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How Far is Multnomah Falls from Portland? | How to get there

most scenic drive to multnomah falls

How Far is Multnomah Falls from Portland? | How to get there

If you took a pen and drew a straight line on a flat map from Portland International Airport to Multnomah Falls it’s about 23 miles (36 km), give or take a few. Obviously that’s completely impossible to do, unless you had a magic carpet. But luckily there was an invention in the last century called the automobile, and with that invention came a system of highways and roads, so it makes things a bit easier. However, Multnomah Falls is pretty famous, some might say it’s an influencer in it’s own way, and that draws some pretty big crowds. Even so, it’s worth a visit.

Here are 3 Ways to get to Multnomah Falls by Road

The Historic Columbia River Gorge (Most Scenic)

State Route 14 in Washington State (Longest)

Interstate 84 in Oregon (Fastest)

Option 1: The Historic Columbia River Gorge – The Most Scenic Route

The most scenic way to drive from Portland, Oregon to Multnomah Falls is easily along I-84 and getting off the Interstate at Troutdale Exit 17 to take the Historic Columbia River Highway. This route might take a little more time, but worth it for the beautiful views along this tree-lined highway the follows along the Sandy River before heading up through the community of Corbett, Oregon. What’s interesting about this route is that before I-84 was built, this was the primary road for those traveling through the Gorge. Construction on this highway began in 1913 and was completed in 1922 with a total length of 75 miles, many of which you can still drive on today!

This is also the best way to see more than just Multnomah Falls! Once you pass through Corbett, you should stop at the Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint where you’ll be able to see the Vista House at Crown Point and eastward into the Columbia River Gorge! If you’re looking to spend much of the day, this is definitely the route you’ll want to take.

Main Points of Interest (from Portland to Multnomah Falls on the Historic Highway)

Sugarpine Drive-In

Sugarpine Drive-In is a fun place to stop on your way to Multnomah Falls when you’re coming in from Portland. This “destination drive-in” sits on the edge of the Sandy River in Troutdale, Oregon with seasonal menus and amazing soft serve ice cream sundaes!

Sugarpine is an excellent place to stop on the way into the Gorge or on the way out!

Portland to Multnomah Falls

Vista House at Crown Point

If you want an amazing view, then the Vista House at Crown Point is phenomenal. The historic Vista House building sits atop Crown Point overlooking the Columbia River Gorge with incredible views west into Portland and east toward Cascade Locks.

a castle with a mountain in the background

Latourell Falls

If you love waterfalls, you’ll love Latourell Falls. When coming from Portland, this is really the first prominent waterfall you’ll see, and it is a beauty. A quick hike to the lower falls takes you to a footbridge almost directly underneath the 249 foot tall waterfall! If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can hike the 2 mile loop to the upper falls for a relaxing nature walk.

drive to multnomah falls

Bridal Veil Falls

A trip to the waterfall corridor on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge isn’t complete with a bunch of stops at different waterfalls. That’s why Bridal Veil Falls should absolutely be on your list. This short walk to the waterfall is 100% worth it.

portland to multnomah falls

Option 2: State Route 14 in Washington State

Main Points of Interest (from Portland to Multnomah Falls via Washington State)

Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge

Located just south of Highway 14 near Washougal, Washington, and right across the Columbia River from Troutdale is this lovely wildlife refuge. Home to a nearly 3-mile trail allowing visitors to experience ponds, marshes, open fields, woodlands, and yes, the Columbia River. It’s an easy walk and a quick stop open year round.

Cape Horn Lookout

Cape Horn is really the first hike you’ll come to while driving east on Highway 14 in Washington through the Columbia River Gorge. With unbelievable views from every direction, there’s the Columbia River, rocky cliffs, streams, creaks, waterfalls, and wildlife. It’s an amazing place to hike, or just to stop and take in the view.

view points portland

Beacon Rock State Park

Beacon Rock is a unique natural feature in the Gorge originally named Beaten Rock by Lewis and Clark, later changed to Beacon Rock. Today, it serves as a popular hiking destination with a moderate hiking trail of switch backs up to the top providing another gorgeous view of the Gorge.

Bridge of the Gods

There’s a lot of history behind the name of the modern day Bridge of the Gods, but this bridge serves a purpose in connecting the U.S. states of Oregon and Washington, and also makes for a pretty spectacular view of the Gorge (common theme!).

Portland to Multnomah Falls

Eagle Creek & Punchbowl Falls

In 2017, Eagle Creek was the beginning point for a wildfire that started in the Columbia River Gorge. The fire rages for several days before rain provided some relief. Despite this, the Eagle Creek trail and Punchbowl Falls is still a beautiful and worthwhile stop during your travels.

drive to multnomah falls

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls is a powerful waterfall that should be your first stop when driving to Multnomah Falls from the east! You can park the car and walk across the street to snap some photos, or if you want to hike, you can head up the hill toward Ponytail falls, and even further toward Triple Falls! If you do choose to do that, be cautious as this area was ravaged by the 2017 wildfire, and can be treacherous at times.

Portland to Columbia River Gorge Oregon

Option 3: Interstate 84 – The Fastest Way to Get to Multnomah Falls

Main Points of Interest (from Portland to Multnomah Falls on Interstate 84)

McMenamins Edgefied in Troutdale

Edgefield is arguably the crown jewel of the McMenamins chain of location, so it’s a proper place to visit before or after visiting the crown jewel of the Columbia River Gorge. At Edgefield, you can eat, drink, relax, watch movies, play golf, take in live music, and a lot more.

drive to multnomah falls from portland

Sandy River Delta

If you have a dog with you, you’ll definitely want to stop here. Located at the confluence of the Sandy and Columbia rivers, this area has a myriad of walking trails perfect for an easy stroll to stretch your legs, or let your dog get some exercise.

Benson Lake

Only a mile west of Multnomah Falls, Benson Sate Recreation Area has a tranquil lake for swimming, fishing, paddle boarding, or just floating. The park is also home to a large picnic area and a disc golf course.


Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the best time of year to go?

That’s a hard question to answer, but the Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls is spectacular year-round. During the spring and summer, expect a lot more traffic and much larger crowds.

Which route is the best for scenery?

Option 1 driving the Historic Columbia River Highway from Troutdale to Multnomah Falls is definitely the most scenic.

This route has so many different places to stop for a quick break, take in the view, go for a hike, or set up base for a bike ride in the Gorge. The lush greenery of the Gorge, especially in spring and early summer, is a refreshing view, and being so close to Portland, it’s the perfect refuge for a little green therapy.

most scenic drive to multnomah falls

Is it worth driving to Multnomah Falls?

100% yes! Even if you don’t want to get out of the car and you just want to experience the Columbia River Gorge, it’s a fantastic place to go. Additionally, another exceptional way to experience the area is to enjoy an air tour like the Wonderful Waterfalls air tour or the Figure 8 air tour.