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“Sometimes an Old Highway is the fastest way Home!”

Columbia River Highway
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Portland Sightseeing Tour Including Columbia Gorge Waterfalls
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Mt Hood Day Trip from Portland to Multnomah Falls and Hood River
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Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls and Mt Hood Tour
Ranked #1 of 20 things to do in Troutdale
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A historical highway built as the first paved road in the Northwestern portion of Oregon.
Reviewed April 3, 2013

The Columbia River Highway was built for folks from Portland to get up into the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge to enjoy what nature has to offer! Built in the early 1900's, it was an amazing project with fantastic tunnels and rockwork. It brings you face to face with giant Basalt Lava cliffs, gorgeous waterfalls, towering giant trees and green green plants of all types. There is water water everywhere, and it is a great get away from the hustle and bustle, and once you really get into it, you can forget that busy I84 is right nest door!

1  Thank Lorenzo B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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303 - 307 of 407 reviews

Reviewed February 17, 2013

I took my first trip on the Columbia River Highway in 1955 and have never tired of the drive and the views. Whether I drive straight through, or I visit one of the waterfalls and hike one of the many scenic trails and then stop off at one of my favorite restaurants for a meal, it is all good for my soul.

Thank Rob R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

This is a narrow, winding 2-lane road, built in the 20s and 30s, out the Columbia Gorge. It's green and beautiful and quiet, and passes by at least a dozen water falls, some small, some huge, all beautiful. There are many trailheads on this road where you can pull off and take a short hike up into the beautiful woods, or bring a lunch and pack in a bit. This highway is one of Oregon's crown jewels.

Thank Virginia1120
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 25, 2013

The lower Columbia Gorge is the one must-do excursion for visitors from Portland. Even if you're car-free for your visit, it's worth renting a car for a day to check it out. I'd choose the Gorge over Willamette Valley wine country or the north Coast if I could only pick one.

The Historic Columbia River Highway is nearly 100 years old and was a marvel of engineering when it was built. It's a twisty, beautiful, narrow 2-lane road, and now it's the road less traveled with I-84 carrying most of the traffic through the Gorge. The HCRH passes tons of waterfalls and has spectacular views of the 4000' deep chasm at Crown Point (though views are stunning all the way through the Gorge). Multnomah Falls is the most popular stop along the way, and has a great short hike to the base of the falls (along with a decent little gift shop). There are a number of other waterfalls, and practically unlimited hiking opportunities. Eagle Creek is a great hike, which passes tons of waterfalls and even passes through a cave behind a waterfall.

Couple things to be aware of: on many hikes you do need to watch for poison oak, which is rampant at lower elevations. Also, as the only gap in the mountains below 3000' between Canada and Mexico, the sea-level Gorge gets some wicked winds and can have brutal weather in the winter. But the winds also make it one of the top windsurfing destinations in the world, so on breezy summer days watch for parts of the mile-wide Columbia to be dotted with brightly colored sails.

Near Cascade Locks, I've heard the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam are worth a visit, and when the salmon are running you can usually buy the best salmon you've ever had for a few dollars a pound at roadside stands.

At the far end (from Portland), you get to Hood River, a fun town with tons of sports shops, nice places to eat and drink, and B&Bs. South of town, the Hood River valley is a major fruit-growing area and has a number of farms you can visit and buy fresh produce (in season), and is also a burgeoning wine region with plenty of tasting opportunities.

If you have a whole day, combine the HCRH with a trip around the Hood River valley, or even better, a loop around Mount Hood, stopping at historic Timberline Lodge. If you want to spend the night and have camping gear, there are also a number of nice campgrounds between Troutdale and Hood River.

1  Thank Dan W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2013

this is a really neat little building that is so old. Wonderful sweeping views of the gorge from up-high. It's a must see for anyone from out of state!

Thank Squegee13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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