After spending a day in Portland I was really excited for the next stop on our Pacific Northwest road trip – the Columbia River Gorge. Up until this point we had done a lot of driving with a little bit of hiking. This was going to be the day when we’d get to spend hours enjoying the beautiful Oregon scenery. There are lots of pictures ahead in this post – it was too pretty not to share!
We got up early and hit the road driving the Historic Columbia River Highway. We were headed to Multnomah Falls, but got an unexpected surprise when we came upon the Vista House on our way. A lot of our trip was planned, but it was always fun to stumble upon something that we didn’t know about. This historic building was built in the early 1900′s specifically to give travelers a place to stop, rest and enjoy the view from the lookout. It was a sunny, clear morning and we spent some time taking in the spectacular view.
After stopping at Vista House we continued on our way to the falls. Before we got to Multnomah Falls we stopped at Wahkeena Falls. The falls can be seen from the base of the road, but we made the short hike to the top. We were able to climb right up into the base of the falls where we could feel the cold mist.
Our next stop was at Multnomah Falls – which is a 620 foot tall waterfall. While the falls are incredible, the immediate surrounding area feels somewhat commercialized. There is a huge parking lot nearby and a lodge out front of the falls. We were able to pick up a trail map in the lodge that would lead us more off the beaten path. The first part of our hike was to climb to the top of Multnomah falls. In the photo below you can see the bridge that allows you to walk across the falls. There’s also a really cool platform at the top where you can look down over the top of the falls.
Next we continued into the woods on our hike. Even though Multnomah Falls was crowded, the trail was fairly quiet and secluded. The woods were peaceful and we came across many cascading streams and waterfalls. We even found the spring that is the point of origin for Multnomah Falls. It’s pretty amazing that a waterfalls that big starts from water bubbling out of the ground.
My favorite waterfall wasn’t the tallest or most powerful, but was still really beautiful. Fairy Falls had such a pretty shape as it cascaded over the rocks. We were able to carefully climb onto the slippery rocks and feel the ice cold water.
In total we did about ten miles of hiking and it was worth all it. Seeing sights like this just doesn’t get old. At the end of our hike we stopped at the lodge to grab some lunch. Then we were off to do more driving as we headed north to Seattle.