Multnomah Falls, Oregon, USA (photo by Luis Bastardo)
Last July, one of our friends decided to cycle from Seattle, WA to Portland, OR in the annual STP race. Luis and I promised to meet her at the finish line and decided to make a long weekend of the trip. We drove the four hours down to Portland, Oregon, stopping on the way to explore the area. One of our stops was the stunningly beautiful Columbia River Gorge, a 4,000 foot (1219 meters) deep section of the Columbia River, the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The area is under federal protection as the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, which spans two states, Washington and Oregon and encompasses 292,500 acres.
Multnomah Falls, a double cascade on the Historic Columbia River Highway, is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States at 620 feet (189 meters). One of the most popular attractions in Oregon, the falls receive almost 2 million visitors a year. Although the falls can be seen from below, they are even more impressive up close. Luis and I hiked up to Benson Bridge, which sits atop the first tier, then continued the hike up to the top of the falls, which has a lookout that allows visitors to experience a dizzying look at the entire cascade, as well as spectacular views of the gorge.