Final Lap of our Road Trip – Columbia River Gorge

View from Vista House (Crowne Point)

View from Vista House (Crowne Point)

Relaxing in our tiny mountain cabin here in the San Bernardino Mountains of Southern California, I am astounded to find myself another year older, but not necessarily another year wiser. I wish I could reverse that last statement – you know, “Another year wiser but not another year older”. Has a better ring to it doesn’t it?

Oh well… 

We wound up our road trip with a five-day dash from Whidbey Island back to Los Angeles. Personal highlights included sharing a couple of meals with dear friends (Mike and Macki) from my high school days. We also made time to see more scenic wonders along the way. In fact two of the 7 Wonders of Oregon: the Columbia River Gorge and Crater Lake.

Columbia River Gorge

Also known as the Columbia River National Scenic Area, it comprises 292,500 acres along Southern Washington and Northern Oregon. We headed east along Highway 30, starting in Troutdale (just east of Portland).

Troutdale is the western entry point in Oregon to take the Columbia River Gorge scenic drive

Troutdale is the western entry point in Oregon to take the Columbia River Gorge scenic drive

Chanticleer Point (aka Portland Women’s Forum Scenic Viewpoint) offers stunning views of the river gorge with Crown Point and Vista House visible on the right side.

Chanticleer Point

Chanticleer Point

Wish we had gone right to check out

Wish we had gone right to check out Larch Mountain (NEXT TIME!)

Next stop which caused a few more ahhhs, was Crown Point. Vista House was built in 1916-1918 and affords sweeping views of the surrounding area and the river which flows 733 feet below.

“With its marble interior and brass fixtures, some Oregonians at the time derided it as the “$100,000 Outhouse” ~ Wikipedia

Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There is also a gift shop, small museum and coffee shop inside.

Vista House - Crown Point

Vista House – Crown Point

View from Vista House (Crowne Point)

View from Vista House (Crown Point)

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Interesting fact: The Columbia River Gorge area has the greatest concentration of waterfalls in North America and most of them are on the Oregon side.

We spent the better part of a day with short hikes to check out several of the better known waterfalls, including Latourell Falls, Shepperd’s Dell, Bridal Veil, Wahkeena and the crown jewel, Multnomah Falls.

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“At 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and the second-tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.” – TravelPortland.com

What is the difference between a plunge, tier, horsetail, block, cascade, punchbowl or fan waterfall? Why are there more falls on the Oregon side? To answer these questions and find out more about the individual falls along the gorge, click here.

Could have easily spent a couple of days in this area alone and hope to return in the not too distant future to explore further. There are numerous hiking trails from easy to challenging. The Pacific Crest Trail also transits through here.

Other things to do in the area include golfing, fishing, boating, white water rafting, visit the Bonneville Dam, windsurfing and kiteboarding, winery tours, zip line and/or check out the towns of Hood River and The Dalles.

Heading south at Hood River, we continue to appreciate the natural beauty of Oregon.

Dry, dry, dry

Dry, dry, dry

The drought is starting to become more and more evident. Even the tall mountains that normally keep a snow pack year around are down to sparse bits of glacier ice. Really quite sad and more than a little frightening.

Mt Hood

Mt Hood

Coming next: The continuation of the “last lap” of our road trip with Crater Lake National Park.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for all the wonderful birthday wishes I received from friends around the world. I have mentioned before, but so worth repeating – it is the relationships that are formed along the way that make every trip we take worth it’s weight in gold. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for making me feel so special.

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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20 Responses to Final Lap of our Road Trip – Columbia River Gorge

  1. Your photo of Mt Hood is awesome. Looks like an oil painting.

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  2. Mike alesko says:

    Wonderful photos and narrative Joanne. Glad you got to see all these places after I saw you in Portland. Did you take in the wind surfers at Hood River? And how was Bend?

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  3. Absolutely stunning! Keep sharing, please! 🙂

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  4. I grew up in Portland. The Columbia River Gorge and Mt Hood are my old stomping grounds and where I first started touring guiding. It’s beautiful and there’s so much to see and do.

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  5. mdw says:

    Im photographing round this area as well.
    Stunning scenery.
    As your pics show…

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  6. shungphotography says:

    I enjoyed viewing your Columbia River and Oregon Coast posts that bring back fond memory of our visit there in Sept. 2013. Thanks for “liking” my Japan Fall Foliage post.

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  7. That brings back happy childhood memories. I don’t think I have ever seen Mt. Hood so bare, though…

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  8. restlessjo says:

    Wise or not, it sounds like you’ve had an incredible year. 🙂

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  9. Wow! Amazingly beautiful! I am planning to visit America in 2017 – Colorado – what do you think?

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    • The United States is huge with tremendous variety. Colorado is beautiful. How long will you have here? Any special interests? Some of my favorite places would include the Grand Canyon, Washington DC, New York City, Yellowstone National Park, and San Francisco.

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  10. twerkcup says:

    Tim and Joanne Joseph, these pictures are absolutely beautiful! So glad we found your site!

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