The United States Forest Service and Multnomah Falls Company has partially reopened Multnomah Falls and the Historic Lodge.
The plan will allow access to Multnomah Falls and Lodge in a phased approach.
• Phase 1 will allow limited access to provide safe and adequate social distancing. This may lead to longer lines in a “queueing area” while waiting to enter the site. The site is available from 9:00 am through 6:00 pm.
• Phase 2 will introduce a ticketing system which allows access by reservation only through rec.gov. Limited number of tickets will be available on hourly basis and must be obtained at least a day in advance of a planned visit. The permit system will be implemented within the next few weeks.
“We are dedicated to providing access to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Multnomah Falls,” said Lynn Burditt, Forest Supervisor, “through aligning with all state and CDC safety guidelines, addressing safety concerns, and connecting people with this natural and historic treasure.”
To provide for the protection of public health and safety and prevent the spread of COVID-19, face coverings are required throughout the area and people will need to maintain social distancing before entering and while visiting Multnomah Falls Recreation Area and the Historic Lodge. Operations have also changed and will require patience and cooperation from the public to maintain operations.
While the Multnomah Falls Recreation Area and the Historic Lodge will be open,Benson Bridge spanning the base of Multnomah Falls as well as the trail to the top of the falls and the loop trail to Wahkeena Falls will remain closed.
Benson State Park will remain closed. State Park status updates are posted online at https://stateparks.oregon.gov/.
When limited access to Multnomah Falls begins, ODOT will simultaneously re-open the Historic Columbia River Highway between Bridal Veil and Ainsworth. The road will be open for driving, however parking will not be available along the Historic Highway by Multnomah Falls.
The I-84 parking lot will also re-open but high demand means the gates at the eastbound entrance will close when the limited parking spaces fill up. Crossing arms will close the eastbound entrance to the lot when the 186 spaces are filled, and travelers must observe these closures. If the gates are closed, no parking will be available, and visitors will have to return to the Falls at another time. Westbound access will be closed to prevent back-ups on the freeway. The Interstate 84 parking lot will remain open if no safety concerns stem from traffic congestion issues.
The Columbia Gorge Express bus will not stop at Multnomah Falls during this first phase of reopening. When the Forest Service implements its Falls reservation system, the Columbia Gorge Express will begin serving Multnomah Falls and will not stop Rooster Rock State Park at any time in 2020.
Due to the ongoing threat of COVID19 and considering the Federal, State and County guidelines, visiting Multnomah Falls will require the public’s patience and cooperation.
Please respect all safety guidelines to ensure the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest remains open to the public.
Source: U.S. Forest Service