The Gorge Highway
Located along the northern border of Oregon along the Columbia River, the Gorge Highway (actual name: Historic Columbia River Highway) is a 75 mile scenic highway between Troutdale and The Dalles. Started in 1913 and completed in 1922, the Gorge Highway was the first planned scenic route in the United States and is the nation's oldest highway. However, as the population grew, the two-lane highway was replaced by the more commuter-friendly I-84 between 1930 and 1950. Now maintained by the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Historic Society, the Gorge Highway has become a popular tourist destination.
Originally conceived and modeled after Switzerland's Axenstrasse along Lake Lucerne, the highway was designed to allow everyday men the opportunity to see the sites along the Columbia River (including waterfalls, canyons, cliffs, and mountains). Expenses and economics were completely ignored in building the highway because those in charge, namely Samuel Lancaster and John Elliott, declared that scenic requirements were more important than any other aspect of the highway. Comprised of bridges, tunnels, and hairpin turns, the highway is all about the experience and not the destination. The engineers were determined to make this the most scenic highway in the world.
Though only forty miles of the original road are now accessible to automobiles, those forty miles are completely worth it. Along the highway you will find many stopping points, dozens of hiking trails, a multitude of waterfalls (the most famous being Multnomah Falls...more on this later), and historic buildings to explore. There is constant restoration for the highway in terms of accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists. As more money becomes available, more sections of the highway have been opened to the non-motorized public.
Happy Monday, fellow A-Zers. Hope it's treating you well!