Multnomah Falls, Oregon
Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know
Everything the RV Renter Needs to Know
With its close proximity to Mt. Hood and the city of Portland, Oregon, it’s no wonder that Multnomah Falls is the single most popular natural tourist destination in the Pacific Northwest. More than two million visitors come out to the falls each year for a chance to stand on the famous bridge overlook and watch the water rush down the towering stone cliffs. If you’re planning a rented RV trip to the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls is sure to be the most memorable destination on your list. Here’s everything you need to know to explore the falls and everything else the Portland area has to offer in a camping trip.
When you arrive at Multnomah Falls, you’ll leave your RV in the parking lot and then set out on foot. You’ll start from Multnomah Falls Lodge (more on that below) and head out on a one-mile, one-way hike to the falls themselves. Much of that hike takes place along Trail 441, which is just one small portion of the bigger Multnomah-Wahkeena Trail Loop winding throughout the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
At a certain point, you’ll veer off down the trail to the falls, but you can continue your hike for miles through the rest of the area. Continuing just another mile takes you past an additional three waterfalls. Eventually, you’ll meet up with trail 420 which completes the loop up to Wahkeena Falls and, via trail 442, back to the Multnomah Falls Lodge. Check out the National Forest Service’s website for a full trail map.
After a mile of hiking, you’ll eventually make it to Multnomah Falls itself, where you’ll be able to enjoy the incredible view unlike anywhere else in the country. The viewing area for the falls is defined by the park’s famous bridge, which sits perpendicular to the falls and offers an unobstructed view of the waterfall.
For those who don’t want to make the trip up to the bridge, there’s an excellent viewing area below with stone benches, binoculars, and a wide deck for plenty of photos with the whole family. Photography is certainly a key draw to the falls, and between the lower viewing area and the bridge above, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to snag a fantastic shot worth printing and framing back home.
Sitting at the beginning and end of your trip to Multnomah Falls, Multnomah Falls Lodge is a historic building that functions as a welcome center to the park and a restaurant. Fill up before or after your hike to the falls and enjoy the full-service espresso bar for a quick pick-me-up. Visitors love to grab a snack from the snack bar and head out to the lodge’s deck, which offers a great, distant view of the waterfalls from down below. Of particular note are the hazelnut and marionberry milkshakes—a true taste of the Pacific Northwest!
The lodge’s gift shop is also a popular stop for visitors to the park. Grab a pin or t-shirt to commemorate your visit or send a postcard to friends and family back home. For more info on the Multnomah Falls Lodge, visit their website.
Multnomah Falls is just one part of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, which is ripe for exploration from behind the wheel of your RV rental. The area offers dozens of attractions and activities for an incredible nature getaway, from miles of hiking trails to boat launches and great fishing spots. A drive down the river promises excellent views of the river and Mt. Hood in the distance, and the trails are a great way to go deep into the wilderness to climb mountains, explore waterfalls, and catch a glimpse of the area’s wildlife.
The many estuaries and rivers crossing the landscape make this an area particularly well-suited for boating, whitewater rafting, and salmon or trout fishing. Make sure to look into all of the outfitters in the area to explore your options. The best place to start? The recreation page of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area website.
While the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is home to plenty of natural destinations like Multnomah Falls, its short distance from Portland means you can broaden your vacation to include the many sights and attractions that Rose City has to offer. Head into the city for an endless supply of dining options (more on those below!) and take some time to explore the city.
Portland is known for Powell’s Books, a massive bookstore spanning an entire city block where visitors can get lost for hours searching the stacks and shelves. The Portland Japanese Garden is a unique paradise located in the heart of the city and well worth an afternoon of peace and quiet. The city is also home to many stalwarts of the craft brewing industry. You can also enjoy a self-guided brewery tour or a guided tour from local favorite Brewvana. For a complete guide to the city’s attractions, check out the Travel Portland website.
Perhaps the closest RV resort to Multnomah Falls: Sandy Riverfront RV Resort in Troutdale, Oregon, is the perfect place for a Columbia River Gorge home base. Enjoy a full hookup RV space along the banks of the Sandy River, and stay close to the beautiful falls and also the quaint frontier town of Troutdale, with all of its shops and restaurants.
Mt. Hood Village RV Resort in Welches, Oregon is an RV destination that truly embodies the spirit of the Pacific Northwest. In addition to its many amenities like two pools, a spa, a game room, and expansive hiking trails, Mt. Hood Village is known for its annual Huckleberry Festival and Salmon-Mushroom Festival—each worth building a trip around.
In Fairview, Oregon just eight miles outside Portland, Fairview RV Park is an excellent midway point between the rugged nature of the Columbia River Gorge and the urban amenities of Portland. The park itself is peaceful and promises quaint nature walks along its stream, but also puts you in close proximity to incredible restaurants and shopping in the Portland area.
Few RV parks are as aptly named as Columbia River RV Park, which is located in Portland right on the Columbia River. It’s located right across the street from a marina and within spitting distance of Portland International Airport and downtown Portland itself. The park offers full hookup RV sites for vehicles of any size.
Located just over the Columbia River and a sister park to Columbia River RV Park, Van Mall RV Park in Vancouver, Washington is another great option that puts you close to both Multnomah Falls and the broader Portland area. Enjoy spacious, full hookup RV sites, Wi-Fi and cable, and a recreation room at this no-frills RV park.
The restaurant inside the Multnomah Falls Lodge is a must-visit when exploring the area. Offering incredible breakfasts, lunch, and dinner options with a focus on using traditional Pacific Northwest ingredients, guests love a visit to the falls just for the chance to grab a bite. Favorites include trout and eggs or hazelnut-crusted French toast for breakfast, local fish and chips for lunch, and prime rib for dinner.
Portland is known throughout the nation as a true culinary destination with offerings to suit any palate. Locals debate between Voodoo Donuts and Blue Star Donuts for a breakfast treat. Pok Pok is a Thai fusion restaurant famous for its sticky chicken wings and papaya salad. Salt and Straw put craft ice cream on the map. If you really want a large variety of options, check out Pine Street Market, a food hall with unique offerings like an authentic Japanese ramen chain and a Spanish-inspired rotisserie restaurant.
For a complete listing of dining options in Portland, visit the city’s tourism website.