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If you want to see Multnomah Falls, you’d better head online first

Tourists take pictures next to Multnomah Falls, April 13, 2018.
Bradley W. Parks
Tourists take pictures next to Multnomah Falls, April 13, 2018.

Time is running out for a spur-of-the-moment trip to Multnomah Falls. Starting July 20, timed tickets will be required for one-hour visits to the popular sight-seeing destination east of Portland.

The U.S. Forest Service is adopting the ticketing system to address congestion at the Columbia Gorge hot spot. The 365-foot-tall falls attract nearly 2 million visitors annually. Traffic often backs up at the Interstate 84 offramp as motorists circle the lot looking for a rare parking spot to open up.

Donna Mickley, a forest supervisor with the federal agency, called the ticketing system “a tool we are using to enhance access, reduce congestion and mitigate the associated safety issues at this iconic location.”

The tickets will be required daily for visitors to the falls and the historic lodge from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. As of Sunday, tickets were available for the dates of July 20 through July 25. Tickets for subsequent dates had not been released.

The Forest Service also is encouraging visitors to use transit options. From Portland, visitors can catch the Columbia Gorge Express at Gateway Transit Center or in Troutdale. Visitors can also hop on the Sasquatch Shuttle or Gray Line Open-Air Waterfall Trolley from parking lots in the Gorge.

Tickets are free but come with a $1 dollar reservation fee. They can be secured by going to Recreation.gov.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting

David Steves