Historic Columbia River Highway

Columbia River Highway Access

These days, if you're heading out to The Dalles, you're likely to be taking I-84, but in the early 1900s, there was no road running along the south shore of Columbia River. In 1914, the County earmarked $75,000 to hire engineer Samuel Lancaster to begin building the Multnomah County portion of the highway. Timber baron John B. Yeon served as Roadmaster for the County, overseeing everything from rights of way across private land, construction costs, labor disputes, and even how motorcycle patrol officers would be uniformed when patrolling the completed highway.

Here is a sketch of one such possibility, sent from Chas. Cooper & Sons Civilian and Military Tailors, to Yeon. The accompanying letters reflect concern that the uniform cloth be made of fleece wool grown in Oregon.

The County portion of the highway was largely complete by 1916. It was notable for its beauty. In a letter from Lancaster to the American Roadbuilders Association he notes that it "...may be compared to the German Rhine between Mayenze [sic] and Cologne." You can still drive parts of the highway near Corbett, OR, stopping along the way to see Latourell, Bridal Veil, and Multnomah Falls.

Next Stop:

Larch Mountain

Get There From Here by:

Please note: ODOT has implemented access changes to the waterfall corridor this summer including the need for a permit. Please check before you set out to make the appropriate arrangements for your journey.

Driving Directions


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