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
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.
You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
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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!
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.
Thanks Betty!! Appreciate that. This summer will hopefully have more beautiful pictures and less hard work lol
I’m going to love your stint in Oregon! These pictures are breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.
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.
Wow – amazing waterfalls! So pretty! Sounds like you will be having an awesome summer!
Beautiful pictures, Tracy! This is definitely on my bucket list of places to see!
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!!
I absolutely will thanks so much!! I heard about that park today from a ranger in training oddly.
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.
Looking forward to your side trip info. We are volunteering at the fish hatchery in Carson, WA.
Maybe we can share some ideas.
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!
HI!!!! So great to hear from you guys. We think about you all the time. So glad things are going well.
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
Thanks for the recommendation Ed I will definitely put that on the list
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