Last week we took a 4-hour road trip to Pendleton through the Columbia River Highway which took us by the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The longer I stay in Oregon, the more I realize how big and beautiful this state is. It keeps surprising me. The landscapes that this river and this canyon provide are stunning. We were so mesmerized by the changing colors and landscapes provided in combination with the sky, the sun, the trees and the river.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia River cuts the only sea-level passageway through the Cascade Mountain Range and also marks the state lines between Oregon and Washington.
The wide range of elevation and precipitation makes the Columbia River Gorge extremely diverse ranging from rainforests to woodlands and grasslands. Within several miles of driving, you can see the ecosystems changing. It’s a beautiful sight.
As we were getting closer to Eastern Oregon and the land was becoming more deserted, we came across the sight of many enormous and majestic-looking windmills from a distance. They were setup for many miles.
We decided to stop for a couple minutes and enjoy the sights around us and read about Beacon Rock.
The sign reads:
“BEACON ROCK – The Prominent monolith across the river was named Beacon Rock by Lewis and Clark, November 2, 1805. It marked the beginning of tidewater for early river explorers who used it for a landmark in their journeys.
“The Indians say that when the chinook winds blow softly up the river one can hear the wailings of unhappy, beautiful wahatpolitan, the Indian maid who climbed the rock and perished with her child, when given to a chief other the one she loved. “
We drove by a couple dams like the one above.
The area is also known for its high concentration of waterfalls, with over 90 on the Oregon side of the Gorge alone. Many are along the Historic Columbia River Highway, including Multnomah Falls, the tallest in Oregon.
Soft Serve at Cascade Locks
The Gorge is a popular destination for hiking, biking, sight-seeing, fishing, and watersports. The Columbia River and its surroundings have so much to offer. If you are an outdoorsy person, this is heaven. You can surely find an outdoor activity and then have some good food at Hood River or some famous soft serve ice cream at the East Wind Drive-In in Cascade Locks.
Would you be able to finish that cone?