Multnomah Falls, Oregon's tallest waterfall, and the historic lodge at its base has reopened to the public after being closed for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday.

Forest Service officials say there will be precautions and measures in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus during the limited reopening.

They are limiting the visitor capacity to about 300 people at a time. Masks and social distancing will be required.

The Benson Bridge will remain closed for now, saying that will be back open as part of a subsequent phase.

From a press release regarding the re-opening,

• Phase 1 will allow limited access to provide safe and adequate social distancing .This may lead to longer lines in a “queueing area” while waiting to enter the site.The site is available from 9:00 am through 6:00 pm.

• Phase 2 will introduce a ticketing system which allows access by reservation only through rec.gov.

A limited number of tickets will be available on an hourly basis and must be obtained at least a day in advance of a planned visit. The permit system will be implemented within the next few weeks.

“We are dedicated to providing access to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and Multnomah Falls,” said Lynn Burditt, Forest Supervisor, “through aligning with all state and CDC safety guidelines, addressing safety concerns, and connecting people with this natural and historic treasure."

The I-84 parking lot will also re-open but high demand means the gates at the eastbound entrance will close when the limited parking spaces fill up. Crossing arms will close the eastbound entrance to the lot when the 186 spaces are filled, and travelers must observe these closures. If the gates are closed, no parking will be available, and visitors will have to return to the Falls at another time. Westbound access will be closed to prevent back-ups on the freeway.