In Waterfall Heaven Part II

This post is a companion piece to In Waterfall Heaven, and between the two of them it covers the main waterfalls available for view along Historic Highway 30.  You can definitely see all of the roadside waterfalls on a weekday if you start early, but parking can be a problem on the weekends.  It’s also important to note that you can see just Multnomah Falls (the largest of the falls along the route) if you stop at the rest area along Interstate 84.  It’s a nice rest area that can accommodate bigger rigs and it is an easy walk over to a very nice gift shop and the falls.  We chose to start our day at Multnomah because that is where the largest crowds are and at 9am on a Tuesday were able to get some nice pictures with no people in them.

The gift shop also has a restaurant inside. We skipped it because it was a bit pricey, but might be a nice travel day lunch break

The falls in all their glory

For scale look for a tiny person on the left side of the bridge

We walked up to the bridge which was a somewhat steep trail but well paved and maintained. These metal nets were to control rock slides

The red cedars were huge and beautiful along the trail

The path continues on and you can walk to the top of the falls. Since we were pretty tired from working hard all week, we stopped at this point.

The spray was intense totally covering the bridge and making picture taking tough but I managed to get a few

Closeup with the long lens of the top

View from the bridge to the base which is a great viewpoint and easily accessible from the rest area

Next up was Horsetail Falls.  This was nice because you could walk right down to the water and the sun was shining in beautifully on the glade


Next we walked down to Oneonta Gorge, but it was closed because of trail damage.  It turned out to be a good thing it was closed because the Newbies we work with told us later that in order to reach the waterfall you had to swim through a narrow gorge.  We definitely weren’t prepared for that and it stressed to us again in this area you really need to research your trails.  The signage really isn’t that good and even the detailed map we got from the visitors center doesn’t give that level of detail.  I think they assume up here folks know what they are doing when they go on a hike, but that certainly isn’t the case for us.

We did see a couple people walking down there but since the trail was blocked with yellow tape and a sign was posted we followed the recommendation

The cars used to come through this tunnel but now you can walk through it

Next we went to Wahkeena Falls where we saw a photo shoot taking place.

We saw this “fairy” putting on her makeup in the parking lot

This is the view at the base of the trail which isn’t spectacular but you might want to stop there. The trail to the falls is only .2 miles and paved but it is very steep

The views are awesome though at the top of the trail

You can see the fairy in the right of my picture. They were shooting the same time we were there which made it tough to get all the shots I wanted

I was huffing and puffing just carrying my camera and a water bottle. The photographer did it carrying a laundry basket lol so it can’t be that bad!

I am sure they got some neat shots of her

There are several additional trails uphill from Multnomah and Wahkeena Falls and in particular I really wanted to see Fairy Falls, which a friend had told me about.  Unfortunately the trail to that fall was called Perdition Trail and was another .4 miles straight up.  Since we hadn’t researched it and were both pretty tired from the work week we decided to give it a pass until we could do more research.  Thankfully these falls are less than 1 hour from where we are staying so there will be more opportunities to do some hiking when we have a day we are more rested.  After Wahkeena though we were done walking and decided to take a drive up to Vista House.  That parking lot was totally full the last time we came here, but this time there were lots of available spots.

The house was designed as a rest area for travelers and is a hug oval room with restrooms downstairs. They have added a gift shop and bookstore, but mostly it is still the way it was originally

The ceiling in the main room

I loved the stain glass windows which were protected behind thick plastic

It was a bit hazy but the views were still pretty and you could walk out on the balcony which was nice

Loved the bathroom

They had a little photo gallery and one of the coolest things they talked about was how Historic 30 was designed for car trips. There are no grades over 5% and it had these little auto camps along the road for people to spend the night. This was in the 1930’s and if these aren’t the precursor to the RV parks we use today I don’t know what is 🙂

Near the Vista House there is a 14 mile dirt road that has a view of 5 different mountains but after talking to the women in the visitors center we decided to skip it.  They got 20 inches of snow just a couple weeks before and they weren’t 100% sure the road was open to the top.  That coupled with the fact that it was kind of hazy we decided to save that trip for another day. Since it was 12:30pm by this time we decided to head back and stopped at Shirley’s Tippy Canoe for lunch.  I saw this place the last time we drove by and the sign made me want to stop.

Really nice fireside area once we walked inside

Cool vibe and decor

We decided to eat outside because it was such a nice day

Loved, loved these tables but Lee needed more back support so we sat in pretty comfy lawn furniture

I ordered the special which was clam chowder with shrimp and sour dough bread baked in a casserole with cheese and green onions

Lee got a triple decker Ruben

Everything should have been perfect, but unfortunately it was not.  The lunch meals were VERY pricey with almost everything (including burgers) on the menu being $17.99.  Still I thought it must be good at those prices, so we went ahead and took a chance.  My meal was extremely mediocre and Lee’s Reuben had way more turkey and very little corned beef.  The service was also pretty mediocre and all in all I was very disappointed.  If the prices would have been reasonable I would have shrugged it off but for $35 for lunch before tip I expect better.  I actually went out on Yelp and gave it 2 stars, which is something I rarely do. Just to be clear for me there are three main parts to a restaurant review.  They are food quality, service, and ambiance/cleanliness.  The higher the price point the more I expect in each category.  This restaurant was great in ambiance but not good in service or food.  For me that’s a fail.  Part of that is Lee and I have a restaurant background.  We met working in a restaurant and both of us spent many of our younger years working in them so we know how things should be.  Even when we had plenty of money we would get upset when a restaurant experience failed to meet expectations and for several years rarely ate out for just that reason.  Now that we have $150 a month dining out budget it’s even more important to me at least.  Eating in restaurants is a real treat and when things are expensive and the experience is sub par I am never going to be ok with that.  Well that’s not 100% true, if we are hanging out with friends sometimes nothing else matters.  Sometimes though, as I am sure they would tell you, I do get pretty annoyed.  That’s one of the reasons we like to hang out at our rigs and cook together when we are with friends.  We know the food and service will be excellent and the ambiance can’t be beat!

Anyways, it was still a good day  with all those waterfalls, but we decided to take Wednesday completely off.  Hopefully the job will be less physically demanding once we finish the initial cleanup, but in the meantime we may need to only sight see on Wednesdays.  We are both just too physically tired from our work week. Will see how it goes.

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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.




Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog.

  • As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Search Amazon Here
  • You can purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • You can purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.