Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway
- DesignationAll-American Road (1998)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric, Scenic
- Length70 miles
Imagine crafting a national treasure on a landscape so beautiful that each viewpoint is protected and people come from all over the world to marvel at its perfection. This is the Historic Columbia River Highway. Whether you are seeing it for the first time or you know every inch by heart, each time you drive, bike, or hike along the Historic Highway, you begin the journey anew.
Story of the Byway
One of North America’s grandest rivers, the Columbia is at its finest as it rolls through the Columbia River Gorge, framed by sheer walls of basalt, cloaked in firs and ferns and rare endemic plants, accented with waterfall after crashing waterfall.
In order to travel the Byway itself, follow the keystone signs from Troutdale east to Dodson and from Mosier east to The Dalles.
Points of Interest
The second highest year-round waterfall in the United States, is two-tiered and drops 620 feet. A steep paved trail leads visitors to a platform above the falls.
Bridal Veil Falls
Worth the short, verdant walk from the car. The trail to the falls will also take you, shortly, to an overlook of the river
Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint.
Stunnng view of the historic landmark framed by the Columbia River Gorge.
Bonneville Lock and Dam
The first of many dams to tame the Columbia. The extensive Visitor Center includes an underwater window where you can watch fish wriggling up the fish ladder to bypass the hydropower turbines.
Bridge of the Gods
The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail descends from the mountains and crosses the Bridge of the Gods to Washington state.
Rowena Crest & Loops
A viewpoint atop Rowena Crest showcases dramatic geology, and footpaths lead into the Tom McCall Preserve, a bounty of spring wildflowers and several endemic plants found only in the Gorge. The byway makes a spectacular snaky descent down the swooping curves of the Rowena Loops.
The eastern gateway to the Gorge, The Dalles was long a Native American gathering place. Downtown murals document its rich 19th-century heritage, first as a Lewis and Clark encampment, then as a staging area for Oregon Trail pioneers readying for the treacherous trip down the Columbia’s rapids.
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
Brings the region’s natural and cultural history to life.
Travel the "King of Roads"
Starting on the western portion of the Columbia River Highway, head to the city of Troutdale and head east on Interstate 84. As you head east, you can take in the beauty of the Columbia River and witness how powerful its stream is. Along the way, you are going to pass some incredible natural landmarks. Just east of the community of Corbett, you can stop by the incredible Latourell Falls which provides amazing views. After that, stop by the incredibly close Bridal Veil Falls only a few miles east. To partake in some recreational activities, stop by Benson State Recreation Area, which is perfect for swimming and fishing. The natural beauty of the area does not stop there, shortly after the Recreation Area you can visit significant natural locations such as Horsetail Falls, Oneonta Gorge, Ainsworth State Park, and Multnomah Falls. Here is where the western portion of the Highway ends, but after a short drive along Interstate 84, it picks up again for the second park of your journey.
Beginning right outside of Mosier, the eastern portion of this Highway is just as beautiful and scenic as the western portion. Right away, you can stop at the Memaloose Overlook, which gives an outstanding view of the Columbia River and the surrounding area. From there, you can continue east to Mayer State Park where you can get a great view of Rowena Crest. You can take a trip along the Lewis and Clark Trail, which is a wonderful walking trail that goes parallel to the Highway. Your journey along this Highway ends around here, but there is still so much more to explore!
Update this byway information today!