Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway – Cliffs, Overlooks, and Waterfalls From the Road

As much as I love visiting Washington’s waterfalls (the most of any state in the U.S.) there’s nothing like the string of waterfalls in Oregon, on this historic stretch of highway on the Columbia Gorge. Add to that the rugged cliffs, overlooks and views of the Columbia River, this short road trip is hard to beat.

The Historic Columbia River Highway is an approximately 75-mile-long scenic highway in the U.S. state of Oregon between Troutdale and The Dalles built through the Columbia River Gorge between 1913 and 1922 .. the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. The historic roadway was bypassed by the present Interstate 84 from the 1930s to the 1950s, leaving behind the old two-lane road.” Wikipedia

We took a trip earlier this week which culminated in our traveling west on the Columbia Gorge on Historic Route 30.

We’ve taken the spectacular waterfall section of the road before, but the section from the Dalles was new to us, and quite a discovery, including the overlook at Rowena Crown, where after climbing the narrow, winding road, we found marvelous views of the Gorge below,

and the McCall Nature Preserve with walking trails among the wildflowers.

The next day we took the remainder of the highway from Hood River and there the waterfalls began; many can be seen from the road, no hiking required.

I’ll show you three of my favorites, in the order in which we encountered them, starting with Horsetail Falls.

We stopped the car, crossed the street, gawked, then continued traveling west on a road almost swallowed by giant cliffs.

In fact the original highway went through Oneonta Bluff, a major engineering feat at the time.

Multnomah was next, at 620 feet it’s the second highest year-round waterfall in the U.S. It’s a must see and can be reached easily from the old highway 30 (like we did) or from the new highway 84.

The spray doused us as we neared the base of the falls and that was the extent of our hiking.

Our last waterfall stop was Latourell Falls

where we took the short hike to the base, which was lit up by sun rays high above the cliffs.

Our last stop on the highway was at the historic Vista House at Crown Point, 693 feet above the river. It was built in 1916 as a comfort station for travelers on the new scenic highway.

It was closed but it didn’t matter; the view’s the thing.

If you’ve never taken this beautiful stretch of road, I highly recommend it.

Sharing with Sunday Stills, #Road.

~ Susanne

May the 4th Be With You

Not so long ago, in a land far away

In southern California, to be more precise

Just last year

Happy 4th to you!

~ Susanne


Benji is sleeping.

– Susanne

Walking in a Riverbed at Mt. Rainier – Following the Nisqually River

The promised sun and highest temperatures of the year finally arrived in the Pacific Northwest after an interminably cold and rainy spring.

You may ask why we’d wish to go to a snow-covered Mt. Rainier on such a warm and lovely day to which I would reply, why not? It’s a perfect day trip.

So it was, we headed south and entered the park through the Nisqually Entrance, the only one open to vehicles year-round. The roads were dry and clear though snow was still stacked high on the mountain.

Some came to play in the snow – we just came for a look at Paradise – one of the snowiest places on earth.

The Visitor Center was closed, so we soon drove back down the mountain, stopping to view the Nisqually Glacier,

the source of the Nisqually River.

Just a sliver of river flows now but soon it will become a torrent of snowmelt and glacial flour.

Further down we were able to walk in the riverbed.

Eventually the river makes its way down the mountain for seventy-eight miles before emptying into Puget Sound, at the Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.

According to the website; “Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1974 to protect the Nisqually River Delta from development for the benefit of fish, wildlife, and plants, especially migratory birds. The diversity of habitats hosts at least 250 species of birds and other wildlife including: insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. Habitat management enhances freshwater wetlands to meet migratory bird requirements but also offers exceptional viewing, nature and landscape photography opportunities.

We went there one fall day and saw the crown of Mt. Rainier in the distance and wildlife in abundance.

It’s time for another visit.

Another day.

~ Susanne

Our Beautiful Corner of the #Earth – in Washington State

Earth Day was April 22nd, and though I’m a bit late, let’s just call it Earth Week, how about?

When I think of our beautiful planet, the stage on which we live our lives, I think of all the natural beauty surrounding me in my home state of Washington.

We have mountains too many to count

I showcase Mt. Rainier and the Olympics often enough, still I couldn’t leave them out, right? So I’ll start with those, then show you a couple more: Mt. Adams to the south and Liberty Bell to the north.

Water, Water, Everywhere

No, I’m not talking about the rain though there is that. I’m talking about the ocean. And lakes. And waterfalls. And yes, rivers, including the big kahuna, the Mighty Columbia.

Desert and Ancient Canyons, are you surprised?

Granted, you have to cross over to the middle and east side of the state to see them. But it’s worth the trip, especially to Grand Coulee country where you’ll find an ancient waterfall, though Dry Falls dried up thousands of years ago!

Did I mention the Wildlife?

I love that we get to share the earth with friendly creatures like these.

Oh, Wait, I’ve forgotten the TREES!

Now I’m done. 🙂

Sharing with #Earth, Sunday Stills Challenge.

~ Susanne

What Lasts Seven Years?

My blog, that’s what!

Seven years ago, I published my first post on CATS and TRAILS and GARDEN TALES.

I’ve mostly stayed true to my vision – to share stories of my cats, travels, hikes, and gardens – though I admit I’m increasingly focused on photography, which hopefully enhances the stories.


It’s heavy on the cats as it should be – they have top billing. Tiger has retained senior status and remains the face of my avatar, while his rambunctious brother Benji gets more press. I forgive you if you can’t tell them apart. Hint: Tiger has the white.


I use ‘Trails’ loosely to cover local hikes as well as travels further afield. Here’s a taste of my local favorites – Mt. Rainier and Olympic National Park.


You’ve seen a lot of my garden, including the birds and the bees that inhabit it. It’s my favorite place to hang out.

Who knows what the next seven years may hold?

Only time will tell.

Thanks for following along.


Hanging with the Jellies

We had a reprieve from the rain yesterday so we went south to the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma.

The Jellies were my favorites.

Especially the Sea Nettles.

Mesmerizing, don’t you think?

I could watch them all day.

~ Susanne

Looking for Pastels on a Rainy Day

For this week’s Sunday Stills Challenge, I went outside looking for pastels in the rain.

My expectations weren’t high, but I managed to find some hiding midst the green – in the form of very wet periwinkle in lavender, and forget-me-nots in blue.

Soon after I remembered the rhododendron next to the driveway, all delicate and pink and ruffly.

Not through yet, I walked around the side of the house and hid under the eaves to take pictures of a neglected tree, bursting with buds and blossoms.

Till I finally succumbed to the rain.

But I’ll have plenty of pastel for you next month when the clematis takes over, the highlight of my May Garden.

I can’t wait.

~ Susanne

Catnip Conundrum

I have an empty garden bed.

It’s empty because the boys use it to sleep in.

“It’s a bed, isn’t it?” asks Tiger.

“What else is it for?” adds Benji.

“Right, but you already use the other beds. Give me a chance, with this one, okay?”

“Sure, says, Benji! “How about planting some catnip?”

“Hmmm, catnip,” I thought to myself. “An attractive herb.”

Then I remembered the last time I bought some and left it on the deck.

Benji discovered it first.

Then Tiger came along.

And couldn’t stay upright.

Let’s just say the catnip never made it into the ground.

It’s a conundrum.

~ Susanne

Red Berries on a Rainy Day

Rain, rain, and more rain in the Pacific Northwest.

Dismal. Dreary. Dampening. Disappointing.

Even so, the berries offer the occasional bright spot, lighting up the yard.

I shouldn’t complain. We’ve fared much better than the rest of the country, which has been hard hit by tornadoes and other calamities.

Sunbreaks expected today and tomorrow.

Hope I catch some rays.

~ Susanne

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