One of the things Portland, Oregon is famous for, is its abundance of beautiful nature – rivers, hiking trails, tall trees, and waterfalls! During our last day in the city, we joined a half day tour taking us on the Historic Columbia River Highway to The Gorge Waterfalls in Portland, OR.
We headed out on a Saturday afternoon, picked up in Portland city by our super friendly guide in a mini bus and headed on our way! After some driving along the highway, we entered into the small town of Troutdale and onto the Historic Columbia River Highway, which is the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. All the way through, our tour guide was giving us all kinds of fun little tidbits of information about things we passed on the way.
Heading along the Sandy River we first stopped at Crown Point or a quick visit to Vista House, an intricately designed rest stop with beautiful views of the Gorge. Vista House is an observatory and museum and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After our short stop at Crown Point we headed on to our first waterfall of the day – Latourell Falls. As we got to the fall three girls were actually pretty much standing in the waterfall taking pictures. This one kind of comes down to a spot that makes you want to walk right into it. And we did walk right up to it (though not right under the water) and got a nice misty showering from the fall. Beautiful!
On the road again we headed for Bridal Vail where we got to see another beautiful waterfall, as well as the tiny town of Bridal Vail which our guide told us has one of the smallest yet most popular post offices in the United States. We drove right past it and it was the cutest thing I’ve seen – imagine a tiny little cottage with a post office sign on it. It’s popularity is due to the towns name and people getting engaged and wanting to send their wedding invitations from Bridal Vail.
The waterfall in Bridal Vail felt almost like a hidden gem as we came in a back road and our guide led us down a hidden path. I climbed up on a big rock right at the base of the waterfall to get up close and personal with it. Stunned by how mesmerising cascading water can be.
Our final stop of the day was at the Multnomah falls, but before that we made a quick stop by the Bonneville Fish Hatchery to feed the salmon and check out the Sturgeon viewing center to say hello to “Herman”, a local celebrity – a 70 year old, 10 feet long and 450 pound sturgeon.
Above: the pond of salmon that happily nibbled up the pellets of food we gave them. The famous Herman was a bit shy on this particular day so, although I did see him (he was indeed huge), I didn’t get a good photo of him. You’ll just have to visit him for yourself!
Onwards from the fish hatchery we headed to Multnomah falls, which is the highest waterfall in Oregon (and second highest in the nation). Due to the gorge wildland fire in 2017 parts of the falls were closed off. Normally the bridge you see in the photos is accessible by visitors but is currently closed to the public for safety reasons.
The tour was wonderful and our guide was excellent. I loved all the little bits of interesting information she shared throughout the day about the falls and Portland in general. Seeing the aftermath and destruction still visible from the 2017 wildland fire was sad. Although a lot of the land appears to have recovered well, there’s spots of trees that are gaping bare and lots of tree trunks that are charred and black from the fire.
We took this tour with Wildwood adventures, I can definitely recommend them if you’re in the area and want to get a good tour of the falls.