|Looking east up Columbia River Gorge from Chanticleer Point|
Every time I scoot down to Portland from Seattle, I try to sneak in a quick trip up the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Growing up on the western edge of this National Scenic Area was a gift, and I spent many days exploring the Gorge’s trails and driving the historic Columbia River Highway.Even if I’m short on time, which always seems to be the case lately, I at least go to Chanticleer Point (Portland Women’s Forum State Park) for the magnificent panorama. Then I usually drive down the old historic Columbia River Highway to Crown Point for closer views of the floodplain and up to Larch Mountain.
|Cloud-covered Larch Mountain on the left|
Sometimes I imagine what it must have been like to witness the epic floods from Lake Missoula that ravaged, scoured, and shaped the Gorge’s basalt cliffs thousands of years ago. Or I’ll think about the Lewis and Clark Expedition traveling down the Columbia before the once mighty river was tamed by dams. The expedition members explored Beacon Rock, a huge basalt core of an ancient volcano, when passing through. (Beacon Rock is the dark lump in the background upriver just to the left of Vista House on Crown Point.) I first climbed Beacon Rock the summer before sixth grade, and there's a nontechnical route that anyone whose mildly fit can climb today.
|Historic Vista House on Crown Point in foreground|
So how about you? Do you have memories to share of the Columbia River Gorge? What are the views of which you will never tire, that draw you back again and again? Chime in by leaving a comment below.
When You Go
Hop in you car or on your bicycle and head up the Gorge. Here’s a link to a map of the historic highway, with the viewpoints where these photos were taken on the western edge. From Portland take the Banfield freeway eastbound, get off at Troutdale, then head east past downtown Troutdale up the Sandy River Gorge to Springdale, then to Corbett. Chanticleer Point is just past Corbett on your left. You won't miss it!