I-84 parking lot at Multnomah Falls will close Monday as USFS closes falls area

MULTNOMAH FALLS — ODOT will close the Interstate 84 parking lot at Multnomah Falls early Monday morning as the U.S. Forest Service shuts down access to the entire falls area because crowds haven’t complied with safe social distancing practices in place for the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Starting about 6 a.m. Monday, the Forest Service will put up fences along the south side of the Historic Columbia River Highway to shut down access to the Multnomah Falls area, including the plaza, viewing areas and the trail to the upper platform. The lodge is already closed.

At the same time, ODOT will close the I-84 parking lot out of concern that safety issues could develop on the entry and exit ramps and to deter people tempted to illegally access the closed trails. ODOT will also close public parking along the north side of the Historic Highway near the falls.

The lots will remain closed until ODOT and the Forest Service determine that conditions have sufficiently improved to reopen access.

The Historic Columbia River Highway remains open, but visitors should expect major delays Tuesday, March 24 at Horsetail Falls for tree work.

  • Starting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, ODOT will periodically stop traffic in both directions while the Forest Service removes trees that may threaten the highway.
  • Each closure will last 20 to 30 minutes, controlled by flaggers, and will continue until late afternoon.

In addition, the Columbia Gorge Express will no longer stop at Multnomah Falls but remains available for local riders. Because of COVID-19, the service now operates only twice a day, early morning and late afternoon, and only on weekdays, not weekends. This schedule continues to provide access to Gorge communities but will not stop at Multnomah Falls. Go to Columbia Area Transit for more information.