How to Book Your Tickets to Visit Multnomah Falls

Advance tickets required for purchase between late May and early September, or go by bus, shuttle or bicycle instead.
July 12, 2021 (Updated May 20, 2024)
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With more than 2 million visitors each year, Multnomah Falls Recreation Area is one of Oregon’s top visitor attractions and one of the most-visited natural areas in the Pacific Northwest. The 611-foot double cascade (Oregon’s tallest waterfall) is spectacular year-round, but if you want to visit by car between late May and early September you’ll need to book an advance timed-entry ticket, one per vehicle. 

The system is designed to reduce the crowding in the parking lot and the backlogged traffic on the short left turn-off ramp of Exit 31 on Interstate 84. The ticket system is designed for better accessibility and a more safe and enjoyable experience for all.

Here’s What You Need to Know

  • If you ride a shuttle to Multnomah Falls, no ticket is required. Just show your shuttle pass at the entrance instead. 
  • If you arrive by bike, no ticket is required. Just lock up your bike and walk in.
  • If you arrive by car or motorcycle, you must purchase an advance ticket between 9 a.m.-6 p.m., late May to late September.

 

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Here’s How the System Works

  • To purchase a ticket, log on to Recreation.gov or the Recreation.gov mobile app and choose your date. Just one permit is required per vehicle. Tickets must be purchased at least a day before your visit and may be canceled up to midnight a day before the reservation, but the small reservation fee is nonrefundable. Your ticket reservation does not guarantee a parking space, but it will be easier to park since there will be fewer visitors. You may book up to two weeks in advance or 48 hours in advance. 
  • Arrive at Multnomah Falls via the eastbound Interstate 84 parking lot at Exit 31. This parking lot is the best place to park to enter the falls. Stopping in front of the Lodge on the Historic Columbia River Highway and blocking traffic is prohibited. 
  • You’ll see check-in stations at the entrance; follow the pathways to the plaza and present your ticket for entry — either a printed or a digital copy. Your name must match the one on the ticket. Please arrive as close to your reserved time as possible (no early entry is allowed). 

The ticketing system is a partnership between the U.S. Forest Service, the Oregon Department of Transportation and Columbia Area Transit.

A shuttle is parked in front of a waterfall
Book a Waterfall Shuttle for a quick and easy ride from the parking lot at Exit 35 to Multnomah Falls. Or book a sunset tour of the falls. Courtesy of Waterfall Shuttle

How to go by Shuttle Instead

If you’d rather skip the advance ticket system and the hassle of parking, consider hopping on a shuttle to Multnomah Falls instead. Shuttle riders will receive a wristband, sticker or pass that serves as a ticket to enter Multnomah Falls. 

Three shuttle options are available: 

  • The Waterfall Shuttle offers pickup and dropoff with free parking at Migration Brewing in Gresham. Riders load into a 14-passenger shuttle with wheelchair ramp for a guided tour of six waterfalls plus the Crown Point Vista House and Oneonta Gorge. The 3.5-hour tour happens during sunset hours and includes about 1.5 miles of walking. The tour is $79 per person.
  • The Sasquatch Shuttle offers a free Multnomah Falls Express Shuttle with $5 parking (or $20 for RVs/oversized parking) at Bridal Veil Falls. Dogs are welcome on board. Another option is a 2.5-hour Waterfall Loop narrated experience that takes riders to all of the major sites along the Historic Columbia River Highway including Horsetail Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Angel’s Rest and more. Those tours are $35 per person ($25 for children). 
  • The Gray Line Trolley offers a narrated hop on, hop off tour/shuttle full-day pass that stops at Multnomah Falls and nine other iconic sites in the Columbia River Gorge, letting you hike and adventure at your own pace. You can download a trail guide to help find your way. The trolley is wheelchair accessible. The tour departs from Corbett, with free parking. Riders also may join from Multnomah Falls or Portland via the express trolley. Tickets are $33 per rider ($17 for children).

How to take Public Transit Instead

Just looking for a budget-minded transportation option, without a narrated tour, parking or advanced-entry permit hassles? Hop on the Columbia Gorge Express, the city bus route that shuttles riders between Portland, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River and The Dalles. Single trips to and from Portland’s Gateway Transit Center are $10.

The system includes bike racks as well as wheelchair lifts or ramps, with drivers trained to assist riders with disabilities. Travelers can enjoy new express routes — which means more coordination and less waiting. 

Frequent fliers may purchase an annual GOrge Pass for $40 ($20 for children), which lets you hop on/hop off any of the buses around the Gorge (and helps protect the scenic area).

How to go by Bike or E-Bike Instead

Cyclists who arrive at Multnomah Falls do not need to book an advance ticket. One great option is to rent an e-bike to enjoy at your own pace, or book a guided e-bike tour through Bike the Gorge, based in Cascade Locks. The guided tour is a 4.5-hour adventure for four or more riders that includes an easy pedal along the paved, car-free Historic Highway State Trail along with stops at Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Bridal Veil, Horsetail and Ponytail falls. It’s a stress-free way to tour, with your guides including a picnic lunch and taking the guesswork on where to hike and safely enjoy a splash in a swimming hole.

More Tips for Visiting

  • Stay on trails and respect closures. 
  • Always have a Plan B and a Plan C in case your destination is too crowded or closed.
  • Bookmark the Ready Set GOrge website and check before you go for the latest updates.
  • Pets are allowed at Multnomah Falls but must be leashed at all times. Remember to pick up and pet waste and put it in the trash. 
  • Wear sturdy footwear and layers for the weather — the spray and mist cause a cooler microclimate that may be chilly in the cooler months. 
  • Visiting midweek is always a best bet for fewer crowds. 
  • Winter and springtime rain bring the fullest flows to the waterfall. You’ll also avoid the summertime ticketing system. 
  • Extinguish cigarette butts and put them in the trash. 
  • Be kind and patient to fellow visitors and staff. 
A person looks through glass at a giant sturgeon
Bonneville Fish Hatchery is one of the cool sites nearby Multnomah Falls that make for a less-crowded alternative. (Photo by Modoc Stories / hood-gorge.com)

Where to Find Less-Crowded Destinations

The Historic Columbia River Highway is known as the Waterfall Corridor for good reason: There are plenty more jaw-dropping cascades to explore. Less-crowded alternatives include the 2.4-mile round trip to Wahclella Falls, the 4.4-mile out-and-back at Dry Creek Falls and the 1.4-mile out-and-back to Bridal Veil Falls

More alluring sites await east, including the Bonneville Lock and Dam and the car-free Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Find tasty food, wine, U-picks and other farm-to-table treats along the Hood River Fruit Loop and further east along the East Gorge Food Trail.

About The
Author

Jen Anderson
Jen Anderson is a longtime journalist and travel writer/editor who is now Travel Oregon’s Content & Community Manager, helping to align content for visitors via social media, print and web. She’s called Oregon home for 25 years and loves finding the latest places to eat, drink and play around the state with her husband and two boys. Brewpubs, beaches and bike trails top the list.

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