Columbia River Gorge in Oregon - Numerous Waterfalls & Beautiful Scenery

Multnomah Falls

One of the many waterfalls we were to see on this portion of our trip.
One of the many waterfalls we were to see on this portion of our trip. | Source

This article will address the portion of Oregon along the Columbia River Gorge which offers the most beautiful array of cascading waterfalls and beautiful scenery that one might ever wish to see.

For about two weeks in the year 1987, my mother, niece and I decided to enjoy what we could see and explore in the State of Oregon on our vacation. We took an airplane from Houston to Portland and then rented a car.

After thoroughly enjoying Portland, the "City of Roses" , we started driving west along the beautiful Columbia River which just happens to be the 4th largest river in all of the United States.

It forms much of the border between the states of Washington and Oregon and is a total of 1,243 miles long emptying it's contents into the Pacific ocean.







Vista House at Crown Point

We were traveling alongside the Columbia River Gorge which entertains one with one breathtaking view after another. At each turn of the road one was tempted to stop and take in each site a little more fully. And stop we did!

There is a structure called the Vista House at Crown Point that was built in 1916. It is an observatory and rest stop where one can absorb the beauty of the river and it's environs from a higher vantage point.


Latourell Falls

Latourell Falls


Latourell Falls was the first of many waterfalls that we enjoyed along this route.

It is a tall and skinny falls that tumbles down into a creek strewn with many wet and slippery rocks.

A pathway leads one back from the road and gets one very close up to the falls where one can feel the mist on one's face.


Latourell Falls along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

My niece on the path to get a closer look at Latourell Falls
My niece on the path to get a closer look at Latourell Falls | Source

Wahkeena Falls

Wahkeenah Falls


Wahkeenah Falls meanders down in several twists and turns in the rocks and if one takes the path back from the road, there is a bridge built over part of the rushing water where one can can get up a little closer to view it.

For those that do not like or cannot do much hiking, it can be seen from the parking lot and is a beautiful sight to behold.


Wahkeenah Falls along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

My niece at Wahkeenah Falls
My niece at Wahkeenah Falls | Source

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls | Source

Multnomah Falls


After stopping for lunch at the quaint Chinook Inn where I enjoyed a delicious smoked salmon chowder our next stop was the gorgeous Multnomah Falls.


There is an old Indian legend regarding this waterfall. Supposedly the Multnomah people were suffering from a terrible sickness.


A medicine man in that tribe told them that if a maiden would throw herself from the high cliffs to the rocks below, the tribe would be saved. When the Chief's daughter saw that the illness was making her lover ill, she decided to sacrifice herself in order that he be spared.


According to legend, occasionally when a breeze passes through the falling water, a form of the sacrificed maiden appears.


We did not happen to view her on this particular day, but my niece and I did walk up the steep 1.2 mile trail up to the top of Multnomah Falls where the views of the Columbia River were spectacular. We also got to see the stream feeding the falls. Many other folks were met hiking the same trail and we exchanged taking each others photos from the vantage point at the top.

Oneonta Gorge


Oneonta Gorge is the home of a remarkable variety of aquatic, woodland and rock dwelling plants.

This was our next stop along the way and it was rough hiking getting over the fallen tree trunks and rocks in order to view the gorge far back from the road.

One of the photos that I took became the basis of a painting that I later created.

I thought this site to be particularly beautiful.

Oneonta Gorge / Oregon

Oneonta Gorge
Oneonta Gorge | Source

Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls



Horsetail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls were the next two waterfalls that we visited along the way.

The names give apt descriptions of what these falls depict.


Horsetail Falls along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

My niece at Horsetail Falls
My niece at Horsetail Falls | Source

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls


In the case of Bridal Veil Falls, think of an exquisite long bridal gown trailing for numerous yards behind the bride in order to accompany this lush and flowing veil. It would befit a princess!

Surrounding the parking lot at Bridal Veil Falls we found an abundance of wild blackberry bushes and wild apple trees. We picked and enjoyed eating this wonderful fruit. Blackberry bushes grow like a prolific weed in much of Oregon. We saw them everywhere!

Bridal Veil Falls along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon

Bridal Veil Falls
Bridal Veil Falls | Source

Eating apples we picked near Bridal Veil Falls

My mother and niece enjoying some of the wild apples (also wild blackberries) found near Bridal Veil Falls
My mother and niece enjoying some of the wild apples (also wild blackberries) found near Bridal Veil Falls | Source

Bonneville Lock and Dam

Bonneville Lock and Dam


Bonneville Lock and Dam was our next sightseeing destination along the Columbia River.

Not only does this dam provide energy usage for much of the Northwest, but we also got to view a Fish Ladder which allows the Chinook, coho and sockeye salmon a way to navigate to their upstream spawning waters.

Bonneville Lock and Dam along the Columbia River Gorge

Bonneville Dam
Bonneville Dam | Source
Fish Ladder at the Bonneville Lock and Dam
Fish Ladder at the Bonneville Lock and Dam | Source

Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls

Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls in the "backyard" of the Columbia Gorge Hotel
Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls in the "backyard" of the Columbia Gorge Hotel | Source

History of the Columbia Gorge Hotel - also shows photos

Columbia Gorge Hotel & Wah-Gwin-Gwin Falls


One last impression from this part of our Oregon trip that was still along the Columbia River was our reservation for the famous multi-course breakfast at the Columbia Gorge Hotel.

The hotel sits on the bank of the river and has a small waterfall from it's backyard to the Columbia River some 206 feet below. The name of the falls is Wah-Gwin-Gwin. The magnificent gardens surrounding the hotel form the background for many weddings. In fact one of the topiaries on the manicured grounds was a bride!



Getting back to that "World Famous Farm Breakfast" I kept a souvenir menu and it's offerings included the following:

"A bountiful array of seasonal fruits

Apple Fritters with Sugar and Spice

Old Fashioned Oatmeal served with brown sugar and sweet cream

Three Farm Fresh Eggs

Crispy Bacon - Country Style Smoked Pork Chop - Apple and Maple Flavored Pork Sausage

Golden hash Browned Potatoes

Home-style Baking Powder Biscuits and Apple Blossom Honey from the Sky

A Stack of Buttermilk Pancakes with Hot maple Syrup

Freshly Brewed Hot Coffee"

You might be wondering about the "Honey from the Sky?" A white apron-ed young lady offered the honey for your biscuits with quite a flourish. She would dip a spoon in the honey and lift it as far as her arm could reach towards the sky and the honey would drip down in a small stream and hit the biscuits with pinpoint accuracy!


It seemed a perfect ending to our sightseeing along the Columbia River with it's numerous water falls. This thin stream of honey was just another stream, but instead of pounding water, this latter was sweet, gooey and sugary.

Columbia Gorge Hotel

Partial view of Columbia Gorge Hotel
Partial view of Columbia Gorge Hotel | Source

Beautiful grounds of Columbia Gorge Hotel

Beautiful grounds of Columbia Gorge Hotel
Beautiful grounds of Columbia Gorge Hotel | Source
My mother and niece next to a topiary bride at Columbia Gorge Hotel
My mother and niece next to a topiary bride at Columbia Gorge Hotel | Source

Hood River, Oregon

A markerHood River, Oregon -
Hood River, OR 97031, USA
[get directions]

Like waterfalls?


At this point we departed the Columbia River and the Columbia Gorge Hotel for other sites within the beautiful state of Oregon after enjoying the numerous scenic waterfalls and gorgeous scenery all along the Columbia River Gorge. If you get a chance to visit this part of the country, perhaps this has whetted your appetite to see more?

State of Oregon

A markerOregon -
Oregon, USA
[get directions]

Oregon is in the scenic northwestern part of the United States.

Have you ever visited the Columbia River Gorge?

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© 2008 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 60 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi poetryman6969,

I am old enough to remember the days when everyone pulled in and got their tanks filled with gas; windows washed and tires checked all at no extra cost. Many teenaged boys and others were paid to do that and in fact one of my brothers earned some extra money doing just that. Not all bad! :)


poetryman6969 profile image

poetryman6969 20 months ago

Oregon is beautiful but strange. When last I was there I was not allowed to pump my own gas.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 20 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

Oregon is truly beautiful from what we got to see on our two week vacation many years ago. Perhaps you will get a chance to visit it someday. It is hard...no, impossible to get to see all the beautiful places in the world much-less our own country. At least we can enjoy seeing what we have not seen in person via photos; the Internet; television programs and the like. Thanks for the votes and share.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 20 months ago from North Texas

Can't help but feel I've missed out when I look at these gorgeous photos. Oregon is one of the dozen states I never got to visit. I've heard how beautiful it is up there and these photos of yours certainly testify to that. People planning their summer vacations might want to consider visiting the places you talk about here. They sound very interesting and look wonderful. Voted up and useful, beautiful, and interesting. Sharing with followers.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 2 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Au fait,

We actually visited this area in the summer and still saw this amount of water going over the various falls. I do understand what you mean about waterfalls being even more impressive in the early spring when the snow packs are melting. Oregon is a spectacular state for scenery. I wonder what part of it your daughter got to visit when she was a Girl Scout?


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