A long time ago there were hundreds of Native Americans living in the Columbia-River Gorge. This tribe became very ill and members started to die – old, young, weak, strong, men, women, children… it didn’t seem to have a pattern. So the medicine man spoke to the Ancient Ones, and they told him that a brave soul must leap from the top of Multnomah Falls to their death in order to save the rest of the tribe. The chief asked throughout his tribe for one strong man to leap, but those who actually considered the request became frightened when looking down from the top of the falls.
Then the chief took very ill. He had a daughter who walked to the falls, and without turning her head or stopping her step, lept. The tribe, including her father, began to get well just as soon as her body fell against the rocks. The gods were so touched and pleased with her sacrifice that they carved her face into the waterfall. If you look about a third of the way down, and if the water is falling just right, you can see her face. The water streams down creating her hair.
During the late 1990s, a rock, loosened by ice and water, tumbled down the falls. The park was closed until the stability of the falls could be determined. The shape of the falls has changed from this photo. Multnomah falls is one of the most frequently pictured Oregon falls for postcards, tour books, calendars, and gift items.
Tomanawas Falls was “lost” at one point in time and a group of civilians (including one of my friend’s parents) decided to make a trail to it. They started the trail project which was subsequently adopted and completed by the forest service.
Tomanawas is well-hiked due to the fairly easy climb, good trail, and the friendly chipmunks who are quite happy that you packed an extra bit of food for them in your lunch.