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Maryhill Junction to Vancouver

  • Distance: 102 miles
  • Routes: SR 14
  • Estimated Driving Time: 2.5 hours

The tour runs through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and along the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway.

Below thundering cataracts, the river plunges into swirling pools. Bleak rocky islands break the river channel. Canyon walls reflect the heat of noon and the varied colors of sunrise and sunset. Wispy waterfalls leap from high “hanging valleys.” A large Indian population once occupied villages along the river banks and lived and fought within the gorge’s frowning walls and among the green islands of the lower river, until decimated by the white man’s whisky and the ravages of smallpox. At least five nations disputed possession of the region north of the stream, a territory delimited by treaty with Great Britain in 1846 and awarded by virtue of discovery and colonization to the United States.

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This junction occurs on the north bank of the Columbia River at the intersction between state routes 97 (running north south through Oregon and Washington) and state route 14 (continuing east to the junction with Interstate 82 just north of Umatilla, Oregon). The tour leads along the rocky north side of the Columbia Gorge. The banks of the river on the Oregon side rise steeply, forming terrace on terrace as...

Learn more about Maryhill Junction

Mile: 101

An isolated mansion which resembles a palace and blends strangely with the setting of the wild gorge. Construction began in 1914 but was not fully completed until 1940, built by the late multimillionaire, Samuel Hill, advocate of good roads, international peace promoter, royalty’s friend, and the son-in-law of “Empire Builder” James J. Hill. It was originally selected as the site for a Quaker colony, but the younger Hill discovered that...

Learn more about Maryhill Castle

Mile: 99

The gorge drops sharply toward the river below, where sand dunes form a large island, Miller Island. A stone farmhouse, built sturdily to resist the unrelenting winds, stands on a sheep ranch. Rocks are strewn in profusion on both sides of the road, and steep hills rise from the highway. Farther west the gorge widens. Visible across the Columbia is the rolling plateau of north central Oregon.

Learn more about Miller Island

Mile: 97

Nestling in a little dell and overlooking the curving rocky cascades of the river, the town is the division point of the Spokane, Portland, and Seattle Railroad, which maintained a yard and a roundhouse here. Small, well-kept houses, roofed in red, blue, and green, gave a tidy appearance. A cosmopolitan touch was provided by a two-story stucco bungalow court apartment and a large hotel. Railroad employees resided in yellow-painted houses...

Learn more about Wishram
Points of Interest
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Pioneer Memorial

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Celilo Falls

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Great Northern Steam RR locomotive 2507

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Celilo Railroad Bridge

The precipitous slopes of the gorge afford a sweeping view of the river, a railroad bridge, and Wishram. A short distance west are farmhouses surrounded by yellow poplars. Then, as the gorge widens, pasture lands come into view at various points alongside the road. Adjacent to a steeply terraced, brown, rocky cliff are velvety hills speckled with green trees. This park was once known as Horsethief Lake Park and Horsethief...

Learn more about Columbia Hills Historical State Park
Points of Interest
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Wishram Indian Village Site

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Homesteads of the Dalles Mountain Ranch Historic District

Mile: 86

Some distance west of the junction, the backwash of Bonneville Dam widens the Columbia River. Paralleling the highway, the Paha Cliffs, perpendicular walls of lava rock, are not remarkable for height, but are of such regularity and symmetry as to seem fashioned by human hands. Indian legends state that Speelyia, the coyote god, created the many pillars of stone by turning mortals and beasts into rock. Geologists explain that seismic...

Learn more about Paha Cliffs

Mile: 77

Marked by a few houses along the highway, this was a railroad shipping point for a farm and orchard district. Below the road, on a sloping hill, was the business section of the town, near which is a boxwood mill. There is no longer a boxwood mill in town. Trains pass through Lyle but no longer stop here. An early name was Klickitat Landing. In 1880, it was changed to...

Learn more about Lyle
Points of Interest
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Lyle Hotel

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Balch Cemetery

Memaloose (Ind. “place of the dead”) Island a desolate basalt isle a few hundred feet out in the river. For centuries, the Indians built platforms here and placed the dead and their possessions upon them. On the island, facing the south, the large white Trevitt Monument commemorates Vic Trevitt, a pioneer of The Dalles, who chose to be buried on the island sacred to his Indian friends. Many years ago...

Learn more about Memaloose Island

Mile: 74

Named for “Bingen-on-the-Rhine” by early German settlers, the town lies between bluffs and the river on a narrow strip of rich sandy loam. It was established by P. J. Suksdorf and other German settlers in 1892. On the fringes of the town are luxuriant meadows dotted with dairy cattle. Irrigation from the river permits extensive truck farming. Bingen had two sawmills, a fruit company, a hotel, taverns, and restaurants. A...

Learn more about Bingen

George and Louisa Aggers built this Craftsman-style farmhouse in 1910. It and its 8.6-acre parcel are all that remain of the original farm complex. Aggers, originally from Philadelphia, lived in Denver for a time where he served one term on the city council. He came to Seattle in 1895 and retired to Overlook to develop a cherry orchard. The farm stayed in the family for many years. The surrounding area...

Learn more about Overlook Farm

Mile: 64

A collection of small homes and fruit warehouses along the river and the railroad tracks, and a junction point of rivers, railroads, and highways. It was named for Andoniram Judson Underwood, a veteran of the Yakima Indian wars, who settled in the region in 1875 and platted the town site in the fall of 1881. The town as of 1941 consisted of a railroad station, a few houses along the...

Learn more about Underwood

Mile: 63

The tour extends beneath the now extinct volcanic cone of Mount Underwood, along a seven-mile section of highway opened in May 1937. Construction here lent itself to the most modern highway engineering, including heavy rock work, riprap, tunnels, grade separation structure, drainage culverts, and a major bridge. The first construction was an overhead crossing above the railroad tracks. Right of the highway was a combination sawmill and shingle mill unit,...

Learn more about Mount Underwood

Mile: 61

In the days of stern wheeler steamers on the river, this was a busy landing. The name is for Charles A. and Johan Cook, who homesteaded where the town was later built. It was once composed of a schoolhouse, a general store, and a few other buildings, all sitting on a steep hill; today Cook consists of only a few private homes. The town looks down on the Columbia, flowing...

Learn more about Cook

Mile: 57

A solitary rounded hill, looms in bold relief. Wooded slopes cover the east side of the mountain; on its west side are jagged peaks. The mountain has a peculiar slant, caused by the river that sawed through the rising mountain barrier. Climatic differences between the arid and desolate region east of the Cascades and the green lushness of the western slope become increasingly evident in this area.

Learn more about Wind Mountain

Mile: 51

Passing Wind Mountain, just before reaching the mouth of the Wind River, the highway enters this once-modern farming community, with a post office, cabins, a schoolhouse, and a few dwellings. In the forested hills nearby were logging operations. The town was settled primarily by Norwegian immigrants and originally called Heim Dal in 1893 by John Kanekberg, which postal authorities translated to “Home Valley.” Now it is strictly a residential community.

Learn more about Home Valley

Mile: 50

The seat of Skamania County, located on low bluffs above the river, spreads back against rolling hills. A beautiful town square once slanted up a hill, on top of which was a three-story hotel with a glassed-in porch. The town was founded by the Stevenson family, who came from Missouri in 1880 to settle in the old town of Cascades nearby. Driven from there by a flood in 1894, they...

Learn more about Stevenson

Mile: 44

Scientists believe that about 1,000 years ago, a giant landslide from the north shore of the Columbia River blocked the Gorge and stopped the river’s flow. This natural dam created an inland sea in eastern Oregon, Washington, and into Idaho. Over time, water eroded the dam and created a natural stone bridge. Eventually, this bridge fell, creating the Cascade rapids. Local Native American legend also speaks of the creation and...

Learn more about Bridge of the Gods

Mile: 42

Rebuilt by the Skamania County Historical Society in 1927 partly from old timbers that formed the structure erected by Major Gabriel Rains after the Indian Wars of 1856 and the Cascades Massacre. A band of Yakima, Klickitat, and Cascade tribe members made raids on two white settlements near Bradford Island, March 26, 1856. The besieged settlers withstood attacks for two days, until two forces from The Dalles, Oregon, commanded by...

Learn more about Fort Rains Blockhouse

Authorized September 30, 1933, under the National Recovery Act, construction was begun immediately on Bonneville Dam by the Army Engineer Corps. It was opened by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on September 28, 1937. Smaller than the Grand Coulee Dam farther up the river, the project provides flood control for the lower Columbia River, creates electric power for northern Oregon and southern Washington, and, by its locks, aids water transportation through...

Learn more about Bonneville Dam

Mile: 40

Named for Captain Benjamin Louis Eulalie Bonneville, who experienced amazing adventures in the Rocky Mountains, California, and the Northwest as early as the year 1832. His journal, amplified by Washington Irving, was published under the title, Adventures of Captain Bonneville, U.S.A., in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West. The town marks the Washington side of Bonneville Dam and was born of an influx of workers on the project. It...

Learn more about North Bonneville

Mile: 38

With fluted, almost perpendicular sides of columnar lava that rise about 900 feet from the edge of the river, is the second largest monolith in the world. Its summit is strewn with great blocks of red cinder and cloaked with stunted, deformed trees. From the entrance, a trail winds upward in zigzag fashion, leading over precarious-looking wooden bridges to the top of the conical-shaped rock. A defiant challenge to climbers,...

Learn more about Beacon Rock

Mile: 35

An early name for this settlement was Butler. The Indian name, which applies to parts of the Columbia River, means swift water or swift river. The town consisted of a gas station, a general store, and a post office. Up the hill a short distance from the highway were once the three gray buildings of an attractive grade school with a large playground. In the hills in the background logging...

Learn more about Skamania

Mile: 33

A small, rocky peninsula projecting into the river. Here, years ago, Indian mothers brought their babies in the springtime for the ceremony of uncradling, which included hiding the cradles to keep away evil spirits. Bindings, used by the Indians on the heads of their infants to make the skull slope back from the forehead, were also hidden in a cave as a part of the ceremony.

Learn more about Fir Point

A roadside stopping place composed of a store and a few scattered houses. The town was named for its first settler, a German sailor who planted an orchard and garden to supply the soldiers at Cascades in 1851. Many persons of Polish origin remained after construction of the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1870s to form a community of small farms. Older residents conversed in Polish. Robert Prindle, son of...

Learn more about Prindle

Mile: 28

A steep, jagged promontory with steep cliffs, on the north bank of the Columbia River. In 1826, John Work, an official of Hudson’s Bay Company, named this feature Cape Heron for the water birds in the vicinity. The present name is a distortion of the name given by Mr. Work, who was father-in-law to both William F. Tolmie and Edward Huggins of Fort Nisqually fame. A local name was Bell’s...

Learn more about Cape Horn

Mile: 25

When it grew up around the Seattle Portland and Spokane Railway station, the name was selected because of a sweeping view of nearby hills and mountains. The first name of the place was Staggerweed Mountain for the wild larkspur that grew there which, when eaten by animals, “made the livestock stagger.” The place was named by John Tompkins, the first settler, A post office was established in May of 1890...

Learn more about Mount Pleasant

The town is at the mouth of Washougal River, the name an Indian word for “rushing water.”  Shady trees line the road into town, the main street of which was bordered by a mix of frame and brick buildings. Houses were scattered over a wide area on both sides of the river. The town was settled on part of the donation claim of Betsy Ough, wife of Richard Ough, a...

Learn more about Washougal
Points of Interest
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Washougal Woolen Mills

In a semicircle of evergreen hills dropping to cultivated prairie land bordering the Columbia River on the south, was a “City of Paper” where wide, concrete-paved streets and modern brick business and residential buildings enlivened the town. The mill buildings and the lingering odor of sulphite suggested the city’s industrial background. Construction of a sawmill by Jacob Hunsacker in 1846 on Lake Lackamas brought the first industrial activity to the...

Learn more about Camas
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Crown-Willamette Paper Company Plant

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Camas Christian Church

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Farrell Building

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U.S. Post Office Camas Main

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Roffler House

It was named for Solomon W. Fisher who filed a Donation Land Claim there in the early 1850s—160 acres on the mainland and 160 acres on Government Island. The first name was Fisher, and later was changed to Fishers Landing, but eventually became Fisher again. Mr. Fisher was born in Virginia in 1827 and came to Clark County, Washington as a young man; for a time he lived and worked...

Learn more about Fisher

Biddle Lake and Biddle Butte are on the north bank of the Columbia River in the river’s flood plain north of Government Island. It was once owned by Henry J. Biddle, a financier from Portland, Oregon, who owned a considerable amount of land in and around Vancouver—including Beacon Rock to save it from being demolished. A Biddlewood Park nearby was also financed by Mr. Biddle, who was a botanist. The...

Learn more about Biddle Lake

The town was founded in 1886 by families from St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Omaha, Nebraska. It was named for Elmer Ellsworth, who organized the colonists but was killed before they moved to Clark County. In 1957, there was an attempt to change the name of the main road in a county street numbering scheme, but the local citizenry “petitioned successfully to keep a name they said had a...

Learn more about Ellsworth

The seat of Clark County and oldest settlement in the State, is strategically located on the navigable lower Columbia River, north of Portland, Oregon, in an important agricultural region, within 40 miles of Bonneville Dam. Lumber and paper mills, docks, grain elevators, and canneries are concentrated on the riverside; a little farther back are breweries and other industrial concerns. The streets leading from the banks of the Columbia through the...

Learn more about Vancouver
Points of Interest
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Evergreen Hotel

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Charles and Laura Slocum House

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US National Bank Building

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John P. and Mary Kiggins House

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Elks Building

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Alfred and Mary Estelle Chumasero-Smith House

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Vancouver Telephone Building

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US Post Office

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St. James Cathedral

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Lowell M. Hidden and W. Foster Hidden Houses

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Vancouver Carnegie Library

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Clark County Courthouse

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Kiggins Theater

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House of Providence

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Pearson Field

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