Beauty of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Clark Forester

Updated on:

Explore the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is a breathtaking journey through the rich history and natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. This historic highway turned trail offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the stunning scenery and discover the stories that shaped this iconic region.

Originally built in the early 1900s, the highway was a marvel of engineering and a testament to human ingenuity. It was the first paved highway in the Pacific Northwest and quickly became a popular route for travelers seeking adventure and exploration. Today, the trail follows the path of the original highway, allowing visitors to walk or bike in the footsteps of those who came before.

As you make your way along the trail, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the majestic Columbia River and its dramatic gorge. The river, with its powerful currents and towering cliffs, has long been a source of inspiration for artists and adventurers alike. Whether you’re an avid hiker or a casual stroller, the trail offers something for everyone, from easy, leisurely walks to more challenging hikes that reward you with breathtaking vistas.

But the trail is not just about the natural beauty of the river and its surroundings. It is also a journey through history, with numerous interpretive signs and markers along the way. These provide fascinating insights into the people and events that shaped the region, from the Native American tribes who first called this land home to the pioneers and visionaries who built the highway.

Discover the Beauty of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Discover the Beauty of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is a stunning trail that allows visitors to explore the rich history and natural beauty of the Columbia River. This trail, which is located in the state of Oregon, offers a unique opportunity to experience the beauty of the river and its surrounding landscape.

The trail follows the path of the historic Columbia River Highway, which was the first scenic highway in the United States. Built in the early 20th century, the highway was designed to showcase the natural wonders of the Columbia River Gorge. Today, the trail provides a glimpse into the past as visitors walk or bike along its scenic route.

As you make your way along the trail, you will be treated to breathtaking views of the Columbia River and its majestic surroundings. The trail winds through lush forests, past towering waterfalls, and alongside dramatic cliffs. Along the way, you may even spot wildlife such as eagles, osprey, and deer.

In addition to its natural beauty, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is also home to several historic sites and landmarks. These include the Vista House, a beautiful observatory that offers panoramic views of the gorge, and the Multnomah Falls Lodge, a historic lodge that provides a charming place to rest and enjoy a meal.

Whether you are a nature lover, history enthusiast, or simply looking for a scenic adventure, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail has something for everyone. With its stunning views, rich history, and diverse wildlife, this trail is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting the Columbia River region.

So lace up your hiking boots or hop on your bike, and get ready to discover the beauty of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. You won’t be disappointed!

Experience the Rich History

Experience the Rich History

As you explore the Columbia River Highway State Trail, you will be immersed in the rich history of the area. This historic highway, which was the first scenic highway in the United States, was built in the early 20th century to connect the cities of Portland and The Dalles.

The highway was designed to showcase the natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, with its stunning waterfalls, towering cliffs, and lush forests. It quickly became a popular destination for tourists, who would travel along the highway to take in the breathtaking views.

Today, the Columbia River Highway State Trail allows visitors to experience this historic route in a new way. Whether you choose to walk, bike, or even horseback ride along the trail, you will be able to see the same sights that early travelers marveled at over a century ago.

Along the trail, you will also find interpretive signs and markers that provide information about the history of the area. These signs tell the stories of the people who built the highway, the challenges they faced, and the impact the highway had on the surrounding communities.

In addition to the natural beauty and historical significance of the trail, there are also several state parks and recreation areas along the way. These parks offer picnic areas, hiking trails, and opportunities for fishing and boating, allowing visitors to fully immerse themselves in the beauty of the Columbia River.

Trail Name Length Difficulty
Columbia River Highway State Trail 73 miles Easy to moderate

Whether you are a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a scenic adventure, the Columbia River Highway State Trail offers something for everyone. Come and experience the rich history of this iconic highway and discover the beauty of the Columbia River.

Learn about the Road’s Origins

The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is a scenic trail that follows the path of the historic Columbia River Highway in the state of Oregon. This highway was the first planned scenic roadway in the United States and was designed to showcase the natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge.

The idea for the highway originated in the early 1900s when Samuel Hill, a prominent businessman and advocate for good roads, proposed a scenic highway along the Columbia River. With the support of the state government and the newly formed Oregon State Highway Commission, construction on the highway began in 1913.

The construction of the highway was a monumental task, as it required the construction of numerous bridges, tunnels, and retaining walls to navigate the rugged terrain of the Columbia River Gorge. The highway was completed in 1922 and quickly became a popular tourist destination, attracting visitors from all over the country.

Over the years, the highway fell into disrepair and was eventually replaced by Interstate 84. However, in the 1980s, a movement to restore and preserve the historic highway began. Today, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is a testament to the vision and ingenuity of those who built the original highway.

Visitors to the trail can experience the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge and learn about the history of the highway through interpretive signs and exhibits. The trail offers stunning views of waterfalls, cliffs, and forests, making it a popular destination for hikers, cyclists, and nature enthusiasts.

So, if you’re looking for a unique and scenic adventure, make sure to explore the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail and learn about the road’s origins. It’s a journey through history and nature that you won’t want to miss!

Explore the Historic Landmarks

Explore the Historic Landmarks

As you traverse the Columbia River Highway State Trail, you will have the opportunity to explore numerous historic landmarks. These landmarks provide a glimpse into the rich history of the area and offer a unique perspective on the development of the Columbia River Highway.

  • The Vista House: Perched atop Crown Point, the Vista House offers breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge. This iconic structure was built in 1918 and serves as a memorial to Oregon pioneers. Take a moment to admire the stunning architecture and enjoy the panoramic vistas.
  • Multnomah Falls: One of the most famous waterfalls in the United States, Multnomah Falls is a must-see landmark along the Columbia River Highway. Standing at an impressive 620 feet, this two-tiered waterfall is a sight to behold. Take a short hike to the bridge for an up-close view or continue to the top for an even more rewarding experience.
  • Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail: The trail itself is a historic landmark, as it follows the original route of the Columbia River Highway. This scenic trail stretches for miles, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, and even horseback riding. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the Columbia River Gorge as you explore this historic trail.
  • Bonneville Lock and Dam: Located just east of Cascade Locks, the Bonneville Lock and Dam is another notable landmark along the Columbia River Highway. This impressive engineering feat was completed in 1938 and plays a vital role in the management of the Columbia River. Take a guided tour to learn more about the dam’s history and its impact on the region.

These are just a few of the many historic landmarks you can explore along the Columbia River Highway State Trail. Each landmark offers a unique glimpse into the past and adds to the overall experience of traversing this historic trail. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply enjoying the scenic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, there’s something for everyone along this iconic highway.

Enjoy the Breathtaking Scenery

Enjoy the Breathtaking Scenery

As you traverse the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, you will be treated to some of the most breathtaking scenery in the Pacific Northwest. The trail follows the path of the mighty Columbia River, offering stunning views of the water as it winds its way through the state of Oregon.

With its towering cliffs and lush green forests, the Columbia River Gorge is a sight to behold. The trail takes you through this natural wonder, allowing you to immerse yourself in its beauty. As you walk or bike along the trail, you will be surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature, with the rushing river on one side and the towering cliffs on the other.

One of the highlights of the trail is the Multnomah Falls, a majestic waterfall that cascades down from the cliffs above. This iconic landmark is a must-see for any visitor to the area. As you stand at the base of the falls, you can feel the mist on your face and hear the roar of the water as it crashes into the pool below.

Another scenic spot along the trail is Crown Point, a promontory that offers panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge. From this vantage point, you can see for miles, taking in the vastness of the river and the surrounding landscape. It’s a truly awe-inspiring sight that will leave you speechless.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or simply someone who appreciates beautiful scenery, the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail has something for everyone. So grab your hiking boots or hop on your bike and get ready to experience the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge firsthand.

Marvel at the Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a breathtaking natural wonder that is best experienced by exploring the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. This trail offers visitors the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beauty and history of the area, while enjoying a scenic and leisurely journey.

As you travel along the trail, you will be treated to stunning views of the Columbia River and the surrounding gorge. The highway winds its way through lush forests, past cascading waterfalls, and alongside towering cliffs. It is a truly awe-inspiring sight that will leave you in awe of the power and beauty of nature.

One of the highlights of the Columbia River Gorge is Multnomah Falls, which is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and one of the most iconic landmarks in the state. The trail offers several viewpoints where you can stop and admire the falls, or you can take a short detour to hike to the top for an even more incredible view.

In addition to the natural beauty, the Columbia River Gorge is also rich in history. The area was once home to Native American tribes, who relied on the river for sustenance and transportation. Later, European settlers arrived and established towns and farms along the river. The Historic Columbia River Highway was built in the early 20th century to connect these communities and provide a scenic route for travelers.

Today, the highway has been transformed into a state trail, allowing visitors to experience the history and beauty of the Columbia River Gorge at their own pace. Whether you choose to hike, bike, or drive along the trail, you are sure to be amazed by the stunning vistas and fascinating stories that await you.

Trail Highlights Distance Difficulty
Multnomah Falls 0.6 miles Easy
Wahclella Falls 2.0 miles Moderate
Horsetail Falls 2.6 miles Moderate
Oneonta Gorge 1.0 mile Difficult

Whether you are a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a scenic adventure, the Columbia River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So pack your bags, hit the trail, and prepare to be amazed by the wonders of this incredible destination.

Admire the Waterfalls Along the Trail

Admire the Waterfalls Along the Trail

As you explore the historic Columbia River Highway State Trail, you will be treated to breathtaking views of numerous waterfalls. The trail follows the path of the historic highway, which was once the main route through the Columbia River Gorge. This scenic route was designed to showcase the natural beauty of the area, and the waterfalls are a highlight of the journey.

One of the most famous waterfalls along the trail is Multnomah Falls. This iconic waterfall is the tallest in the state of Oregon, with a total height of 620 feet. Its two cascades are fed by underground springs and flow year-round, creating a mesmerizing sight. Visitors can admire the falls from a viewing platform or hike to the top for a closer look.

Another notable waterfall along the trail is Horsetail Falls. This waterfall gets its name from its unique shape, which resembles the tail of a horse. The water plunges 176 feet down a sheer cliff face, creating a stunning display of natural beauty. A short hike from the trail will take you to the base of the falls, where you can feel the mist on your face and listen to the soothing sound of rushing water.

One of the advantages of the Columbia River Highway State Trail is that it provides easy access to multiple waterfalls in a relatively short distance. This allows visitors to experience a variety of different waterfalls in one trip. Some other notable waterfalls along the trail include Wahkeena Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Latourell Falls.

Waterfall Height Description
Multnomah Falls 620 feet The tallest waterfall in Oregon, with two cascades fed by underground springs.
Horsetail Falls 176 feet A unique waterfall that resembles the tail of a horse, plunging down a sheer cliff face.
Wahkeena Falls 242 feet A beautiful waterfall with multiple tiers, surrounded by lush greenery.
Bridal Veil Falls 118 feet A delicate waterfall that flows gracefully down a moss-covered rock face.
Latourell Falls 249 feet A stunning waterfall with a unique columnar basalt formation.

Whether you’re a nature lover, a photography enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, the waterfalls along the historic Columbia River Highway State Trail are sure to leave a lasting impression. Don’t forget to bring your camera and take some time to soak in the beauty of these natural wonders.

Leave a Comment