Columbia River Scenic Highway – 75 miles The Dalles – Troutdale Oregon

Mount Hood

A drive along US 30 in Oregon is one of the most beautiful and scenic journeys that I have ever experienced. It gives the Pacific Coast Highway a run for it’s money.

We followed the route from Kennewick in Washington State  into Oregon but the road doesn’t become scenic until a little town called The Dalles. The Columbia River winds beneath you through forest covered valleys. There is a railway track either side of the gorge that snakes itself close to the river’s edge. Mount Hood (pic) rises in the distance with it’s snow covered slopes. Truly stunning vistas are signposted from the road. Don’t miss the opportunity to take one of the winding roads to one of the viewing points. There is ample parking available to pull in for unforgettable views of the river below.

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The most popular natural attraction is the waterfall area towards Troutdale. A short drive of the highway and waterfalls fuelled by snow melt tumble over the hill top into the valley floor. There are five waterfalls including The Horsetail Falls and the most famous of them all Multnomah Falls.

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Moss covered forests by the edges of the waterfalls create a natural wonderland. There are hiking trails that take you up to the hill top with more stunning views of the river valley below.

The most popular viewing point is Crown Point and Vista House near Troutdale. Crown Point is a promontory on the meander of the river and is a state park. It is very close to the waterfall area.

Tip: Parking on the narrow country lanes in the waterfall scenic area are bound to be busy in high season so plan your travel times early or later in the day when the crowds will be thinner.

If you approach the US 30 from Portland it would make an ideal excursion for half a day. We continued into Portland on this occasion but will not forget the beauty and stunning views of the Columbia Gorge.