Timed use permits will focus on the Multnomah Falls parking lot and not the Waterfall Corridor for summer 2023 in the Columbia River Gorge.
From Friday, May 26 through Monday, Sept. 4, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., a timed-use permit will be required for each personal vehicle accessing Multnomah Falls from Interstate 84 Exit 31, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT).
The effort will help reduce congestion at Multnomah Falls by reducing safety concerns and backups on I-84, the Multnomah Falls parking lot on Interstate 84; using a flagger to direct traffic at the Historic Columbia River Highway/U.S. 30 crosswalk at Multnomah Falls; and using a private concessionaire to manage the small parking lot along the Historic Highway/U.S. 30 at Multnomah Falls.
The concessionaire will operate this lot on a first come, first-served basis. There are six ADA parking spots at this lot for those with valid ADA placards. When the parking lot is full, vehicles will not be allowed to stop or wait for an open space.
Multnomah Falls (I-84) timed use permits will be available online at recreation.gov for a $2 transaction fee per vehicle up to two weeks in advance of your visit. A limited number of permits will also be available for pickup without a fee at the Gateway to the Gorge Visitor Center in Troutdale and the Cascade Locks Historical Museum.
Unlike last year, permits will not be required on the Historic Columbia River Highway/U.S. 30 Waterfall Corridor in 2023. Last year’s 2022 Waterfall Corridor timed use permit pilot was successful in providing a safer, more reliable, enjoyable experience for visitors within the corridor. However, without a dedicated funding source, partners cannot staff and operate the full system and will instead focus limited resources on the main sources of congestion and safety concerns at the most visited site in the corridor, Multnomah Falls, according to the press release.
“We learned a lot in 2022 about visitor practices and that information will help us as we plan for the future,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann. “Multnomah County, ODOT, Oregon State Parks, the Forest Service, and all our partners are continuing to look for ways we can reduce congestion and improve the visitor experience to this wonderful treasure.”
The most reliable way to see Multnomah Falls continues to be transit, by bicycle or by tour or shuttle.
Avoid congestion by planning your trip in advance. Permits are only needed if you arrive by personal vehicle at I-84 Exit 31 for Multnomah Falls. If you want to visit Multnomah Falls by personal vehicle, the best way is to get a permit and take I-84 to Exit 31.