Sunday, October 13, 2013

Columbia River Gorge -- Falls and Crown Point

With 77 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge alone, we had no trouble finding some to see close up. We wrote about Munra Falls yesterday and will cover two more today.

On our return trip from Hood River, OR, to Woodland, WA, via US 30, viewing Horsetail Falls required only a short walk across the highway from the parking lot.
As we walked along the path, we caught different views of these falls.
We were intrigued by the hourglass appearance of these falls.

A closer look revealed that a second falls joined the higher falls at the midsection of the falls.
The 178-foot falls created an inviting image.
Then it was on to "...the most visited natural attraction in Oregon," Multnomah Falls. We joined the over 2.5 million visitors who come to see the falls each year from every part of the world.
Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge with a total drop of 620 feet.
Lumber baron, Simon Benson, an avid philanthropist, donated funds for the land encompassing Multnomah Falls and for the 1914 construction of the Benson Bridge, which spans the chasm above the lower falls.
The lower falls was impressive by itself,
but the upper falls with its artistic spray and the bridge in the foreground created a stunning scene.
We left Multonah Falls and headed west. Much of US 30 was tree-lined as we climbed for the views from Vista House at Crown Point.

Crown Point with Vista House is shown on the right in the photo below. "Once called 'Thor’s Heights,' Crown Point is a basalt promontory shaped by the same volcanic lava flows, floods and winds that created the Columbia River Gorge. Cited for its 'exceptional value in illustrating the natural history of the U.S.,' it was designated as a National Natural Landmark in 1971" (
A closer view of Vista House is shown below.
"Construction of the Vista House began in 1916, in the words of the highway’s chief engineer Samuel Lancaster, as an 'Isle of Safety to all the visitors who wish to look on that matchless scene.'”
"Edgar Lazarus designed Vista House (the structure is 44 feet in diameter and 55 feet high) as an example of modern German architecture.

"Tokeen Alaskan Marble was used to surface the floors and stairs in the rotunda and as wainscoting on the basement walls. The inside of the dome and its supporting ribs were painted to simulate the marble and bronze. Attached to the wall just below the dome, eight busts of four unidentified Native Americans are aligned so that each mirrors its own likeness.
"As Lancaster described it, the Crown Point promontory was the ideal site for 'an observatory from which the view both up and down the Columbia could be viewed in silent communion with the infinite'” (

If placed side by side, the next five photos would show a panoramic view, looking north from the west to the east.

Lancaster's description of the view from Crown Point still rings true.

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