Widely advertised as the 4th tallest waterfall in the United States (which it is not, more later), and named in virtually every World Book and Almanac under the "tallest waterfalls of the world" section, Multnomah Falls is the undisputed best waterfall in Oregon. The falls are usually cited as dropping 611 feet, 542 feet in the upper and 69 feet in the lower tier. This is close enough, but to argue semantics, there is a small cascade between the two and a 10 foot fall immediately above the main drop which is sometimes called Little Multnomah Falls (it really shouldn't be considered a separate fall), which would bring the total height of the series to about 630 feet. Either way, its near impossible to visit this waterfall and not let your jaw hang a little in awe of the sheer size of the fall. As far as the claim that Multnomah Falls is the 4th tallest in the US, this is flat out wrong. Its also often said to be the second tallest perennial waterfall in the nation, also a false statement (see the Articles link above for more information). This is more than likely due to poor research having been done in the past in regard to the tallest waterfalls in the nation and perhaps a little of an attempt to secure a 'claim to fame' for Oregon. In any case, take a stroll to the Benson bridge for an unforgettable view of the best falls in Oregon, or grab some (good) coffee in the restaurant and be off to explore the waterfalls above Multnomah.
- Multnomah Falls is the Official name of this waterfall.
The first whites to see Multnomah Falls were those among the Lewis and Clark expedition as they floated down the Columbia River. It isn't known exactly who named the falls, but the name has been in use since at least 1860, and according to "Oregon Geographic Names" its theorized that one S.G. Reed may have named the falls to popularize it as an attraction on Steamboat tours of the Columbia Gorge.
Drive east from Portland on I-84 to the Multnomah Falls exit (Exit 31) and proceed under the highway to the lodge and falls, or take the Scenic Highway from Troutdale, and proceed 1/2 mile east from Wahkeena Falls to the parking area. The falls are signed profusely so you shouldn't have any trouble locating it.