PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Tuesday marked the first day timed use permits will be required for personal vehicles to travel along the Waterfall Corridor in the Columbia River Gorge. Permits to visit Multnomah Falls will also be required starting Tuesday
U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Transportation officials say these permits are meant to reduce congestion and improve the overall visitor experience along the Historic Columbia River HIghway.
Permits will be required to visit all federal lands adjacent to the Waterfall Corridor and to visit Multnomah Falls from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. between May 24 and Sept. 5, 2022. The Waterfall Corridor extends between the Bridal Veil off-ramp and Ainsworth State Park.
The timed use permits for the Waterfall Corridor and the timed use permits for visitors using the I-84 Exit 31 parking lot for Multnomah Falls are two separate systems and are not interchangeable.
“The Columbia River Gorge is one of Oregon’s most iconic and popular destinations,” said Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann. “But for both residents and visitors the traffic congestion has contributed to frustration and long waits.”
Stegmann said the goal is to provide people with easier access to the scenic beauty in the Gorge and reminds people that 2022 is the pilot year for the Waterfall Corridor timed use permits and changes can be made in the future if necessary.
Both permits will be available up to two weeks before people plan to visit either the Waterfall Corridor or Multnomah Falls. They’re available to purchase for a $2 transaction fee at Recreation.gov. There will also be a limited number of in-person, same-day permits available for no charge at locations such as the Gateway to the Gorge Visitor Center in Troutdale and the Cascade Locks Historical Museum.
Each permit allows people access during a certain time slot. For the Waterfall Corridor, people can arrive just east of the Bridal Veil off-ramp at Exit 28 or Exit 35 at Ainsworth State Park at any time during their time slot.
For Multnomah Falls, visitors should arrive at the I-84 Exit 31 parking lot during their time slot. Once people arrive, they can stay for as long as they’d like.
The permits do not guarantee parking anywhere along the Waterfall Corridor or at the Multnomah Falls lot.
There are also options for people to visit the Waterfall Corridor or Multnomah Falls without a permit. Visitors can take Columbia Area Transit from the Gateway Transit Center in Portland, from Cascade Locks, and from Hood River. They could also take a tour with the Sasquatch Shuttle and Gray Line Waterfall Trolley, which both service the Waterfall Corridor.