We traveled through the Columbia River Gorge from Portland. If you are able, you should exit the interstate in Troutdale and enjoy the drive along Old Highway 30. You will take Exit 17 and drive by the outlet mall. The entrance to the Old Highway is marked by a large, iron arch. Your first stop will be the Crown Point and Vista House. Be sure to stop and enjoy the wonderful views. After that you will drive through a spectacular concentration of waterfalls, which are each worth a stop. Be sure to leave your car and take the short hikes down to the falls themselves. You cannot truly appreciate them from your car. (Note, we drove the Gorge on August 30th and signs indicated that it would be closed for construction beginning on 9/4/12). While all of the falls are lovely, we particularly liked Wahkeena Falls because the trail takes you right to the foot of the waterfall. Horsetail Falls were also very pretty. Multnomah Falls are beautiful, but were by far the most crowded. If you stop at each sight, the entire drive will take you approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours. We ended our drive in Hood River, so I cannot comment on any of the sights further east. Also, if you plan on doing any major hikes, you should plan on two days in the Gorge--one to make the traditional drive to see the waterfalls and one for the hike. It would be difficult to do both in one day. This is a stretch of highway that should not be missed--even if you are just visiting Portland, you should set aside a day for this drive.
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