Lava flows created the substrate and the Missoula Floods cut through this substrate much later to create the towering cliffs of columnar basalt that make up the Gorge.Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery followed the river toward its terminus near Astoria in 1805, as did Oregon Trail Pioneers in the mid 1800s.Internationally lauded for spectacular waterfalls, architectural gems, and magnificent overlooks of the Columbia River Gorge, it's no wonder this Byway has been called "King of Roads." Construction of the Columbia River Highway in 1913 was considered one of the greatest engineering feats of the modern age. Lancaster, did "not [want] to mar what God had put there," and worked diligently to showcase the many waterfalls and other "beauty spots" on the highway's route through the Columbia Gorge.This stretch of the Columbia once served as fishing and meeting grounds for the many indigenous peoples of the Columbia Basin.The region's rich history is preserved in several museums along the route.Hikers will delight in the many trails along the Byway, some of which lead to hidden waterfalls.The Vista House at Crown Point is an Oregon treasure, one of the most photographed and recognizable sites in the Columbia River Gorge.At the Portland Women's Forum State Park at Chanticleer Point, you get your first glance of the Columbia River and the Gorge: the site of the Chanticleer Inn, and the vista that inspired the Highway's founding father, Sam Hill.The Historic Columbia River Scenic Byway offers ever-shifting perspectives of the Gorge, including sweeping panoramas from 900 feet above the river.
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