An Original Showcase for the Scenic Columbia River Highway: The Dramatic Trail from Multnomah Falls to Sherrard Point


The Larch Mountain Trail begins at the Multnomah Falls Lodge, about 50 feet above sea level, and ends at Sherrard Point, 4,000 feet higher. The seven-mile Trail is never real steep, thanks to the old trail builders who used plenty of dynamite to maintain a steady grade.

This is one of the classic hikes in the Columbia River Gorge, completed in 1915 as a showcase for the new Scenic Columbia River Highway.

Many decades ago, heartier lads than I would close out the bars in Portland and jump a train heading up the Gorge. They would get off  at Multnomah Falls and make the climb to Sherrard Point to watch the sun come up. Try that sometime!

Hikers today park at the large parking area off of Interstate 84 near the Multnomah Falls Lodge. The first mile of the hike is on a paved path gaining 700 feet to the top of the top of the Falls. The next four miles are a gem, always staying near Multnomah Creek in a deep canyon with multiple waterfalls.

620-foot Multnomah Falls above the Benson Footbridge

Cliff Penstemon

Varying Hare

Jester Hat (Orange Columbine)

Trail carved out of cliffs in the Multomah Creek Canyon

90-foot Weisendanger Falls

Margined White Butterfly

Devil’s Club

15-foot Little Mulnomah Falls

At the five-mile mark the Trail leaves the Creek and begins a climb up the western rim of the old volcano to Sherrard Point, the summit of Larch Mountain.

Upon reaching the top, about 30 crow-flying miles from Portland, the spectacular views extend seemingly forever.

Be forewarned though, there are hikes that offer solitude on a nice summer day in the Columbia River Gorge. This is not one of them.

Pleasant section of upper trail

Unnamed waterfalls in the deep canyon

Cliff Penstemon

Upper tail crossing an immense talus slope

Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams from Sherrad Point

 

 

Categories: Columbia River Gorge HikesTags: , ,

3 comments

  1. Where did you hear that story about young men closing the bars in Portland, taking the train there and then hiking uphill 7 miles to Sherrod Point? Seems like risky behavior, especially in the evening.

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    • If I remember correctly, the story was in an edition of the Oregonian from the 1930s. Portland was a different town in those days. Many of the young men in those days did hard, physically demanding work. They were in excellent shape, even after closing down the bars at night. At least that was the story.

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  2. This is absolutely stunning. I would love to one day see the Multnomah Falls one day. The tallest waterfall on my island is the 300 ft tall Maracas waterfall (less than 50% the height of Multnomah. This seems like an extremely scenic trail. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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