Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Drive through the Columbia River Gorge [9/18]

We left Portland on a cloudy morning. Luckily there was no rain as we made our way along the Columbia River Gorge. The Gorge is a popular destination for hiking, biking, sight-seeing, fishing, and watersports. The area is known for its high concentration of waterfalls, with over 90 on the Oregon side of the Gorge alone. Many are along the Historic Columbia River Highway Nr, 30, including the notable 620-foot (190 m) high Multnomah Falls, which we visited towards the end of our stay in the Gorge. This is truly a wonderful drive and I hope you will enjoy the images we brought back.

Evergreen Views of the Gorge

The panoramic views you get from the Historic Route 30 are nothing short of brilliant. No matter the time of day or weather conditions. What most fascinated me were the evergreen trees and the fog engulfed in them. The gorge has provided a transportation corridor for thousands of years. Native Americans would travel through the Gorge to trade at Celilo Falls, both along the river and over Lolo Pass on the north side of Mount Hood. In 1805, the route was used by the Lewis and Clark Expedition to reach the Pacific. The Columbia River Highway, built in the early 20th century, was the first major paved highway in the Pacific Northwest.

Views from the Vista House

Vista House is a museum at Crown Point in Multnomah County. It also serves as a memorial to Oregon pioneers and as a comfort station for travelers on the historic highway. The site, situated on a rocky hill, is 733 feet (223 m) above the Columbia River on the south side of the Columbia River Gorge. The hexagonal stone building was designed by Edgar M. Lazarus and was completed in 1918 after nearly two years of construction. As we entered the premises a huge crowd of visitors was inside, mostly school kids. It made me feel a bit old as I saw them unfazed by the natural beauty in front of them. They had other things going on I guess.

Latourell Falls 

This was the first waterfall along the Columbia River Gorge which we visited. The falls are located within Guy W. Talbot State Park. The road passes nearby, and at certain locations the Lower falls are visible from the road. Near the base of the falls, a parking lot and path were erected to assist visitors to the site. You have to hike along the 2.1-mile (3.4 km) loop trail to see the upper falls. Latourell is unique among the best-known Columbia Gorge waterfalls, in the way that it drops straight down from an overhanging basalt cliff. Most of those falls (even the famous Multnomah Falls) tumble to some degree.

Mullmolath Falls

Multnomah Falls was the next destination. Though accessible from the Historic Route 30 we did have to use the highway to get there as a storm from the day before made trees fall onto the old road. We were even told by a worker that some hikers were lost in the woods. This waterfall is the tallest waterfall in the state of Oregon at 620 ft (189 m) in height.

The land surrounding the falls was developed by Simon Benson in the early-twentieth century, with a pathway, viewing bridge, and adjacent lodge being constructed in 1915. The Multnomah Falls Lodge and the surrounding footpaths at the falls were added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981. There is a trail that ascends to a tslop 100 feet (30 m) above the falls, and descends to an observation deck that overlooks the falls edge. The falls attract over two million visitors each year, making it the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest. Even on this gloomy day there were many visitors there, sightseeing and shopping in the gift shop at the lodge.

Eventually the road took us further north towards Yakima and the Yakima Indian Reservation. We only made a quick stop here, since there was much more driving ahead of us. Our next stop was Leavenworth in Washington State, a charming little German inspired town. More on that in the next part.

End of Part Nine
To be continued...


  1. Perfect wet weather for some lovely shots.

    1. Yes, we had some moody weather, but it did come out nicely in the end.

  2. Wow that's great. Wonderful waterfalls. Loved all pics.

  3. The Columbia River Gorge drive is one of the prettiest I have seen so far. I'm glad I'm seeing all of this again through your masterful photography.

  4. Astounding water falls. Great photographs.

  5. Beautiful scenery along the way. Those waterfalls are amazing. On a side note, it seems that your blog takes a long time to load for me.Just thought you might like to know that.

  6. The Columbia is such a mighty river, and to think some of that water comes all the way down from Canada. - Margy

  7. You got fantastic shots! (much better than mine, of course! :-) ) Loved this post! We enjoyed our trip to the Gorge last month so much, and loved seeing Latourell and Multnomah Falls, and just noticing the Falls on the side of the highway here and there. Beautiful scenery. You did a great job showing people what it's like!

  8. Wow! Beautiful mountains and waterfall! :)

  9. Gorgeous views and beautiful photo's, as Always, making me a little jealous ;-)

    Have a splendid, ♥-warming ABC-Wednes-day / -week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♪ (ABC-W-team)

  10. You're sights are splendid. It looks like a wonderful place to visit here in the U.S.

  11. I've driven the Gorge twice now - once in driving rain in the fall and once on a gorgeous summer day in the spring. Both were fantastic. Love your photos.

  12. Too bad the rest of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Hwy wasn't open. There's lots more beautiful waterfalls along there. Sadly, it's been closed since last September's huge wildfire and I don't see it reopening anytime soon. Did you notice the charred ridgetops as you drove along the Gorge?

  13. Amazing scenery and excellent photography. Kudos!

  14. How many US states have you visited? A LOT, I gather!

  15. I bet we’ve driven the Gorge a hundred or more times, but never tired of it. (We lived in Oregon and our parents were in Eastern Washington, where we were both born and raised). Sadly, as they grew older, our trips were often rushed with little time to enjoy the scenery.

  16. I've never visited this area but would love to do so. Thanks for your stunning images of it...just in case I never get there in person. ;)

  17. This is just minutes from my house...beautiful captures of an amazing area. How long ago was this trip? I'm curious because much of this area is now closed after last fall's forest fire.



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