Species seen nowhere else in the world, dramatic basalt lava flows nearly a mile deep, and some of the world's most beautiful waterfalls are a few of the sights that await you on this tour. Come experience the grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge, one of the United States' most photographed Natural Scenic Reserves. We will drive along the oldest scenic highway in the US, stopping at sweeping viewpoints, flowing falls, a historic lodge, and the famed Bonneville Dam Sturgeon viewing center!
We will depart downtown Portland and head east along the Columbia River to the quaint town of Troutdale, also known as the Gateway to the Gorge! There, we will join the beautiful Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States, and wind our way along the Sandy River to our first stop for the day: Crowne Point. This famous overlook sits 733 feet above the Columbia River, atop the remains of a lava flow that swept through the Gorge around 14 to 17 million years ago! There we will find 180 degree amazing views of the Columbia River Gorge and will also have time to explore the Vista House, an intricately designed observatory and museum that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From there we will again join the historic highway as we drive deeper into the Columbia River National Scenic Area. Our first waterfall for the day will be the dramatic Latourell Falls, plunging 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt! Our next waterfall will be Wahkeena Falls, said to be the most scenic waterfall along the historic highway (probably due to its spectacular alluvial fan)! Wahkeena Falls crashes over 242 feet and is complimented by an ornate stone bridge. Depending on the season, a short .25 mile paved trail hike will be led to get closer to the falls at one of these first two waterfalls.
The next waterfall we will visit will be the grand Multnomah Falls, the highest waterfall in Oregon and second highest in the nation! Here we will have plenty of time to explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge (a Cascadian style stone and timber lodge built in 1925 that now houses an interpretive center, the Multnomah Falls Lodge Restaurant, gift shop and snack bar) as well as the beautiful Multnomah Falls itself. This natural wonder plummets 620 feet in two major steps, accented by the Benson Bridge. Our guests will have the option to admire the falls from the easily accessible viewing platform, or journey on another short .25 mile paved hike to the famous bridge.
We will drive by the world famous Oneonta Gorge as we make our way to the last waterfall for the day, Horsetail Falls. This striking 176 foot waterfall gets its name from its shape, which resembles a horse's tail. From here we will make our way to the Bonneville Lock and Dam, a run-of-the-river dam that spans the Columbia River. There we will spend about 20 minutes on a short walking tour of the impressive Fish Hatchery (the largest in Oregon) and Sturgeon viewing center! At the viewing center we will visit 'Herman' the sturgeon, a famous 70 year old, 10 foot long, 450 pound sturgeon with pre-historic roots! Following that, we will return to Portland via the Columbia River scenic route (approximately 45 mins).