Vista House: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

Sea to Summit Tour

The Columbia River Gorge NSA , including Vista House, falls under the administration of the US Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service. When in Oregon, we toured the gorge with Sea to Summit tours. We met our guide Shahn by Pioneer Square in Portland and loaded into a comfortable minibus for our full day tour.


Shahn drove us along the Historic Columbia River Highway, stopping at numerous waterfalls and other picturesque places. The tour culminated with a stop at the Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. Shahn kept us entertained during drive time and at each stop with the history and anecdotes about the places we saw. We never would have fit all of this into one day if we’d tried to do it on our own, and my husband would have been cranky from all the driving and trying to find parking. I highly recommend seeing the area with Sea to Summit.

Vista House

We stopped first at the Vista House at Crown Point. This historic observatory sits on a bluff 733 feet above the Columbia River. Architect Edgar M. Lazarus designed it as an octagonal, Art Nouveau structure. It was built in 1916 and has views up and down the Columbia River from its perch on the Cliff.


The interior boasts fine marble throughout, even in the restrooms. Stairs lead up to an observation platform at the base of the dome. We enjoyed the views, visited the gift shop and then were off to our next stop.

Columbia River Gorge Posts

  • Vista House
  • Latourell Falls
  • Multnomah Falls
  • Horsetail Falls
  • Bonneville Lock and Dam

Location: 40700 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Corbett, OR 97019
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Date designated/established: Built 1916, NRHP 1974
Date of my visit: August 27, 2016

8 thoughts on “Vista House: Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

  1. A beautiful area. We went through this area in 2000 when the kids were young. Lots of pretty views and waterfalls along the gorge. At the top of the vista we realized we were almost out of fuel and mostly coasted our way back down to the gas station. Hope all is well. Allan

  2. Yes, Crown Point is at the western edge of the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, which is just one of Oregon’s natural treasures. And fortunately, the area is recovering after a disastrous wildfire several years ago started by a young idiot who threw a firecracker as a lark.

    And by taking the route you did, you also got to see the beautiful Hood River Valley and all sides of Mount Hood. I just hope you got to stop for lunch at one of the good breweries in Hood River!

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