In Waterfall Heaven

Many years ago I came to Portland to give a training class and we spent our one free day visiting  waterfalls in Columbia Gorge.  The combination of the falls and the amazing weather had me thinking I could live here permanently, so when the opportunity came up to take a work kamping job for the summer and check it out I couldn’t resist.  Originally we planned on spending today visiting the Japanese Tea Garden in Portland, but a Sunday with beautiful weather really brought out the crowds so instead we drove down to Historic Route 30 to see the gorge.  This area was absolutely stunning and will require several trips, but I wanted to share with you a few of the falls that we saw and say some things in life do live up to how you remember them.  This was the place that cemented my love of waterfalls and I have always wanted to share it with Lee.

We started Historic Route 30 in Troutdale. You can access some of the falls from Route 84 but we wanted to take the old path.


We stopped at the Chanticleer Rest Area to get our first views of the Gorge


This explains the event that caused the greatest concentration of waterfalls in North America.


You can see the Vista house in the upper right of picture. The parking spots were all full when we drove by so we will save that for a later day.


Our first stop was LaTourell Falls which was a beauty. Short walk to either an observation point of the base of the lower falls. We will be coming back later to hike the 1.8 miles roundtrip to the Upper Falls.


You can see the people at the very bottom for scale


The force of the water was blowing Lee’s shirt back


This map shows many of the main falls all along the route, although there are many others that require walking  to get to. I definitely see lots of hiking in my future!


Here was one of the un-named falls along the route


The road was very twisty and narrow (a bit like Going to the Sun road in Glacier) but really pretty


Plus everything was blooming


Even the weeds were pretty


Next up Shepherd’s Dell which is smaller but really pretty



Definitely walk down to the end of the path it’s super pretty


Don’t forget to walk across the road and see the view from the bridge


Next up was Bridal Veil falls and this one we decided to walk down to


The trail was steep coming back up but absolutely worth it


The creek was amazing leading up to it


Lots of people were in the water at the base


From the lookout absolutely breathtaking


I had to climb down and sit on the rock


Around this time though things were really getting crowded. All of the parking lots were full and near Multnoma Falls there was quite the traffic jam


We will come back on a weekday but here’s a pic I snapped from the car as a teaser


Since the crowds were getting worse, we decided to get off Historic Route 30 and get back on 84 and head back home.  But we passed the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and Lee really wanted to stop and see the giant sturgeon. Well OK, I liked the fish Hatcheries in Alaska so off we went.

These hatching areas inside the building were very interesting


Different sections had different types of fish


Big rainbow trout


The entire hatchery is totally free and I loved how many families with small kids were there


Lots of guys in this room talking about Herman the giant sturgeon


He is 70 years old and as large as a reef shark


That’s a full size tree down in that pond he is swimming next to


This gives you an idea of how big he was


They also had a wonderful gift store with lots of variety and very reasonable prices


And all the flowers were in bloom


So pretty


Then we headed back down Route 35 which is along the Hood River and saw lots of farms.  We can’t wait to go back there in July when all the farm stands are open, but we did get some amazing shots of Mount Hood on this perfectly clear day.

You are driving on a road and turn a corner and wham this is what you see. Very cool


Since we were both starving at this point we stopped at The Huckleberry Inn at  Government Camp and had a reasonably priced dinner.  For $13 I got a salad, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli, and roast beef.  Then we splurged and split an a la mode Huckleberry pie which was delicious.  We definitely need to do a better job of taking food for these long days, but since it was Huckleberries I didn’t mind so much.

The town itself was a bit disappointing, but then we are spoiled by living near all those Vermont ski towns for so many years


My kind of diner


First time having Huckleberry vinaigrette, it was pretty good. Sweet and tart.


Nice big servings. I got two meals out of this


The pie was yummy delicious!!

Terrific day despite the last minute change of plans and now we have made two big loops around the surrounding area to get the lay of the land.  Not a doubt in my mind we will have plenty to keep us busy for the 4 months we are here and look forwarding to seeing lots of waterfalls.  Lee made a video of the few we saw on this trip, which is linked below.




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18 thoughts on “In Waterfall Heaven

  1. These pics are wonderful and thanks for including the detail of the road-side information. Helps to understand where you were when taking the shots. In the October-trip file this goes!

  2. Thanks for sharing, we have traveled this road but didn’t take time to see everything. Beautiful pictures. I’ve been following you for awhile. I especially enjoyed beet harvest blogs.
    Betty James

  3. Sturgeon are amazing in that, as a species, they’ve been around since the dinosaurs! The Great Lakes have them also. They really do resemble sharks, even though they are bottom feeders and are harmless.

  4. Love the Oregon Gorge! Since you love waterfalls, I have another suggestion. Put Silver Falls State Park on your list of places to visit, if I remember correctly in a 5 mile hike you see 7 waterfalls. Beautiful hike, not too hard, very green, if it’s been recently raining take a jacket with a hood, you will get dripped on!!

  5. Glad you’re have all this time before you start your assignment. One thing is certain, you’re definitely going to blow your fuel budget😀. I was out there Monday afternoon and the crowd at Multnomah Falls was not too bad, although I did have to wait a few minutes for a parking spot (it’s tough to park the dually sometimes). The crowd was not bad at all. I was there with my grandson, we hiked up to the bridge which is a trek. The gorge is an awesome place to spend a day.

    There are two workcamp positions at Bonneville and that’s where I thought you might have been going this summer.

    Another overlook to check out for a different view of the Columbia River is the Rowena view accessed through the town of Mosier. There was a rock slide beyond the vista, east, so you have to back track to Mosier.

    Going out the river in a windy day is fun too, to watch the wind and sail surfers at Hood River.

    A ride west down highway 14 on the Washington side gives a different perspective of the Oregon cliffs.

  6. Looking forward to your side trip info. We are volunteering at the fish hatchery in Carson, WA.
    Maybe we can share some ideas.

  7. WOW!! amazing pictures! Going to definitely add this to our bucket list. So Hope you two have time to enjoy the beautiful country and have a little more time to relax this summer!! You have been working so hard and nonstop. Tracy, your blogs are terrific and help us thru the ups and downs of RV Life!! We have been full time since last August. So far.. Loving it!

  8. Tracy and Lee:

    If you are planning to go to the Japanese Tea Garden in Portland, might I also recommend that you go to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, which is located in downtown Portland in the Pearl District. We were there about a month ago, and thoroughly enjoyed it (really beautiful!). I think that Lee will enjoy all of the beautiful plantings, architecture and ponds for photography opportunities. We parked our truck at the Expo Center, and took the Light Rail into downturn (a lot of room in the parking lot, the Light Rail was safe and clean).

    Thank you for the post on the waterfalls. We are heading that way next week, so your post was very timely.

    Ed and Lynn

  9. Pingback: In Waterfall Heaven Part II – Camper Chronicles

  10. Pingback: Third Year – By The Numbers – Camper Chronicles

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