Historic Columbia River Highway

Historic Columbia River Highway

One of my favorite things to do is to take a drive out the Historic Columbia River Highway up the Columbia River Gorge. As a scenic drive, it cannot be beat. It is beautiful any time of year. I have probably driven it a thousand times and each time I see something new. It may be historic, but it never gets old.

The Fire

What is there to say? Some asshole set off a smoke bomb and burned the hell out of the Oregon side Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The Forest Service PR people are pushing the bullshit line that it’s still mostly green, and we’ll still have the beautiful hiking trails, but the truth is, most of it is gone. 36,000 acres gone for 100 years.

Latest incident report from the Forest Service

Recent Posts

It’s Fall in the Columbia River Gorge.

Normally, this is where I write a bit about how the gorge, especially the eastern end, has cooled off, making hiking more pleasant.  There won’t be any hiking on most of the Oregon side until at least spring 2018, and probably not until summer 2018.  There are several great trails on the Washington side, but their primary attraction is the gorge view.  So if you’d like a hike both depressing and infuriating, hike the Washington side for a good look at the damage.

On the plus side, the fire stopped short of the Historic Columbia River Highway in most places, so the view from the highway is generally unchanged.  The fall rains will swell the waterfalls, but I’m wondering whether the water will be clear, or brown – choked with silt running off from the burn.  Seasonal waterfalls that vanished during summer reappear, but, again, what color will they be?

The Eastern sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway between Hood River and The Dalles is untouched.  The oaks are changing color from their summer greens to their fall reds and browns. Fall grasses and wildflowers adorn the hillsides. Daytime temperatures have fallen making hiking this area once again bearable, but nights are also cooling down, so be sure to dress in layers when hiking and always bring rain gear.

If you take your dog(s) hiking, as I do, PLEASE KEEP THEM ON A LEASH! It’s more than simple courtesy, it’s the safest thing for your dog. Trust me, if your unleashed dog attacks my leashed dog, he’s going to get a face full of pepper spray. If I had my druthers I’d be spraying the owner. Almost every year an unleashed dog falls off a cliff and dies. Don’t let this happen to your dog, use a leash.

Fun Stuff:

Plan a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway this weekend with this map of the Highway from Corbett to Dodson.

Historic Columbia River Highway Map (Corbett to Dodson)
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

For a longer drive, try the Mount Hood Scenic Loop.

Mount Hood Scenic Loop Map
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

ODOT Historic Columbia River Highway Brochure
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)


Cool off with a Columbia River Gorge hike through the rainforest this weekend

Hiking Trails in the Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls Area Hiking Map
(requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Make a weekend of it and camp out in one of the many campsites along the Historic Columbia River Highway or in the Columbia River Gorge.

Camping in the Columbia River Gorge

Recreational opportunities abound along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Hiking, biking, sailing, windsurfing, fishing, photography…the list is virtually endless.

There are also many fine museums, shops, restaurants and lodgings along the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Slowly but surely (well, slowly anyway) I’ll be adding information on the Historic Columbia River Highway, the Columbia River Gorge and activities associated with them to this site.

A few years ago I bought a set of 1920’s vintage Columbia River Highway (it wasn’t yet historic) Postcards on eBay. Little did I know the enormous piles of Postcards, books, maps, brochures, ephemera and artwork that one set of Postcards would grow into. You can see some of this stuff in the Historic Columbia River Highway Postcards and Historic Columbia River Highway Ephemera areas. I’ll be adding more from my collection as time and initiative permit.

If you have a suggestion to improve the site you can email me here.Columbia River Highway Display Ad, New York Times, May 18,1924, page RPA6

Columbia River Highway Display Ad, New York Times, May 18,1924, page RPA6.