The Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail—also known as Historic Route 30—turns 100 this year. Beginning 14 miles east of Portland, Oregon, in Troutdale, it continues to The Dalles in north-central Oregon. Designed to emulate the Axenstrasse in Switzerland, the byway is recognized as the country’s first scenic highway and the first modern highway constructed in the Pacific Northwest. Its engineer, Samuel C. Lancaster, took great pains to showcase and preserve the natural beauty along the way, rather than “mar what God put there.”
Throughout the year, visitors can learn more about the history of the Columbia River Highway and State Trail at Multnomah Falls and Crown Point’s Vista House, through the Troutdale Historical Society’s “King of Roads” exhibit, featuring historic photos and stories from the people who made the highway possible.
A June 7 rededication will take place at the falls, and on July 23 the Friends of the Historic Columbia River Highway is sponsoring a parade of antique cars from Troutdale to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. Other celebrations are also incorporating the anniversary into their events, including the 37th Annual Northwest Cherry Festival, Portland’s Rose Festival Grand Floral Parade and the 10th Annual Gorge Ride.
Planners and groups wanting to be a part of this historic milestone can enjoy a scenic outing along the highway, stopping off at viewpoints and attractions along the way, including Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Dam, the Maryhill Museum of Art, and Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum.