This emergency trail repair is needed because tension cracks have developed along approximately 100 feet of the Larch Mountain Trail just beyond Benson Bridge, leading to slope instability and the potential for failure.
Prior to the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017, this section of trail did not show any signs of failure. The current instability is likely the result of post-fire effects including significant changes in vegetation leading to increased ground water flow through the rock mass on which the trail was built. Increased groundwater flow and extreme temperature events have led to cracking within the rock mass supporting the trail.
In an effort to reduce summer congestion at Multnomah Falls, starting July 20, 2021, the U.S. Forest Service will required timed ticket reservations between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Read more about the reservation system and go here to obtain a ticket.
Start at the Multnomah Falls Trailhead. Hike to the top of Multnomah Falls and continue up Multnomah Creek. Turn left at the Franklin Ridge junction, and follow the trail through a variety of forest covers and seasonal wildflowers to the junction to Oneonta Gorge. After descending into Oneonta Gorge, follow Oneonta Creek past Triple Falls and to a junction. Here, you can decide to complete the hike one-way by taking the route to Horsetail Falls and Ponytail Falls, or continue on Gorge Trail #400 back to Multnomah Falls.
Lumber baron and philanthropist Simon Benson donated the land that the falls sit upon and funded the construction of the iconic Benson Bridge in front of Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the Columbia Gorge's most recognizable natural landmark. Benson's generosity later helped citizens work with timber companies in the 1940s and 1950s to secure protection of some of the Gorge's most iconic waterfalls.