Timed-Entry Permits Are Back at Multnomah Falls
It’s that time of year again when the Oregon Department of Transportation and US Forest Service put timed-entry permits in place for visitors seeking to behold the 620-foot Multnomah Falls.
But in 2023, visitors will only need a permit if they’re planning to park at Exit 31 off Interstate 84, a change from last year which saw both I-84 and Highway 30 regulated for congestion. Permits will be required only from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Friday, May 26 and lasting through September 4. The practice was first used in 2020 when the falls reopened to visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
With more than two million visitors annually, Multnomah Falls is one of the most visited recreation sites in the Pacific Northwest. It’s also a staple among Portland-area residents looking to poke their head in on their way to and coming home from recreating in the Columbia River Gorge and beyond.
If you’re planning a visit, you’ll need to go online and pay a $2 fee to obtain a permit for a one-hour window in which you’ll be arriving at the falls. Once parked, permit holders can stay at the falls as long as they’d like—great news for people looking to hike to the top of the falls, the three smaller falls beyond Multnomah, and even higher destinations such as Larch Mountain and Sherrard Point.
If timed arrival and figuring out how to make a reservation sound like too much of a fuss, you can also chase waterfalls via bus by making use of the Columbia Area Transit (CAT) system, which is part of the “Gorge Pass” allowing annual access to several interconnected transit systems in the region. The Columbia Gorge Express transports riders from the Gateway Transit Center in Portland all the way out to The Dalles with seven daily buses starting at 7:50 a.m. and coming every two-to-three hours until the final bus at 6:40 p.m.
You can also skip the tourist trap and head straight for these waterfall hikes which don't require a permit.