Oregon's largest waterfall is back open to the public after being shuttered during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visitors can return to Multnomah Falls and the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, the United States Forest Service and Multnomah Falls Co., Inc., announced Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 11, as long as social distancing and face mask mandates are followed.
"We are dedicated to providing access to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Multnomah Falls through aligning with all state and CDC safety guidelines, addressing safety concerns, and connecting people with this natural and historic treasure," said Lynn Burditt, forest supervisor.
The reopening is coming in a phased approach. The initial opening, which began yesterday, is first-come, first-served, with a maximum of 300 visitors at any one time between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Those who go will check in and wait in a socially distanced queue between the parking lot and viewing platform at the base of the waterfall.
In two to three weeks, Phase 2 will bring an online ticketing system, which will allow 300 people to visit Multnomah Falls each hour, with reservations being made at least one day in advance.
All visitors to Multnomah Falls must wear masks, and signs will be posted reminding everyone to stay 6 feet apart.
Benson Bridge remains closed, as does the hiking trail to the top of the falls. The Lodge and visitors center are both open to the public.
In addition to Multnomah Falls, the Oregon Department of Transportation has reopened the section of the Historic Columbia River Highway between Bridal Veil and Ainsworth. The parking lot at Multnomah Falls along the Historic Highway remains closed, as will many viewpoints and trailheads along the route.
During Phase 1, the Columbia Gorge Express bus will not stop at Multnomah Falls, and high-demand at the Interstate 84 lot means at times, the gates at the eastbound entrance will close.
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