America’s Oldest Scenic Highway is Worth the Drive to Oregon
It's the oldest scenic highway in the country and is a National Historic Landmark
The Columbia River Highway was built from 1913 to 1922 connecting Troutdale on the west end to The Dalles on the east end...almost 75 miles. When the first section of the road opened in 1915, it became the first paved highway in the Pacific Northwest.
The Duo Responsible for the Highway
Entrepreneur Samuel Hill and engineer Samuel C. Lancaster partnered to take on the challenge of creating the roadway through Oregon's Columbia River Gorge.
The highway was routed near the most beautiful viewpoints and waterfalls. both saw the highway as a showcase for modern times. The construction of many other scenic roads was inspired by the highway's engineering excellence.
Completion of the Columbia River Highway
The project was completed in 1922. It was a huge success for the state, as tourism flourished. New hotels, stores, and campgrounds were popping up. the growing number of cars and trucks traveling the highway was overwhelming. The highway couldn't be a scenic road and a major transportation route.
Plans were developed to build a new wider, straighter route to better handle the growing traffic needs. Eventually, Interstate 84 was completed for car and truck traffic, running parallel to the original highway between Portland and The Dalles.
Restoring the Historic Columbia River Highway
The state has restored several significant sections of the historic highway. Some sections are for pedestrian and bicycle traffic only. You can read more about the Historic Columbia River Highway here.