A visit to the Portland area would not be complete without an exploration of the Columbia River Gorge area. We took a local tour booked via Viator, which offers hotel pick-up from the downtown area. The first stop for the morning tour was Horsetail Falls. These beautiful falls just might look like a a horsetail as they plunge 176 feet into the Historic Columbia River’s Highway’s “Waterfall Corridor.
The Latourell Falls was to be our first falls to visit, but the site was very crowed and our guided made a detour to Horsetail circling back this must-see historic site. You can visit the lower falls with just a short walk from the parking area to watch the dramatic straight down fall of water (~224 feet). The photos here can be very stunning and taking in the sounds of nature is well worth the walk.
Our next falls on our half-day tour was Multnomah Falls, this is Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 611 feet. This falls is about 30 miles east of downtown Portland. This two-drop cascade fall attracts many visitors and is wheelchair-accessible with a viewing platform. There is a steep hiking trail that lead you to the top of the falls. These falls are worth seeing year around as the volume tends to remain steady because of the rainwater and snowmelt that feed the Multnomah Falls.
Please consider making the 1/4 mile hike to the Benson bridge, which is famous for selfies and is foot-crossing built by the lumber baron Simon Benson in 1914 spanning the falls’ second drop.
Helpful Hints for Visiting Multnomah Falls
After you have explored the falls, return to the lower level and consider stopping into the Multnomah Falls Lodge below. This lodge was built in 1925 and has excellent views and is home to a restaurant, gift shop, espresso bar and U.S. Forest Service interpretive center
Crown Point Vista House
Our last stop on the half-day tour, was the Crown Point Vista House (circa 1916). The Vista House was originally built as a rest stop observatory. Indeed, a very expensive rest area along the old Columbia River Gorge Highway. It was designated as National Historic Landmark in 1974 and restored in 2005. The views here are worth stopping for a few minutes.
Check out the Columbia River Gorge Visitors Association for maps and other attractions.