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.
This is a steep day hike, starting at the bottom of Multnomah Falls and climbing to the summit of Devil's Rest, the taller but more secluded peak to the east of popular Angel's Rest. In addition to a good workout, this trail takes the hiker past several beautiful waterfalls along Multnomah Creek and provides some fine Gorge views along the ridge leading to the summit.
The hike begins from the Multnomah Falls parking lot, accessible from either I-84 or the Columbia River Scenic highway. After a steep climb of about a mile, crossing the bridge in front of Multnomah Falls and then switch-backing up the ridge, the trail splits, with the paved way continuing to the top of Multnomah Falls. You can look down from the top of the falls if you like, but to continue on the hike follow the Larch Mountain Trail, which turns left at the top of the ridge and immediately crosses a bridge to the west bank of Multnomah Creek.
The next section of the trail is truly spectacular; passing through a series of small waterfalls as you travel deeper into the narrowing valley. Along the creek you're likely to see Water Ouzel bobbing their legs and diving beneath the fast-flowing water. After another 0.8 mile you'll come to the intersection with the Wahkeena Trail #420, which turns off to the right, leading west towards Wahkeena Falls. Turn right here and continue uphill out of the Multnomah valley. Just don't forget to look around behind you: the view up Multnomah Creek from here is wonderful, the narrow valley framed by tall firs covered in moss.
For the next 0.8 mile the trail proceeds gradually uphill, through relatively sparse forest, with occasional views of the Columbia below. Through this section you're likely to see many fellow hikers, most enjoying the Wahkeena-Multnomah loop hike. On a cool morning, though, you could scare up some grouse, lolling in the trail. Just before a prominent, four-way trail junction, at the crest of the Wahkeena Trail, turn left onto the Devil's Rest Trail #420C. There's a sign here showing the remaining distance of about 1.6 miles to the summit.
The first part of the Devil's Rest Trail is very steep and it seems like every time you think you're coming around a bend and will be on top of the ridge, you find that you still haven't made it. So pace yourself and remember that this part isn't too long - only about 0.6 miles. Along the way you can hear a small creek running down to your left; if you look closely there's a camping spot along the creek at one point. At the top of the ridge the trail flattens out, proceeding eastward over level ground, with occasional views of the Columbia Gorge and, on clear days, even the top of Mount Adams. There are a few places along here where you can step out onto a rocky ledge for a better view; one of the best, just about 0.2 miles before reaching the Devil's Rest Summit, requires following a little side trail through the brush to an overlook that's obscured from the main trail.
After the overlooks, the trail curves away from the ledge, coming up to the Devil's Rest from behind. Just before the summit, you'll see some small signs, nailed to trees, for the Foxglove Trail and the route to Angel's Rest. Stay right here and continue on up to a rocky outcrop among the trees. This is the summit - if you look closely you can find the survey marker. Befitting of its name, the Devil's Rest is a more somber destination than its sunny sister to the west, but finding your way to the top is still rewarding.
To complete the hike, return back the way you came.
Devil's Rest can also be accessed by Angel’s Rest trail. In fact, by proceeding on westward from Devil's Rest, one can access the lower trail from Angel's Rest to Wahkeena Spring, turning this hike into a longer loop trail. By using the Foxglove Trail, one can complete this loop without going all the way out to Angel's Rest.
- Submitted by Douglas Hanes
Multnomah Falls History
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.