For most of my adult life, I have been too much in a rush to take the road less traveled through the gorge. There are some stunning views from Interstate 84 through this area, between Portland and The Dalles. But the scenic route forces you to slow down, due to the narrow two-lane road, and offers several waypoints and stops at state parks and spectacular waterfalls. If you travel from east to west on this road after you get past Multnomah Falls, one of the most photographed landmarks in Oregon, you come upon another treasure -- Vista House at Crown Point.
Vista House is not camera shy either. You probably have seen images of this place before, even if you haven't seen it for yourself and didn't know what it was. It has been a popular spot for photo and film shoots over the years.
Vista House was build about 90 years ago, with the two-lane road was new, and the only overland route through the gorge. They don't make roadway rest stops like this any more, and this one has been closed for renovation for some time. I made the trek on this route about a year and a half ago, and Vista House was still being renovated. So, I had never actually been inside it, unless we went inside during one stop there as a child, and if so I don't remember and certainly would not have appreciated the marble splendor of this place. But Vista House reopened just a few short weeks ago, on June 24, 2005.
You can find out more about the landmark here and see past and contemporary photos as well. You can also learn more about Vista House from this Statesman Journal article for as long as the page remains publicly accessible. But if you aren't much for old buildings, what about this view?
Columbia River Gorge