Pacific Northwest Nature Photographers Events

Autumn Colors in the Columbia River Gorge—October 16th & 17th

Ponytail Falls
On October 16th, the members of the Pacific Northwest Nature Photographers Group will meet at 6 AM at the historic Vista House overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. This is a great place to photograph sunrise with outstanding views of the Columbia River both east and west. From there we will journey east along historic Highway 30 that will lead us east along several waterfalls. We'll concentrate on major falls close to the highway, but may venture up some of the trails to lesser visited falls based on attendee preference and weather conditions.

There will be plenty of photographic opportunites at around each of the falls we will visit. Our goal will be to capture the falls in full Autumn foliage, of which there should be plenty! The highway parallels Interstate 84 for about 20 miles. We can photograph throughout the morning along the highway, taking lunch at either the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, or in the nearby town of Cascade Locks.

Depending on weather and attendee interest, we can also hike into a few of lesser visited falls. These falls are aprroximately 1 mile or less from the main highway, and will involve walking on some fairly moderate trails. I'd definitely suggest dressing for typical fall weather in Oregon, and to perhaps expect some rain one or both days.

Ponytail Falls
We can also finish the day by hiking the Eagle Creek trail to some very scenic falls - Metlako, Lower Punchbowl and Punchbowl Falls. These require a hike of approximately 2.1 miles. A Northwest Forest Pass is also required to park at the Eagle Creek Trailhead. These are readily available at the trailhead for $5 per day. I recommend we carpool as much as possible while on the trip.

On Saturday evening we can meet for dinner back in Troutdale or Cascade Locks - whatever the group's preference might be. Please see some dining suggestions at the end of the page.

If the group would like, we can meet again early Sunday morning to photograph Multnomah Falls. These falls attract many tourists throughout the year, and are best photographed during early periods of the day. We can also revisit some of Saturday's falls, or some of the others we didn't visit on Saturday. I'm sure we will all have a very great time in one of my personal favorite areas.

Columbia Gorge Information

Please check out some of these sites with great information on the Gorge:

Oregon Department of Transportation Maps

Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway

Columbia River Gorge Nat'l Scenic Area

Directions to Vista House

Vista House is located 24 miles east of Portland, Oregon along the Historic Columbia River Highway.

Eastbound: From Portland, go east on Highway I-84 to Exit 17 in Troutdale. Then take the Historic Columbia River Highway 11.5 miles to Vista House. An alternate route is to continue on I-84 to Corbett Exit 22. Follow the road up the hill; at the "Y", turn east (left) onto the Historic Columbia River Highway and go 3 miles to Vista House.

Westbound: From I-84 near Dodson, take Exit 35 and follow the Historic Columbia River Highway 12.5 miles. An alternate route is to continue to Corbett Exit 22 and take the road up the hill as noted above.

Remember that we can also arrange some car pooling from points in Troutdale for those arriving out of town, and requiring lodging.

Area Lodging

Here are a few motels and hotels located within minutes of the Gorge:

Sheraton—Four Points
1919 NE 181st Ave.
Gresham, OR 97230

Holiday Inn Express—Troutdale
1000 NE Graham
Troutdale, OR 97060

Phoenix Inn
477 NW Phoenix Dr.
Troutdale, OR 97060

Best Western Ramada Inn & Suites
23525 NE Halsey
Troutdale, OR 97060

Cedarplace Inn
2611 S. Troutdale Rd
Troutdale, OR 97060

McMenamins Edgefield
2126 SW Halsey Blvd.
Troutdale, OR 97060

Motel 6
1610 NW Frontage Rd
Troutdale, OR 97060

More lodging choice available online at Troutdale, Oregon


There are many varied dining choices available in the area. I'd personally recommend Mcmenamins at Edgefield and Tad's Chicken 'n Dumplings. Both these and others are listed here:

Troutdale Restaurants