Upper Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, USA by Robert Elenbaas

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My wife and I took a wonderful road trip a few years back to parts of northern California and Oregon. We live near Phoenix in central Arizona, where the summer temperatures are a bit on the warm side. So we often head to northern, cooler climes for a few weeks. This particular trip included a week around Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. There is a really nice loop hike that starts at the base of the famous Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon. The trail climbs to the top of Multnomah Falls before then winding past Wiesendanger Falls, Fairy Falls, and Wahkeena Falls. Renamed in 1997 after Albert Wiesendanger, a Forest Service Ranger who was the driving force behind the Keep Oregon Green Initiative, the falls has also been known as Upper Multnomah Falls, Double Falls, and Twanklaskie Falls.

Regardless what you choose to call it, the beautiful 50-foot falls sits in a serene, shady bowl surrounded by lush vegetation and moss-covered boulders and tree stumps. Because this loop hike of about 5 and a half miles includes 1600 feet of elevation gain (and loss), you won’t find the crowds and tourist buses so common at the highly visited Multnomah Falls down below. Well worth the effort!

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