Oregon has been a place I have always been wanting to go. When the opportunity to go on a business trip to Portland arose, I was thrilled. Though I was not able to append a weekend on either end of the business trip to get to explore more, I did have a Sunday afternoon and the hours after office hours to check some of the area.
My favorite part was driving along the Columbia River Gorge. I had not read up much about the area before going and it surprised to discover there was a gorge along parts of the Columbia River, near Portland. I discovered it by looking outside my seat window as we were close to land in PDX. I was very lucky to have picked a window seat (I am a serial aisler) and that it was on the right side of the plane which not only afforded me the opportunity to discover the gorge but also to see Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Adams. (Clearly, the airplane’s window was a little dirty and, seemingly, so was the air right above – notice the brownish line killing my clear view of the top of Mt. St. Helens).
Getting to the Columbia River Gorge from Portland was very easy. Just take I-84 East. To visit the most famous of the waterfalls, Multnomah, one doesn’t even really have to get off the interstate: there is a parking area in the middle of the interstate (a rest area) and a tunnel under the lanes to get to the waterfall.
The first main stop is phenomenal: Vista House on the Crown Point Scenic Corridor. You enjoy great vistas up- and down-river of the Columbia River from this high vantage point. I wish I had been there for sunrise or sunset (or both) – bet the view would have been even better!
After Vista House continuing eastbound, a series of waterfalls come before getting to Multnomah Falls, the tallest falls in the state. There are several trails available to get out and walk. I reserved my limited time to go up the Multnomah Falls which rises over 600 ft.
I did the round trip up and down in slightly less than an hour. It is nice they numbered the switchbacks going up but it certainly made me anxious to get to the last one – I’d rather not know how many I have left!
I do wish I had had time to go to the coast and visit the Lewis & Clark National Wildlife Refuge. I enjoyed reading the story of Lewis & Clark a few years ago and would have enjoyed seeing where their journey ended where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Next time!