Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Oregon Waterfalls along the Columbia Gorge


Oregon is a place with a diverse range of terrain and climate, depending on which part of the state you visit.  We went there in November to enjoy some of the waterfalls and were not disappointed.  this was the rainy season, and it did indeed rain every single day.  Many waterfalls are incredibly easy to access, so you literally just have to walk from a paved parking lot a few hundred feet to see the stunning views.  If waterfalls are your thing, you should put Oregon on your list.

If you fly into Portland and rent a car, the nearest place will be the scenic drive along the Columbia River Gorge.  Plan to take several hours so you can stop and enjoy all the falls.  Also be prepared for fog.  Though the river and falls were very pretty up close, the fog was so dense at times that we couldn't get a panoramic view of the area.  It's not a bad idea to use a restroom, and pack snacks and drinks to take with you.  There weren't many places along the scenic route to stop.  Travel Portland had a great article with links to all the falls along the way that we used to get initial information.  Truth be told, you really don't need directions once you're on the old Columbia River Highway though.  There is signage that takes you from one to another. You'll know you're nearby a waterfall when you see a pullout or parking lot.  This highway runs parallel to I-84 so if you're really in need of a pitstop, you can seek out the main highway and find a town.  I'll include some of the waterfalls we saw along the way.
Look for the ENORMOUS boulders in the creeks, covered in moss and leaves

Hiking trails are easy and many are paved




You can get close enough to feel the spray of the water

Look at the tiny people and you will realize how tall this waterfall is
For driving directions, there's a link at Travel Oregon that gives you turn by turn directions. You'll be starting at the Crown Point Vista House (below) where you can get a nice view of the gorge area on a clear day.  Not sure if and when that happens.  By our photos, you'll see lots of dense Oregonian fog.  Inside is quite beautiful.  Photos tell the story of the highway and the history of the people who came here in the early 1900s.  It really is a manmade marvel.

View of the river from the Crown Point Vista House

Photo essay about the highway and the history

If you need a local spot for lunch, we went to Cascade Locks and got a recommendation from someone who lives there to try East Wind Drive-In.  It's the dictionary definition of a hole in the wall joint.  I think there were maybe 5 stools.  You order simple food- burgers, fries, ice cream, etc.  We had salmon burgers and they were fantastic.  The ice cream cones were so large you might have to hold them at your belly button to lick the top!  OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but you won't go hungry!  The locals add berry to the ice cream as it comes out of the machine and it's not only pretty, but creamy and fruity too.  Our entire trip took about a half day.  I would love to do it again in drier weather!

No comments:

Post a Comment