Oregon: Portland & the Columbia River Gorge
8AM- Wake up and leave the hotel in Seaside. This time we were headed straight for the land of hipsters (aka Portland) It was about an hour and a half from where we are so those lucky city folk are such a close drive to the ocean! I had to make at least one stop in Portland, OR mainly because what they dub as the "other Portland" is that which I grew up near and spent time in, Portland Maine.
9AM- The poor dogs had some energy they had to get out and we needed to make a stop where they could just run. We looked up on Google and found a great dog park only a couple of miles off the highway in Hillsboro, OR. It was called Hondo Dog Park and was all fenced and even had a separate small dog area. Ghundor, Maya and Watson enjoyed getting to romp around off leash for a little while and interact with some other dogs.
10AM- Drive around the block about 3 times and you will eventually find a parking spot near the infamous VooDoo Doughnuts. This Portland staple seemed like just the sugar rush Thomas and I would need for day three. I was worried about having to stand in line for an hour just to get a doughnut but luckily we got there at just the right time and only waited for about 15 minutes.
12PM- Arrive to the beginning of the Columbia River Gorge. First things first was to take in the expansive panoramic view from the Vista House at Crown Point. This gorgeous building was built back in 1918 and is perched a 700ft above the Columbia River.
12:30PM- Latourell Falls was the first stop of the waterfalls we were going to see today and actually the first waterfall you see along the Historic Columbia River Highway if you are approaching from Portland. This specific waterfall is interesting in that it plunges a complete 224 feet without hitting anything else off of the columnar basalt at the top.
As you can see in the picture above the other distinguishing part of Latourell Falls is the patch of bright green lichen to the right of the waterfall itself. The falls were named in 1887 after Joseph Latourell, a settler to the area.
1PM- Our next stop was at Bridal Veil Falls where coincidentally we saw a bridal shoot taking place. I love when there are ironic moments like that in life. Congrats to the bridge and groom, whomever you may be.
Bridal Veil falls stands at 118 feet tall with its tallest drop being an impressive 78 feet before continuing down Bridal Veil Creek and into the Columbia River. A 2/3 of a mile round-trip hike will bring you down to these falls, the only ones located below the Historic Columbia River Highway.
After visiting the falls we sat at a picnic table located near the parking area for a picnic lunch before continuing our waterfall journey.
2:30PM- The last waterfall stop of the day and most well-known is Multnomah Falls. This one was additionally the most crowded. An impressive two tier water fall that is a total of 635 feet in height with the furthest uninterrupted drop of 542 ft.
There was so much force coming off this waterfall that you got wet when you were on the bridge just from the spray. The bridge is only half a mile round trip to walk up to and is well worth your time as it is an accessible paved path with a number of switchbacks.
After taking in the sights we opted for a latte at the espresso stand near the lodge at the parking area to Multnomah Falls. This is a tourist trap area with bathrooms, food, coffee and even fudge!
3PM- Thomas and I had just attended a wedding the weekend prior to our road trip and fate seated us right next to someone who lives in southern Oregon. We explained to him our general plan of action and asked him the one place we absolutely must go to. He said don't miss the town of Cascade Locks along the Columbia River Gorge. And so it goes that we ended up in a parking lot next to the Bridge of Gods in Cascade Locks. I felt extremely excited to just see this bridge all thanks to Cheryl Strayed's book Wild. After taking it in we saw a small brewery around the corner from there and headed off.
The drive around the corner might have only been half a mile but the air was full of sounds of music and the island in the distance had tipi's set up all over. Thomas and I can't resist a fun looking tipi and just knew we would have to come back again someday. We pulled in to Thunder Island Brewing Co. and added to our craft brewery stops yet again. This small operation was new and though there was a storm blowing in we brought Watson on the patio with us and enjoyed our Thunder Island Brews. Read more about the brews themselves in the post Drinking Your Way Through Oregon!
5:30PM- The last stop of our very long day was in Hood River for dinner at Full Sail Brewery. Don't worry be took a break from drinking beer after this trip. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a table but it was worth the wait as we got what I considered the best seat in the house. We were on the deck staring straight out at the Columbia River. It could not have been more perfect with the people parasailing out on the river and the sun finally shining after the threat of rain all day. Drinking Your Way Through Oregon can shed some more light on this awesome brewery!
9PM- Since there was still some daylight left and the hotel we were thinking of staying at was booked we opted to drive the 2 hours from Hood River to Pendleton, OR and a Motel 6 there that had availability. This was a great way to shave a couple of hours off our long haul on Saturday, aka Day #4.
Check Out the rest of my Road Trip to Oregon Series!