Columbia River Gorge

Multhomah Falls

East of Portland, I-84 follows the Columbia River and provides a beautiful view of the famous Multnomah Falls (another Oregon icon).   This photograph was taken relatively close to the falls, and without the “little people” standing on the bridge you wouldn’t have much perspective of its size.  The walk up to the bridge is not long at all, but the hike up to the top of the falls is another mile!   I made a mental note to take the hike next time I come.

Below Multnomah Falls

When I think of Oregon the first color that comes to mind is green.  Lots of rain plus moderate temperatures equals lush green everything.  I thought all of Oregon’s trees were evergreens, so I was pleasantly surprised to see “fall colors” in late October.   Nothing special about this scene along the pathway up to Multnomah Falls’ bridge, but I was struck by the contrast between the lush green ground cover and the turning leaves.   The water on the path (its always wet in Oregon) reflected the blue in the bright sky.

U.S. Highway 30

Besides Multnomah Falls, there are several other waterfalls and scenic lookouts along this stretch of the Columbia River, but they are best seen from old U.S. Highway 30.

Highway 30 guardrail

US Highway 30 is a narrow two-lane road with concrete guardrails and sometimes curbs on the hills.  This 14 mile stretch of highway was built in the early 1900’s to attract tourism.  This particular shot is a bridge, but the guard rail is typical of other areas along the highway.

Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge is two miles east of Multnomah Falls, but the Oneonta Falls are not visible from Highway 30.  It takes a little effort, including wading the stream, to get back to the falls, but since the water was just a few degrees above freezing, I decided this tree moss was much more interesting. 

Latourell Falls

The top of Latourell Falls can be seen from Highway 30, but a short walk from the road allows you to see the entire length of the falls — well worth the effort.  The path takes you  along the east side of the stream right up to the base of the falls, crosses over the stream with a foot bridge and continues down the west side of the stream.  You can even walk up to the pool under the falls.  What I found interesting about this area was the bright chartreuse-colored moss growing along the side of the cliff.  It looks more like paint than a growing organism. 

Stream below Wahkeena Falls

The path up to Wahkeena Falls was typical of the other falls; i.e. the vegetation was dense, it was damp, it was quiet except for the sound of running water and an occasional bird,  it was nature in its rawest form (no gardeners or grounds keepers here), you felt God’s presence, you were walking uphill while the water was rushing downhill towards the Columbia River, and the fall colors shone brightly against the moss.  I slowed the shutter speed down as far as I could so the water would appear “milky”; I really like this shot.

The Vista House was built in 1917 as a rest stop along US Highway 30, overlooking the Columbia River from an elevation of 733′.   Photos of the Vista House and a few others from the trip up old US Highway 30 are shown below:

Thought for the dayI believe in God, only I spell it “nature”.   Frank Lloyd Wright

2 thoughts on “Columbia River Gorge

  1. The Columbia River Gorge is a great place to spend the day (or week). So many beautiful falls, colors, views. The Washington side also has some great places to visit and both sides has plently of hiking trails to enjoy.

    Your pictures are great. I have thoroughly enjoyed them. Thanks.


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