trail was wet and it was cloudy/foggy and sprinkling very lightly, temperature showed 57 degrees. I ran clockwise from Wahkeena and kept an easy pace. I hit the normal traffic headed up Multnomah Falls and found one last lingering patch of snow on the next to Weisendanger Falls, but overall there were no real issues. I kept expecting my right foot to stumble and cause me to fall, but it performed adequately and caused no problems.

    00:22 Top of Multnomah Falls
    00:35 Larch Mtn split
    00:47 Devils Rest split
    1:02 Lemon's viewpoint
    1:08:08 finished! (My first run last year was slower at 1:08:43)

    I probably pushed it faster than I should have on the downhill section, I would have been happy hitting anything from 1:15 to 1:20, but when I realized I could finish under 1:10 I couldn't help myself. I still don't have complete movement of my right foot which results in it being a little "floppy" when I accelerate, but I was able to make it down without any issues.
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    70 Degrees. 80% humidity. Evening run. Sunny out, but trail was mostly shaded. Very heavy traffic on Multnomah Falls up to the top, then no issues. Mostly dry trail, except for the usual problem spots.

    Ran clockwise from Wahkeena. I didn't know what to expect since this was my 2nd run of the day, and last time I tried this I clocked my slowest time of the season. But my legs felt great and I beat my best time of the season by 2 minutes!!!!

    Very heavy traffic headed up Multnomah Falls. Even for 7:30pm, I was surprised how many people were out there. I wish people would learn to move to one side of the trail and not let their children run loose. It felt like every time I tried to pass the people wouldn't move over for me. But somehow I still made great time to the top of Multnomah Falls, and after that I only encountered 1 other person on trail for the rest of the run.

    By the time I reached Devils Junction I knew that I was on pace for a potential sub 1 hour run, so I pushed as best I could on the downhill. Some of the upper sections are getting overgrown, making a fast pace difficult to maintain. The setting sun was also shining through the trees in a couple of the sketchy sections, making footwork a bit difficult. Didn't manage to finish under an hour, but still happy with the time.
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    83°. 60% Humidity. Ran from about 1930-2030. Light traffic until the last couple hundred yards from Benson Bridge to the base of the falls. Mostly dry trail.

    Ran counterclockwise from Multnomah Falls to Wahkeena and back around. Felt really good on the uphill portions. Thought I would easily come in under an hour, but it wasn't meant to be. I'm particularly disappointed that my uphill splits were so close to my previous counter clockwise run where I messed up my right calf on the downhill, but I beat that time by less than a minute?!? Ugh ](*,)

    I did loose about 5-10 seconds at the base of Multnomah Falls where a huge crowd was gathered. I veered left to go around them and mistakenly followed the longer ramp path instead of running down the steps like I usually do.

    00:06 Base of Wahkeena
    00:17 Top of Wahkeena
    00:23 Fairy Falls
    00:25 Vista Split
    00:38 Devils Junction
    00:46 Larch/Multnomah Junction
    00:55 Top of Multnomah Falls
    01:00 Gorge Trail #400 Junction
    01:03:20 Finished
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Started just before 20:00. Partly cloudy. Mid 70s out. Light traffic. Mostly dry trail until I started dropping along Wahkeena Creek after Vista Trail where the trail became a bit slick.

    2nd run of the day. Wasn't sure how well I was going to do- but was excited to give it a shot. Set out for an evening run to minimize the number of people on the trail and make sure I could get a parking spot- which worked out very well for me. Ran from Wahkeena to Multonmah and back around (clockwise).

    My legs (specifically glutes) were pretty sore/tired right off the bat. I tried to just keep an easy pace on the section to Multnomah Falls in hopes of loosening up my legs. Fell into a decent rhythm by the time I started climbing Multnomah Falls and didn't have any issues passing people once I was beyond the Benson Bridge. After passing the top of Multnomah Falls, I had the trail all to myself until I passed Lemon's Viewpoint on the way back down.

    Most of the trail was dry except for the section of Wahkeena between the Vista Trail and Lemon's Viewpoint. By this time I already knew I wasn't going to break an hour, and wasn't on track to beat this season's PR, so I backed off significantly to avoid falling. And while there was still plenty of light to hike, the setting sun and thick canopy of trees combined to make it ever so difficult to see the rocks and roots in the trail while running, which added to the hazard.

    So far this is my slowest time of the season, which is a bit disappointing. No injuries or cramps which have held me back on my previous runs. Comparing my splits to previous efforts, it looks like my uphill was on par with previous times, but I somehow lost about 5 minutes on the downhill. I know I was holding back a bit, but it didn't feel that significant.... Oh well. It was still a good run and I'm proud of my effort after beating my Park Loop Trail PR earlier in the afternoon.

    :06 Base of Multnomah
    :23 Top of Multnomah
    :29 Weisendanger Falls
    :36 Larch Mtn Split
    :49 Devils Junction
    :57? Back on Wahkeena
    :59 Fairy Falls
    1:09:41 Base of Wahkeena
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Ran counterclockwise starting from Multnomah Falls. 0730 start, only encountered 5 people on the trail until I passed the Multnomah Falls viewpoint on the way down. Upper 50s/Low 60s. 30% humidity. Sunny out, but trail was mostly in the shade since I got an early start.

    My right calf was a little tight by the time I hit the base of Wahkeena Falls. But once I started heading uphill and my quads took over the tightness dissipated. Felt pretty good on the way uphill and managed to run the entire length. Trail was almost completely dry.

    Once I hit the devils rest junction and started heading downhill my calf started bugging me again. I tried to slow down a little, but I was on course for a sub 1 hour run, so I pushed on. Shortly before intersecting with Larch Mtn Trail I stumbled and over extended my right foot, messing up my calf. The rest of the way down I was forced to slow my pace substantially, but still finished with my best overall time of the season. Had it not been for my calf, I think I would have finished under an hour.

    I'm getting tired of being injured. First it was my left calf, now it's my right. Ugh.

    00:16- Top of Wahkeena
    00:24- Vista Trail Split
    00:37- Devils Rest Junction
    00:46 or 48- Larch Mtn Junction.
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Thought my left calf had healed enough that I could start running again- but it hasn't. Tried to start out from Multnomah Falls on the return trail to Wahkeena, but started experiencing left calf pain before I reached Wahkeena Falls, so I stopped and walked back. Never felt so defeated before. :(
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Did the loop clockwise, starting from Wahkeena. 63 degrees out and mostly cloudy. 80% of the trail was dry- no major traction issues. Moderate traffic and no problems passing people. Got off to a slow start, but found a nice rhythm above Multnomah Falls.

    9 - Benson Bridge
    23 - Top of Multnomah Falls
    36 - Larch Mtn Split
    48 - Devils Rest Split
    55 - Vista Point/Wahkeena Split
    1:00 - Lemmon's Viewpoint
    1:04:51 Finished
    Wahkeena Falls to Multnomah Falls
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    First run of the new year. Started from Wahkeena running clockwise. I was hoping to run the loop in 1:10 - 1:15, but I didn't think that was totally realistic. I have been focusing on weight training recently and it has been months since I did anything remotely resembling cardio.

    I managed to make it to the top of Multnomah Falls in 23 minutes, which surprised me since its almost on track with my typical pace. I then made it to the Larch split at 35 minutes, and the Devils Rest junction at 49 minutes. I probably could have gone a little faster on the downhill section to make up some time, but I was breaking in a new pair of shoes and wanted to try save my knees from taking too much of a pounding.

    Overall, not a bad start for the first run of the year. I am optimistic that I can drop my time into the low 50s by the race in September.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Portland, drive east on I84 to exit 28, marked as Historic Columbia River Highway/Bridal Veil. Follow the road for about a 1/4 mile, then turn left at the stop sign. Follow the historic highway a couple of miles to the marked parking lot for Wahkeena Falls.
    page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Aug 20 2015 4:53 am
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