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Historic Columbia River Highway

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 22 miles / 35.4 km
  • Ride Time: 1-2 hours
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $1.67
  • State: Oregon
Submitted by:
OpenRoadRider pro


Words fail many travelers who drive the exquisite Historic Columbia River Highway. Every twist and turn brings a new reward, from majestic waterfalls such as Bridal Veil Falls and Multnomah Falls, to astounding views from the tops of cliffs over 900 feet above the river. During the spring, the Gorge area erupts into magnificent wildflower displays, including many plants that only exist in this area. Oneonta Gorge is a botanical treasure that has over 50 different species of plants residing in its perpetually cool and moist shelter.This is the first scenic highway in the US to gain the distinction of National Historic Landmark. Just to give you an idea of what this means, less than 3 percent of the sites on the National Register of Historic Places become Landmarks. The construction of this Highway was considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the modern age. Its engineer, Samuel C. Lancaster, 'did not [want] to mar what God had put there. ' It was designed in 1913 to take advantage of the many waterfalls and other 'beauty spots.' The Hood River County museum is one of the best places to better understand the history of the byway, leading visitors through the time of the earliest settlers of the area to the present.


While you are relaxing after a day of whitewater rafting at the Dalles, take a break in town and see the town's 19th Century churches and homes. Drive further inland to where Ainsworth State Park lies nestled in the Columbia River Gorge, filled with waterfalls, trails and plenty of areas to set down camping gear to make a day of it. Or visit the windsurfing capital of the world at Hood River, and take in the fantastic views of the Columbia River and Mt. Hood while you're there.


For decades the Historic Columbia River Highway has been a favored stop for travelers of all kinds, with its variety of activities and gorgeous scenery. From cascading waterfalls to deep gorges, this historic highway will be a road you will want to travel again and again.

The Multnomah Falls Lodge is open daily throughout the year. Also, the Vista House is open from April through September.

Best Time to Drive Mid-week has the fewest crowds along the Byway.

FallFall has the best weather.

High SeasonApril - September

SpringSpring provides the best time to view the waterfalls.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of Oregon. This motorcycle route has 7 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by OpenRoadRider in February. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by OpenRoadRider

Rider Photos:

  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 1 for Historic Columbia River Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 2 for Historic Columbia River Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 3 for Historic Columbia River Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 4 for Historic Columbia River Highway
  • Motorcycle Ride Picture 5 for Historic Columbia River Highway

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesUrban/ResidentialParksForestRuralRiverFarm Land

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Straight RoadSweeping Curves RoadRolling HillsLight Traffic

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

leroua says:

Plan to ride this summer! I live in northern CA and grew up in eastern Washington, so I am somewhat familar with the area. I can't wait to ride this part of the Gorge! Thanks for posting!
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM






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