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While in Oregon, Tony and I spent an afternoon driving up the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) along the Columbia River Gorge. If you’re ever in the Portland area, I highly recommend renting/borrowing a car and taking this scenic highway. It’s only a 30-minute drive from downtown Portland. I also highly recommend going on a weekday, if you can, to avoid the crowds at each stop.

We got off at the Corbett exit and sort of winged it, but here’s a fabulous map if you’d like to plan out your trip. We didn’t know there were waterfalls beyond Multnomah Falls, so next time we have to go check out Horsetail Falls and Oneonta Falls. We also missed an “incredible five mountain view” on the Larch Mountain Road. Oh well, guess we have to go back!

Here’s Tony at our first stop, the Women’s Forum Overlook, which looks east up the Columbia River Gorge and provides breathtaking views of the Vista House on Crown Point.

The Vista House at Crown Point, with lovely views of the snow-capped Cascade Mountains to the north.

Me, on the balcony of the Vista House.

Tony, on the marble stairs of the Vista House.

The lower Latourell Falls, the first major waterfall you hit on the scenic byway.  The lower fall is a very short walk from the parking lot.  It’s unique among the falls for how it drops straight down from the overhanging cliff.

We took a 2.1 mile loop trail to see the Upper Latourell Falls, which is well worth the hike. We happened to be there on a Monday, which was fabulous because we were the only ones on the trail.

Crazy moss covered trees along the Latourell Falls hike.

One of my favorite shots of the hike.

Tony looking teeny tiny behind Upper Latourell Falls.

Tony at our next stop, Shepperd’s Dell Fall.

Moss covered path at Shepperd’s Dell.

A cool shot of Shepperd’s Dell Falls and a twisted tree, at the same point the waterfall “pinches” in the middle.

Roadhouses once dotted the old historic highway in its heyday. The Bridal Veil Lodge Bed and Breakfast is one of two roadhouses still left from the old highway’s heyday. (The other remaining is the View Point Inn.)

Tony posing on a boulder in front of Bridal Veil Falls

Another shot of Bridal Veil Falls. I love the ethereal quality to this scene.

It’s funny.  Tony and I both commented how all the falls started to look alike after a while, and how we were done seeing “green mossy trees and waterfalls.”  Now, looking at the pictures, it’s hard to imagine one would ever get tired of seeing such beauty. (Oregon is beautiful, I will admit. It just rains too goshdarnmuch.)

Another close-up shot of Bridal Veil Falls.

Tony got out and took a quick shot of Wahkeena Falls (the fourth waterfall) while I stayed in the car and conserved my energy. :)

Our last stop was at Multnomah Falls, the largest and most famous of the falls.  At 620 feet, it is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States.

We asked a nice stranger to take our picture in front of the waterfall — and for some reason he took it horizontal, cropping out the upper tier of the fall :) But hey, at least we have a picture together!

By this point, the sun was going down and the spray from the waterfall was freezing, and I was starving, so we didn’t stay too long at Multnomah. (I had also been there once before with my family). We did run up and take some quick shots at the Benson Bridge (at the foot of the upper cascade), and was able to catch a nice rainbow in the mist:

Last, but not least, we ended the day at the Multnomah Falls Restaurant. I took a picture of the appetizer — goat cheese and salmon stuffed mushrooms — because I enjoyed them so much. Yum!

Next time I have to bring a tripod with me, so I can practice taking long-exposure water shots. I bought Tony an ultra-lightweight one for Christmas one year, I don’t know why we didn’t bring it. I wouldn’t mind going in December and recreating this shot. (talk about gorgeous!)

2 Responses to “Trip Report: Historic Columbia River Highway, Oregon”

  1. Jacob says:

    Those views look awesome! I’m thinking I have to go do that. Then I remembered I allready did do that :) It was raining so not as fun but still amazing sites. Nice pictures Heather.

    -Jacob

  2. Heather says:

    Thanks Jacob! It’s pretty hard to take a bad picture with scenery like that.

    Yeah, it’s not as much fun when it’s raining. We were lucky the rain let up that day, it had been raining most of the rest of the week I was there. The overcast sky does make for gorgeous lighting for pictures, though.

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