Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

columbia river gorge

Last week we took a 4 hour road trip through the Columbia River Highway which took us by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The more I stay in Oregon, the more I realize how big and beautiful this state is. It keeps surprising me. The landscapes that this river and this canyon provide are stunning. We were so mesmerized by the changing colors and landscapes provided in combination with the sky, the sun, the trees and the river.

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The Columbia River cuts the only sea-level passageway through the Cascade Mountain Range and also marks the state lines between Oregon and Washington.

The wide range of elevation and precipitation makes the Columbia River Gorge extremely diverse ranging from rainforests to woodlands and grasslands. Within several miles of driving you can see the ecosystems changing. It’s a beautiful sight.

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As we were getting closer to Eastern Oregon and the land was becoming more deserted, we came across the sight of many enormous and majestic-looking windmills from a distance. They were setup for many miles.

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The sign reads:

“BEACON ROCK – The Prominent monolith across the river was named Beacon Rock by Lewis and Clark, November 2, 1805. It marked the beginning of tidewater for early river explorers who used it for a landmark in their journeys.

“The Indians say that when the chinook winds blow softly up the river one can hear the wailings of unhappy, beautiful wahatpolitan, the Indian maid who climbed the rock and perished with her child, when given to a chief other the one she loved. “

columbia river dam

We drove by a couple dams like the one above.

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The road subtly zigzags in the Columbia River, from the Washington side.
The Columbia River, from the Washington side.

The Gorge is a popular destination for hiking, biking, sight-seeing, fishing, and watersports. The area is known for its high concentration of waterfalls, with over 90 on the Oregon side of the Gorge alone. Many are along the Historic Columbia River Highway, including Multnomah Falls, the tallest in Oregon.

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The Columbia River and its surroundings have so much to offer. If you are an outdoorsy person, this is heaven. You can surely find an outdoor activity and then have some good food at Hood River or some famous soft serve ice cream at the East Wind Drive-In in Cascade Locks.

East Wind Drive-In Sign source


Would you be able to finish that cone?

10 thoughts on “Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

  1. Beautiful shots of one of my favorite areas! We have relatives in Portland and Spokane so we have driven through there for Thanksgiving holidays. The Multnomah Falls is spectacular. Drive through there near Hood River in June-August and you will see windsurfers galore!

  2. I wouldn’t like to admit it, but yeah I probably will be able to finish that cone lol! That picture you took of the waterfall and the bridge looks amazing, you’re a true artist!

  3. My first time as an adult driving into Oregon was by driving the Columbia Gorge Highway. I knew right then and there I wanted to move to Oregon, even before we saw Portland. Great photos.

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