Historic Columbia River Highway 30

Last night’s fast moving storm cell brought rain and hail, totally unexpected. It was such a nice sunny day, in the upper 80’s and then wham. The hail hammered on our RV roof leaving me wondering what it was doing up there. I never ventured out to check but I didn’t see any water dripping from the ceiling inside.  It must be ok..??

Shortly after 9 this morning, we piled into the Tacoma and with the windshield wipers flapping, we started our exploration of the famous Historical Columbia River Highway 30.

The Historic Columbia River Highway exists as America’s first scenic highway. Running a total length of 73 miles through the Columbia River Gorge from Troutdale to The Dalles it is recognized as a National Historic Landmark…….Modeled after the great scenic roads of Europe, the goal was to create a road that was drivable by the then popular Model T as well as a way to showcase the natural beauty of the Columbia Gorge Area. In total, the highway cost around $11 million to build at the time of construction. The construction itself took place between 1913 and 1922 with a dedication of the highway at Multnomah Falls in 1916.

The highway is perfectly sized for a model T, but for two full size modern-day vehicles, it’s pretty tight driving.  I did notice a couple of mirrors alongside the road and it wasn’t mine.

The highway follows the river inside the Columbia River Gorge for about 70 miles.  Just about the majority of our drive was through state parks.  There are lots of hiking trails and spectacular views of waterfalls.

It’s spring time and the snow runoff is in full force. Waterfalls are at their premium viewing time and people drive miles, even from Virginia, to see these great wonders.

We had a little free time and we decided that we needed to get a little extra exercise.  “Let’s go to the top and see the falls from up there! It’s only 1.2 mile climb.”

At the top, this is the stream that feeds the waterfall. (I think it was worth the hike)


Stream heading towards the falls

After our fun hike, we climbed back into the Tacoma to explore some more.  We found our way to Vista House, overlooking the gorge. The house was built to accommodate traveler as a rest stop with a view.  Just right for us, we needed a little rest-stop for ourselves.  It so happen that our timing was perfect for the visit.  Precisely the time we got there, the place was in full fan fare for its 99 birthday. We were invited to come in and be part of their celebration with coffee and cake and was even asked to come back next year for the 100 year. We mingled around, told them we were headed to Alaska and that we were from Virginia.  They found that interesting. A comment was made, “you need to come back when it’s nice and clear”…..another person made a comment, “you just told them to not come back, it’s never clear here!” 

Vista House overlooking the gorge.

Many of the celebrants were in costume. Very friendly bunch!


This lady asked me if I wouldn’t mind using her camera to take her picture. I said sure and I would like to take your picture with my camera and she agreed. When I took her picture with her camera, she lifted her right leg up onto the running board and pulled her dress up to expose her ankle. It was a great picture!


Our Overnight Stay

We are staying at Ainsworth State Park on Historical Highway 30 along the Columbia River.  We paid $24 per night with full hook-ups; 50amp, water and sewer. Can’t beat the location.  We have good Verizon but poor Over-the-Air TV reception. The well used train tracks are located between the park and the river and on occasion, we can hear the rumbling.  We would definitely stay here again.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon--May 4-5, 2017

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Columbia River Gorge, Oregon--May 4-5, 2017 45.591459, -122.058792 Ainsworth State Park, Oregon, United States of America (Directions)

2 thoughts on “Historic Columbia River Highway 30

  1. Dave, very beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I have told many about your website and photos. Do you have an Instagram account? If yes, I’ll follow.

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