Columbia River Gorge in Oregon - Numerous Waterfalls & Beautiful Scenery
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 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
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
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 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
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
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
Eating apples we picked near Bridal Veil Falls
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
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
Beautiful grounds of Columbia Gorge Hotel
Hood River, Oregon
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
Oregon is in the scenic northwestern part of the United States.
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© 2008 Peggy Woods
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