Whatever time you spend at the Columbia Gorge will not be enough; you will wish for more and plan future visits even as you are leaving.
According to the visitcolumbiarivergorge website, “Just taking a drive through the Columbia River Gorge is an experience in itself as you will be in awe of this spectacular geological wonder. The Columbia River is the second largest river in North America, starting in northern Idaho and southeastern British Columbia, and traveling over 1,200 miles to the ocean. Through millenniums of geologic events, waterfalls have found their home in the Columbia River Gorge. A visit to the area is not complete without a visit to the breathtaking waterfalls.”
And so it was that we headed south to the Gorge last week to celebrate my birthday. Our plan was to drive the scenic highway on the Oregon side (the best views and attractions are there) take in a few waterfalls and small towns, then cross over to Washington for a stay at Skamania Lodge near Stevenson.
Our first stop was at Vista House on Crown Point. Built in 1916, it offers spectacular views of the Gorge and is one of the most beautiful scenic points on the Historic Columbia River Highway.
I forgot to get a good picture of Vista House but the photo I took inside will do.
And here’s how it looks from below. Can you see the tiny knob on top of the cliffs 733 feet above? (I took this as we were leaving the Gorge a couple days later, after the clouds had rolled in.)
From there we continued on the old highway which as you can see, is charming in its own right.
We passed by many waterfalls the area is famous for,
until we reached the granddaddy of them all, Multnomah Falls.
Upper Falls can be seen from a distance, dropping 542 feet to the first pool below;
Lower Falls drops another 69 feet, making Multnomah Falls one of the tallest in the country at 611 feet.
After gazing at the falls for a suitable amount of time and taking too many pictures, we stopped by the gift shop for a souvenir and reminisced about our visit here almost 37 years ago on our honeymoon. (Awww.)
Then we fueled up on soft serve Ice cream and headed down the road to Hood River which I’ll save for later.