Multnomah Falls is a waterfall located in Multnomah County, Oregon, inside the Columbia River Gorge, thirty miles east of Portland, Oregon. It is 620 feet tall, making it the highest waterfall in Oregon. The falls is located and visible right alongside Interstate 84, making it an easily accessible tourist location.

The Columbia River Gorge has many waterfalls, although Multnomah Falls is the most spectacular. The formation of these waterfalls goes back 10,000 years, to the Missoula Floods, when a glacial lake in Western Montana broke its glacial dam, sending hundreds of square miles of water flowing down river over the course of several days. At this time, the bed of the Columbia was much higher than it was today, but the force of the water --- a thousand feet tall and traveling at 60 miles per hour --- scoured the sediment at the bottom of the river. Thus, the bed of the Columbia, which at one time was roughly even with its tributaries, dropped hundreds of feet, and its tributaries now entered it as dramatic waterfalls over sheer basalt cliffs.

The falls has a trail that leads from the parking area and lodge at the bottom to the very top of the falls, and including a trip over a classic concrete arch pedestrian bridge that is usually the centerpiece of photographs of the falls. Because the falls are so heavily visited, the trail is very well maintained, and despite its gain in elevation, is a fairly simple hike.

While Multnomah Falls is a truly great scenic wonder, I (along with many people from Portland) have the same problem that many natives have with tourist destinations: I view them rarely, if at all. Although I have driven by the falls scores of times along I-84, I think the last time I visited it was 1983. Although it is acceptable for me as a native to miss climbing the falls, any visitor to Oregon should visit them.

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