Multnomah Creek is a beauty. A steep and classic example of the ruggedness of the Pacific Northwest. The falls drops in two major steps, split into an upper falls of 542 feet and a lower falls at 69 feet. It is also the most visited tourist attraction in Oregon, having over 2 million visitors each year. The trail leads past Multnomah Lodge and across Benson Bridge acceding to the upper portion of the creek.
There are many smaller falls upstream as you ascend the creek. Hidden Falls and Weisendanger Falls marks a potential put-in if you are going to explore with your kayak. In the early 2000’s a group of paddlers made the first descent on Multmomah creek (Trip Report can be found on Oregonkayaking.net) putting in below Weisendanger and paddling down to Mutlnomah and taking out well before the 600ft. horizon line. A couple years later a group of paddlers went up to run Weisendanger, To my knowledge one person claimed the first desent before another paddler suffered a minor injury and the group left. With the amount of tourist activity at the base of the creek it is next to impossible to hike up the trail with your boat on your shoulder without being asked a million questions (Mostly if you are going to to run off Multnomah Falls). I was stopped by park rangers on my first attempt (They said it was illegal) so I turned around and left to go figure out a better way in. That better way was only due to not being seen, but the trail was a little more difficult. Ely Pyke, Josh White and I did a little warm up on lower Bridal Veil then drove over to Wahkeena Falls and hiked up the trail to Larch Mountain then made our way over to Multnomah Creek and dropped in on Hidden Falls and Weisendanger Falls. Ely ran Weisendanger twice that day while Josh and I looked on with excitement. On the second run Ely said he hit something pretty hard on the landing after over rotating a bit. The waterlevel was a little low and the more water the better for this falls. After the excitement we hiked down the trail to the parking lot. We didn’t get as many questions on the way down as you do on the way up… If you really want to run this section of whitewater be careful and plan ahead. I’d put this one on the Mission Impossible list unless you are willing to hike in the back way, but even then it is well worth the adventure.
Flow: The flow in Multnomah Creeks comes from underground springs from Larch Mountain. Spring snow melt (rain on top of snow) is best for peak flows.
More pics of the whitewater coming soon…