We had traveled from Seattle to Portland last evening and awoke this morning refreshed and ready to go on a full day of waterfall hunting. Not that is really a hunt when you know that the Columbia River Gorge is only a few miles away and it has many super falls.
The day began well with a nice breakfast at the hotel’s breakfast room. Waffles, scrambled eggs, sausages, bananas, apples, muffins, toast, cereal, several kinds of juice, and of course the high-octane quicker picker-upper coffee were all available. As we headed past the front desk in the lobby the young lady at the counter asked if we were headed for the waterfalls, and we replied that we were. She had a pre-printed sheet with a couple of pictures, a small map, and some directions, which she handed to us and wished us a good day.
We proceeded out to the car and found a station to fill the car with gas we headed for what we thought was a quick trip up the road a few minutes to the falls. We were sure that we were following the directions on the sheet the girl had given us.
Wrong! Either we made a mistake or the directions weren’t correct and soon we found ourselves headed out south instead of east. Never having been there before we didn’t catch the fact that we were headed the wrong way. By the time we realized the mistake we were half way around Mt. Hood. We checked our maps one more time and continued on and rounded the entire mountain. This really wasn’t much of a problem with the scenic areas we were driving through. We stopped a couple of times to take pictures and just enjoyed the drive.
We ended up at the far end of the falls at the east end. So we see them like this...
Horsetail falls was our first. Gorgeous! This one is properly named as it truly is a horsetail type falls. It falls approximately 175 feet. There is a pool at the bottom for wading or swimming, but it’s probably very cold.
2. Upper and Lower Multnomah Falls, biggest and best of all! This one is two tiered with the top being 542 feet tall and a true falls. It drops away from the cliff face entirely to a pool at the bottom of the first section. It then falls again another 70 feet to the base. A bridge was been built just above the lower section back in the early twentieth century and from a short trail behind the lodge you can hike up to it. I understand that it is really spectacular in the dead of winter when the entire falls are covered with ice and you only see the smallest of unfrozen water near the bottom. Naturally, we are here in June and there is no sign of ice. J
Wahkenna Falls also is next to the highway and very easily accessed. This one is not the free-flowing falls as the previous, but more of a steep run off. When there is plenty of water flowing it would be more spectacular but this year it wasn’t as special as the other falls.
4. Latourell Falls is the last of the four easily accessed falls. Again on this one the water plunges off the upper cliffs edge and fall freely for 249 feet. I understand that there is an upper portion that fall from 75 to 100 feet but the trail that leads to it is about .7 miles long and fairly steep. We were unable to make that hike.
Vista House is where we ended our day’s travels along the Columbia River Gorge. The Vista House was under reconstruction during the time we were there so we were unable to go inside and see the exhibits or displays.
Vista House is located on the western end of the Historic Columbia River Highway at Crown Point State Park. It reopened in 2005 and is operated by the Friends of Vista House, a volunteer organization, in cooperation with Oregon Parks and Recreation Department since 1982.
There are more falls which can be viewed if you can hike up to them. Unfortunately at that point I couldn't hike. So I have pictures here of all the ones that can be driven to.
Portland Sights & Attractions review
Amazing waterfalls And its all FREE
During our vacation in 2002 we had the pleasure to check a small portion of this 80 mile long gorge. According to Wikipedia there are over 77 waterfa… read entire review