Posts Tagged With: viewpoint

A Crowning Jewel – Crown Point and Vista House, OR

Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon

Vista House

Whether you look east or west, you’ll see beautiful greens and blues for miles. The deep blue of the Columbia River with a barge floating upriver, the dark green forests and fields, and the summer blue skies. These are the views you will see from Crown Point sitting 733 feet above the Columbia Gorge.

Crown Point View East, Oregon

Crown Point View East

One a recent perfect July Saturday we headed down to take a hike in the gorge. After an exhilarating and exhausting hike we wanted to go up to Crown Point to show my daughter, Brandy, her boyfriend, Jason and my grandson, Anden, because none of them had ever been there. David, Josh, and I have been there but not when the building located there was open. This time we were in for a treat, it was open! The building is called the Vista House and was built in 1916-1917, about the same year that the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway was built. It was meant to be a place of rest and great views for gorge travelers. It has an octagonal shape and like an iceberg, much of it is underground.

Vista House, Crown Point, OR

Vista House

You can enter the building from one of four doors, stepping into a large domed room. There are some tables with information set up and park staff available for questions. Two sets of stairs are almost hidden next to the walls.

 

Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon

Vista House, Crown Point, Oregon

Head up and you will come out on the balcony surrounding the entire dome, and giving you an even higher view of the gorge.

Crown Point View West, Oregon

Crown Point View West

If you head down the stairs from the main floor, that’s where you will be shocked by the size of the building! There are several small galleries, large ornate restrooms, a small gift store and another small store with souvenirs and snacks, all very reasonably priced. Ice cream sandwiches were the hit with our little group on this hot day.

Vista House Restrooms, Crown Point, OR

Vista House Restrooms

Vista House Gallery, Crown Point, OR

Vista House Gallery

Back outside, Anden was excited to see telescopes so we scrounged up two quarters between us so he could take a look up and down the gorge. He was impressed that he could see the words on the side of the barge that was heading upriver.

Vista House Shop, Crown Point, OR

Vista House Shop

The Vista House has been designated a National Historic Landmark. It was dedicated in 1918, restored between 2001-2006 and rededicated in 2006. The property is over 305   acres in size and is an Oregon State Park. According to a survey visitors were asked to complete, 70% of visitors are not local, most coming from over 800 miles away. Conflicting reports estimate the number of annual visitors range from 500,000 per year to nearly one million per year.

The Vista House is open 9am-6pm daily, weather permitting. (David was there one time when it was so windy that he was able to lean into the wind and it held him up!)

Getting there: Take exit 22 off I-84/Highway 30 to 40700 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019.

 

 

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Categories: Historical, Keatons Out and About, Oregon, Outdoors, Parks, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paulina Lake and Paulina Peak – Central Oregon

Central Oregon is one of my favorite places. There is so much to see and do there. So I had to make a decision on what to write about first. Since the picture on our home page is taken from Paulina Peak, I decided to start with Paulina Lake and Paulina Peak.

Paulina Lake

Paulina Lake

Located about 24 miles south and a little east of Bend, is the beautiful Paulina Lake. The lake, along with East Lake just east of Paulina, is part of the 55,000 acre Newberry National Volcanic Monument, a protected area, so nothing can be built there. However, Paulina Lake Lodge, located on the shores of the lake, was grandfathered in as it was built in 1948 long before the 1990 designation of the monument. You can rent rustic cabins, rent boats, dine in the restaurant that has rather strange hours or peruse the little store with pictures of all the huge fish everyone except us seem to catch.

When you arrive at Paulina Lake take the time to get out and check it out. It is a crystal clear blue lake that, if you get there early enough, is flat and smooth as glass, reflecting the surrounding hills like a mirror. Sometimes so many baby fish are jumping around they look like grasshoppers. It’s a serene lake to kayak on as well, allowing you to paddle out into the middle of it and just enjoy the solitude and the beauty of the area.

View from Paulina Peak

View from Paulina Peak

After you have rested, relaxed, and cleared you mind, it’s now time to drive up to Paulina Peak. Just back about a mile west from the lake is the road. It’s clearly marked. You’ll drive four miles up a washboard road, getting higher and higher, seeing farther and farther, until you come out at the top in a parking lot. You are now at 7985 feet. Step out and take a look to the north. There you will see Paulina Lake and looking down at it you won’t be able to believe you were just that far below.

The Big Obsidian Flow

The Big Obsidian Flow

Off to the east you can see  a true natural marvel – the Big Obsidian Flow. It is estimated the eruption happened about 1300 years ago and covers a little over 2 and ½ miles. What you are seeing is the flow of lava that contained just the right minerals to turn into obsidian (sometimes known as volcanic glass).

Top of Paulina Peak

Top of Paulina Peak

You can take an easy, short hike up to another lookout point and see a breath-taking 360 degree view. We like to say you can see yesterday and tomorrow. There are a few more easy trails that take you out to the east a little ways so you can view the area from there as well. Again, like the lake, you can just sit and listen to nature and be awed by the majesty of the volcanic activity that happened 75,000 years ago. The dark blue of the lakes, the deep green of the surrounding forests, the sheer size of the obsidian flow, and the cloudless blue sky, combine to create a natural postcard that could never be artificially duplicated.

So next time you are in Central Oregon, even if only for a short time, check out the Paulina Lake and Paulina Peak area. I think you will find it will be one of your favorite places as well.

Getting there: From Bend go 24 miles south on Hwy. 97. Turn left onto Paulina Lake Road, signs are also there for the Newberry Caldera. Go about 11 miles to the entrance to the park ($5 fee or Northwest Forest Pass.) About one mile farther will take you to the road to Paulina Peak. It will be on your right. The road to Paulina Lake is a little further on, look for the signs, it will be on your left.

Categories: Oregon, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Oregon City Municipal Elevator – “The Only Vertical Street in North America”

Elevator from the top

Need a quick stop to get out and stretch your legs while traveling in the Portland area? Here’s a fun little one at Oregon City. It’s called the Oregon City Municipal Elevator.

Oregon City was first built along the river and as it grew it of course grew up onto the bluffs above the river. American Indians had made trails up that way, so in 1867 the settlers built steps along the trails – 722 of them! In 1912 the residents finally voted to build an elevator, Now, obviously it was not like it looks today. It took several minutes to get to the top. Over the years the elevator has been rebuilt and upgraded.

We drove up to the top of the bluff and there was a small parking lot there as well as street parking.

The glass room at the top is open on one side so you can just walk right in.

View from Oregon Elevator

There is a beautiful view along with old pictures, the story of the elevator, directional and informational signs.

Map on floor.

On the floor is a sort of map that shows the various streets from that position.

When you push the button for the elevator and door opens, there’s a little surprise waiting. A woman was seated behind a glass wall. She is the operator and was very friendly and willing to answer questions.

The elevator is 131 feet high and now takes about 15 seconds to ride to the bottom, where you exit through a tunnel and end up out on the street. You can also exit directly to the right of the elevator when you get off and go out to a street that way.

The tunnel is lined with old pictures of the building of the tunnel.

Tunnel to elevator

View of elevator from below

You can of course, park at the bottom and ride to the top. And the best part of this little excursion – it’s free!

The elevator operates Monday through Saturday 6:45am-7pm and on Sundays from 11am-7pm.

So next time you need a quick little distraction on the road, check out the Oregon Municipal Elevator which, according to the Oregon City Public Works website is “one of only four municipal elevators in the world and “Elevator Street” remains the only “vertical street” in North America.”

Getting there: The elevator is located at 625 Center St., Oregon City, Oregon. From I-205 north or south, take exit 9 to Oregon City/Gladstone. Turn left onto McLoughlin Blvd/Ore-99E. Turn left onto 10th Street. 10th turns into Singer Hill Rd. which turns into 7th St. From there turn right onto Center Street and you are there!

Categories: Historical, Oregon, Roadside Attraction | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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