The promise of a hidden lodge, a little known overlook of the Columbia River Gorge and spectacular waterfalls, what could be better excuses for driving to the Multnomah Falls parking area? The second-highest, year-round waterfall in the United States is also interesting from a geologic standpoint – – – five layers of Yakima basalt are visible in the cliffs.
The first one mile of the trail is paved, gaining 700 feet of elevation before reaching a platform at the top of the Falls. The next two miles of the trail were dynamited out of the side of cliffs next to Multnomah Creek in 1913. The rainforest environment in the bottom of the slot canyon is always interesting as is the multiple waterfalls visible from the trail.
At the three-mile mark the trail enters a broad plateau called the Multnomah Basin. Leaving the trail, I enjoy hiking east and north to Franklin Ridge on an old logging road. The Nesika Lodge is reached in 1 1/2 miles. It was originally built in 1923 by the Trails Club of Oregon. It is only accessible by foot these days.
After walking above the four buildings, the trail leads to a grand viewpoint of the Gorge located on the eastern edge of Franklin Ridge, 1,800 feet directly above the Columbia River. If it’s a clear day, the views are spectacular.
All in all the hike is nine miles in length with 2,100 feet of elevation gain.
To see other posts of mine about hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, go to: