Exploring Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge

Today got off to a much earlier start than I have been used to over the past few days. Since arriving in Las Vegas it just seems that I have been going with late starts. However, the one thing that I have learned while travelling is that tours don’t start late. If you are not on time for the early starts you just miss the bus and that is something I did not want to do today.

Columbia River Gorge Tour

The tour that I had chosen today was with Grayline of Portland to visit Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge. Well, it was not so much a choice as much about the only tour I could easily book. So many of the tours seem to require you to give out credit card numbers over the phone. However, to be honest I am glad this was the tour that I was able to book, as you will see below.

The Perfect Day

The last two days have been very overcast days with plenty of cloud coverage. Today, on the other hand, was the complete opposite with clear blue skies and the sun shining down. Which of course is the perfect weather to get some great photos.

Vista House

The first stop today was at a place named Vista House, which is located 800 feet above the Columbia River Gorge. A smallish eight-sided building but in a spectacular location especially on a clear day like today.

Columbia River Gorge - Vista House

From this location, you also get a fantastic view of the Columbia River Valley in both directions. Pictured below is the view to the west, which is the direction the tour is headed to visit some waterfalls.

Columbia River Gorge

Latourell Falls

The first of four waterfalls that we would see today is Latourell Falls. The waterfall is just a short walk from the road, but may not be the most impressive part of this spot. The landscape that surrounds the waterfall is almost more impressive. Latourell Falls drop a distance of 249 feet or 76 meters surrounded by a landscape created by volcanic activity.

Columbia River Gorge - Latourell Falls

Shepperd’s Dell

The next waterfall we stopped at was Shepperd’s Dell. Well that is the name of the canyon that the waterfall is in anyway. The waterfall is split into two sections, the upper section is a 13m drop and the lower a 15m drop. They are both pictured in order below.

Columbia River Gorge - Shepperds Dell Upper Falls Columbia River Gorge - Shepperds Dell Lower Falls

Multnomah Falls

The next stop was at Multnomah Falls, the primary stop for the day as the name of the tour implies. Which is the largest and most impressive waterfall for today. The waterfall is split into two drops again, like Shepperd’s Dell, only much more dramatic.

The area around here is well suited to hiking, but there is not the time for that today with the tour. I did have time to walk up to the foot bridge. But the pictures are much better from down below. The total drop of the falls over both sections is 620 feet or 189m (the top drop is 524 feet or 165m).

Columbia River Gorge - Multnomah Falls Columbia River Gorge - Multnomah Falls Lower

Horsetail Falls

There was one final waterfall that was not on the tour, but close enough for a passing look. The waterfall was Horsetail Falls which I managed to get a photo from the window of the bus as we passed.

Columbia River Gorge - Horsetail Falls

Bonneville Fish Hatchery

There were still a few more things to see on the tour after the waterfalls. The first was the Bonneville Fish Hatchery. From here there were some wonderful views across the Columbia River.

Columbia River Gorge - Bonneville Fish Hatchery

Bonneville Dam

Not far from the hatchery is the Bonneville Dam. Our visit was timed quite well as there was a good show with all of the dam gates open to some degree.

Columbia River Gorge - Bonneville Dam

Due to the way the fish breed, there is also a special feature at the Bonneville Dam. There is a fish ladder that allows for the fish to move from below the dam wall to above the dam wall. Which is an important part of their breeding and life cycle the tour guide told us.

Columbia River Gorge - Bonneville Dam Fish Ladder

Back In Portland

Portland is a city known for their independent breweries, so I thought I would look to give another one a try today. I had spotted one yesterday, so managed to find my way back there today. Located on the corner of NW 11th Ave and NW Davis St is Deschutes Brewery. They are making use of what appears to be an old warehouse or industrial building on the corner.

Portland - Deschutes Brewery

There was a little disappointment in the menu, as I had been hoping to have a steak for lunch today. But the menu was rather lacking in this department. The waiter worked was going through the menu, and when I asked if there were gluten free options, there was a few.

I end up ordering their brewery burger, which is meat, lettuce, tomato and onion with a ranch sauce on gluten free bread. Served along with what looked like hand cut chips. I did give one of the beers a try, a gluten-free golden ale. But I just think beer is not my thing, I am still to find one that grabs me enough to try again.

Great Day

The tour today end up being a great choice and very happy to see the area around the Columbia River Valley. I think it is an area that I would very much like to return one day in the future.

For the rest of the afternoon, I will like take a look at some of the unique bridges around Portland. But will likely include that at a later time, with tomorrow being a travel day heading from Portland to Victoria, BC. The last picture I will leave you with is of Mount St Helens. I think this image was from the hotel.

Portland - Mount St Helens

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