Columbia River Gorge : The western entrance to the Columbia River Gorge is at Troutdale, 20 minutes east of Portland. We exited SR 84 at Troutdale and followed the signs for the Historic Columbia River Highway (aka 30). It took us about 4 hours to drive the first 30-miles because we stopped to see the view lookouts and stop at 5 of the waterfalls. Most of the waterfalls can be seen from a short walk from the parking areas. I found that “The Best Gorge Map,” which I requested a copy of before we left for our trip, was a helpful resource for this area.
The Vista House offers amazing views looking down the Columbia River, and also of Washington state, which is on the other side of the river.