Can we see Multnomah Falls and the Oneonta Gorge in one day?
You can absolutely visit both the waterfalls and then make the “loop” around the mountain to visit Mt. Hood thanks to extended summer daylight hours, or if you plan on getting an early start.
I would suggest taking I-84 east, then taking the Corbett exit to join the historic highway. While most people start in Troutdale, you really won’t be missing any of the major sights, and this will save you some time if you plan on making the loop around the mountain.
After you reach Corbett, make sure to stop at both Women’s Forum and Vista House/Crown Point. Both spots have incredible panoramic views of the Gorge. Vista House is a beautiful historic building, originally built as a “rest area”, but you will have a hard time believing that after you see it.
From there, you will enter the “waterfall area”. Besides Oneonta Gorge and Multnomah Falls, you will definitely want to stop at Latourell Falls, Wahkeena Falls, and Horsetail Falls. Let me know if you would like me to suggest any hikes in this area. There are some nice, short ones in this area well worth your time.
Shortly after Horsetail Falls, you will rejoin I-84. Continue on to Bonneville Dam. The Fish Hatchery here is well worth a stop to see the HUGE sturgeon, and if you have some extra quarters feed the trout.
From there, return on the freeway east and you can stop either in Cascade Locks for lunch, or continue on to Hood River to eat. It all depends on how hungry you are. There are some great brewpubs in Hood River.
From Hood River, you will travel on Highway 35 around Mt. Hood. This will take you through the heart of the “fruit loop“, filled with orchards, wineries, and other attractions.
You will see some beautiful scenery as you travel around the mountain and then join Highway 26. There are some great places to stop for views of the mountain. Let me know if you would like some specific suggestions on scenic spots.
One definite MUST STOP is Timberline Lodge. The craftsmanship of the place is incredible. It was all hand built during the depression. From there you will travel highway 26 and head back towards Portland.
Let me know if you want any dining suggestions, or have any more questions. I realize this is probably a little information overload, but wanted to make sure I got everything covered for you.
Have fun planning your adventure!
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Dennis Hubbs says…
Just wanted to reinforce the answers from Cari! We visited this exact area during late June/early July and it is absolutely fantastic!!! Leave early, take your time and just drive!! If you go during spring/summer, the Tom McCall Wildflower Preserve in Rowena, directly on historic Route 30, (watch for the small parking lot – it comes up quickly but is signed) has incredible views of the Columbia River Gorge, but is almost as beautiful any other time of year! Rain or shine, the waterfalls are glorious!! Here are a few pictures from our trip: http://www.ddtvl.com/pnw.htm Enjoy your travels!
Yesica Medel says…
@Cari Gesch, thank you for your wonderful insight, please do recomment some hikes in the waterfall area. Thank you
Can this be done in other seasons outside of Summer, like in the Fall or Winter?
Other questions about Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge
- Is there an alpine slide somewhere around Mt. Hood?
- Hi we are planning a trip to Mount St Helens in July. We are coming in from Calgary with two tough girls aged 9 and 11. We will be very close to Oregon, and was wondering what fun things are there to do in Oregon? We had fun last year on the Hiawatha Trail in Idaho. I heard there were volcanoes near the coast? What fun ideas are there for a family visiting Oregon? – Jason W.
- We are traveling to Portland and would love to take right off and go on a nature excurion. We are considering Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen’s. Can you tell us which you would recommend and why? In both cases, can you recommend a wonderful place to stop for exquisite dining and wining? something we would never find on the East Coast? – Jan M.
About Ask Oregon Expert Cari Gesch
Cari, a resident of the Mount Hood foothills, is a photographer, writer, and wanderer of hiking trails and scenic byways. She captures images and stories of the experiences and destinations that make Oregon such an exciting place to live and play in on her blog, Wahkeena Exposures.