Perhaps the most famous stop on the Historic Columbia River Highway, (and arguably its most scenic,) the iconic Vista House and rest stop was built as a tribute to early pioneers of Oregon lands. The observatory sits at the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge, offering sweeping views from its windows. Many stop in from the road to take in the surrounding cliffs, river, and fresh air, or watch boat traffic pass by through a telescope. When the weather permits there is also an outdoor balcony offering even greater views.
Eight panels of the house’s interior tell the history behind Vista House’s construction and use, as well as the geology of the gorge. Much of its interior is covered in Alaskan marble, and its dome is made of beautiful copper. The stone, octagonal structure was built from 1916-1918 and is now listed as an Oregon State Park and on the National Register of Historic Places. The beloved building and setting is widely regarded to be one of the most beautiful places in the Pacific Northwest.
To reach Vista House, take exit 22 from I-84 toward Corbett. From the top of Corbett Hill, you’ll travel about three miles before you arrive. The house is open daily from mid-March through October, from 10 am to 4 pm. During the winter months Vista House is open weekends and holidays (depending on weather conditions.) It is about a 20 minute drive from Portland and is free to enter.