Wahkeena Falls is one of the numerous waterfalls in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and part of the Multnomah Falls hiking trail loop system. The trailhead to Wahkeena Falls is located 0.6 mile west to Multnomah Falls Lodge. There is also a small parking lot directly at Wahkeena Falls trailhead, so visitors can start hiking from either the Wahkeena Falls parking lot or Multnomah Falls Lodge. Starting from the trailhead, the hike climbs steadily with moderate incline for a short 0.4 mile of 900 ft elevation to the falls. For more trail map info, see below.
Hikers can take a rest at Wahkeena Falls, but usually will continue for another 0.5 mile of moderate incline to Lemons Viewpoint with magnificent views of Columbia River Gorge and further up 0.3 mile of moderate incline to the amazing Fairy Falls.
Discover Wahkeena Falls
Wahkeena Falls Trail climbs to 900 ft for a spectacular view of the Columbia River, described by Rudyard Kippling as “penned between gigantic stone walls crowned with the ruined bastions of Oriental palaces.” Traveling among rocks festooned with deer fern, the trail follows the Wahkeena Creek close to its source and enters a steep forest of moss-hung vine, maple, sword fern, and 200ft Douglas firs to end at Larch Mountain Trail in 2.8 miles. Wahkeena Trail connects with several other trails enroute and allows many loop possibilities.
Wahkeena Creek—Isolated and Unique
Stretching from rainforest to desert, and from sea level to mountains, the Columbia Gorge provides a wide range of habitat for plants and animals. The Wahkeena Creek watershed is only one example of a unique gorge ecosystem. Without a network of tributary streams flowing from higher elevations. Wahkeena Creek is isolated from adjacent watersheds. This isolation has created a unique habitat for 8 species of aquatic insects that are only found in the Columbia River Gorge. No other watershed in the Pacific Northwest can yet claim this many endemic species. Two of these insects, the Wahkeena flightless stonefly (Nemoura wahkeena) and Anderson’s caddisfly (Neothremma andersoni) are only found in the Wahkeena watershed.
Lumberman and philanthropist Simon Benson donated the property that includes today’s Benson State Park to the City of Portland who later conveyed it to the State of Oregon and the Forest Service.
Hiking Trail Map & Driving Direction
Traveling east on Columbia River Interstate Highway 84 from Portland, take Exit 28. At the furcation, continue east along Historic Columbia River Highway to Wahkeena Picnic Area (driving west will take you to Bridal Veil State Park, instead). Benson Lake State Park is located at Exit 30; however, there is no road connecting from Benson Lake State Park to Wahkeena Picnic Area, even though the Wahkeena Trailhead is next to Benson Lake State Park. Multnomah Falls is located at Exit 31.
Download: Multnomah Falls Hiking Trail Map