Welcome virtual travelers! The historic Columbia River Highway, the first scenic highway in the United States, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2015.
The Columbia River Highway officially opened on July 6, 1915, between Portland and Hood River, although it would take nearly year to pave the route and complete the finishing touches. On June 7, 1916, a ceremony at Multnomah Falls celebrated its completion.
The highway’s engineer, Sam Lancaster, did “not want to mar what God had put there,” and worked diligently to showcase the many waterfalls and “beauty spots” on the highway. The River They Saw chronicles the early Gorge in photos.
The Historic Columbia River Highway Advisory Committee and the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway hope to reconnect the missing sections of the Historic Highway, creating a continuous roadway through the Gorge, without having to travel along parts of Interstate 84, between Portland and The Dalles.
Milepost 2016 identifies areas that need to be finished to allow total reconnection of the Historic Highway. Of the original 73 miles of historic highway, one can still access 61 miles either by car on the drivable portions or by foot or bike on the State Trail sections.
This website provides over 100, 360 panoramic images along the Gorge highway, along with historical anecdotes and current information. You can also view the panoramic images on immersive Virtual Reality headsets like Google Cardboard, which provides an immersive experience.
NOTE: This website is a draft exporation to discover available resources – all information posted here is tentative, may be in error or out of order.
The Historic Columbia River Highway provides some of the most spectacular vistas in the Northwest. Let’s go!
– Sam Churchill, January 2015