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Interstate 84 Oregon - Highway Guide

Interstate 84 Westbound: Hood River to Troutdale

Columbia River Gorge

Heading west from Hood River, Interstate 84 enters the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The gorge's high bluffs keep the freeway close to the river for nearly the entire trip from Hood River to the Portland metropolitan area. Attractions along this 45-mile stretch of freeway come seemingly at every passing milepost: state parks and natural areas, historic sites (including Lewis and Clark sites), Bonneville Dam, and Multnomah Falls are just a few. As the only near sea-level break in the Cascade Range, the Gorge is also a unique area both geologically and botanically. The Columbia River and Gorge also hold a certain mystique for residents of the Pacific Northwest, perhaps best expressed by these lines from Woody Guthrie's ballad "Roll On Columbia":

Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Roll on, Columbia, roll on
Your power is turning our darkness to dawn
So roll on, Columbia, roll on

Green Douglas firs where the waters cut through
Down her wild mountains and canyons she flew
Canadian Northwest to the oceans so blue
Roll on Columbia, roll on

Highway Guides

Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 west
Click here to view a map of Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge.
Upon leaving Hood River, the first exit encountered is exit 62, West Hood River and Westcliff Drive. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Wineries are an attraction in the Hood River Valley and they have made it onto blue freeway services signs like this one. Brown sign in background announces two other Hood River Valley attractions: The historic Columbia Gorge Hotel and theInternational Museum of Carousel Art. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Exit 62, West Hood River and Westcliff Drive. Westbound U.S. 30 (Cascade Avenue) rejoins Interstate 84 at this diamond interchange. Upon exiting, turn left to head back into Hood River on eastbound U.S. 30; turn right for Westcliff Drive. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Views of signs on the westbound U.S. 30 approach to Interstate 84 at exit 62. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Shield assembly just west of exit 62 showing Interstate 84 and U.S. 30. Both signed routes now share the same roadbed. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Several service roads exit off of Interstate 84 in the gorge and one is announced on this sign just west of Hood River. After exiting, the service road passes under the freeway and leads to Mitchell Point Road. There is access back to the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 , but not the westbound ones. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).

Leaving the Hood River Valley, westbound Interstate 84/ U.S. 30 now enters one of the most scenic stretches of the Columbia River Gorge. High rocky bluffs will loom on freeway's south side (left) almost all the way to Troutdale. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
This mileage sign provides the distance to Cascade Locks, Troutdale, and Portland. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Approaching exit 56, the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad, which occupy a sliver of land between the westbound lanes of Interstate 84 and the Columbia River, come into view. These images show something that is becoming increasingly hard to find: a line of railroad utility poles that are still nearly intact. The poles seem like a throwback to a more romantic era of highway travel. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
One mile advance sign for exit 56, Viento State Park. The park is one of a near unbroken string of Oregon State Parks that line the river here. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Because the gorge is a near sea-level break in the Cascade range, plant and tree species from both sides of the Cascade Divide mingle here. Ponderosa pines (dark evergreens at right) usually associated with dry east side forests mix with west side species like western red-cedar and hemlock. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The next exit along westbound Interstate 84 is exit 51, Wyeth. Wyeth is only a place name, not a town. Take exit 51 for the Wyeth campground, which overlooks the Columbia River. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Just past exit 51 is another mileage sign for Cascade Locks, Troutdale, and Portland. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Interstate 84 follows a thin strip of land between the river and the bluffs for most of the way to Troutdale. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The next exit along westbound Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 is Exit 47, Forest Lane and Herman Creek. The campground indicated by the blue sign is Herman Creek campground. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Exit 47, Forest Lane and Herman Creek, is a partial interchange for westbound lanes only. Forest Lane parallels the freeway for a short distance, then turns toward the Columbia River and ends up in Cascade Locks. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Two mile advance sign for exit 44, U.S. 30 and Cascade Locks. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Forest Lane, which has been paralleling the south side of the freeway since exit 47, crosses over Interstate 84 and heads into Cascade Locks. As the blue sign shows, there's a lot of places to stay in the Columbia Gorge. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
This diagrammatic sign shows that U.S. 30 will leave Interstate 84 at Exit 44 to loop through the community of Cascade Locks (pop. 1,115 in 2000). The U.S. route is signed in lieu of a business loop, which is more typically found in western states where the U.S. highway shares alignment with the Interstate highway. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Take Exit 44 for Cascade Locks Marine Park (a National Historic Site), and the Bridge of the Gods. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Exit 44, Junction U.S. 30 west to Cascade Locks, is split between two partial interchanges, one at each end of the town. Westbound lanes may exit here at the eastern interchange and follow U.S. 30 (Wa-Na-Pa Street) through the town to reach the Bridge of the Gods (a toll bridge) and cross into Washington state. The bridge's steel truss cantilever span was built in 1926 and is the third oldest bridge spanning the Columbia River.1 Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Interstate 84 west
The western ramps of exit 44 are about a mile from the eastern ramps. At right is an entrance ramp bringing U.S. 30 back to Interstate 84. Exit ramp for eastbound lanes is visible at left. U.S. 30 departs off the freeway briefly, then returns to the freeway in about two miles. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 west
A mileage sign provides the distance to Portland and Troutdale. There is no access from Interstate 84 west to U.S> 30 east back to Cascade Locks. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Westbound Interstate 84 enters Multnomah County at milepost 42. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The next exit along Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 west is Exit 40, Bonneville Dam (another National Historic Site). Built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and completed in 1938, the dam is used primarily for hydroelectric power generation. The damming of the Columbia here inundated the locks at Cascade Locks, but a new set of locks was built at the dam site. The site features a free visitor center. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The Bonneville Dam complex has several attractions, including the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Even though there's no U.S. 30 shield posted with the Interstate 84 shield in this view west of exit 40, the two routes still share the same pavement. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Westbound Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 meet Exit 37, Warrendale. Once the site of a salmon cannery and a Post Office (until 1942), today's Warrendale is a collection of private homes.2 Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
A diagrammatic guide sign is posted for upcoming Exit 35, Historic U.S. 30/Historic Columbia River Highway and Ainsworth State Park. The Historic Columbia River Highway will make a loop south of Interstate 84 and return to the freeway at exit 18, Lewis and Clark State Park. The Rand McNally Road Atlas (2010) shows this historic route as part of modern U.S. 30, but signage directs motorists to remain on Interstate 84 west for the continuation of U.S. 30 west. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Exit 35 leads to the Historic Columbia River Highway. This section of the historic landmark highway (formerly known as the Crown Point Highway) winds its way along the bluffs overlooking the Columbia River. Scenic attractions abound along the route: six state parks, waterfalls (including Multnomah Falls), and Crown Point, to name a few. Plan on taking a whole day to take everything in if you drive this route- you'll be making a lot of stops. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The next exit along Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 west is Exit 31, Multnomah Falls. At 620 feet in height, the falls are the second highest in the U.S. Notice how close the freeway is to the river along this stretch; the Union Pacific tracks now run parallel on the south side of the freeway. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Take exit 31 for Multnomah Falls Lodge (yet another National Historic Site!). Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The Exit 31 "interchange" is unusual: westbound and eastbound lanes diverge widely and feature left-hand exits into a parking lot that is sandwiched between the two directions of travel. Motorists may use the freeway parking lot for the lodge, Multnomah Falls Visitor Center, and the 1.2-mile Multnomah Falls Trail. Travelers to the falls may also reach the site by taking the Historic Columbia River Highway (via exit 35 westbound and exit 28 eastbound), which passes directly in front of the falls and lodge. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The next exit along Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 west is Exit 25, which serves another state park (Rooster Rock). Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
A Lewis and Clark trail sign is posted just prior to exit 25. The Lewis and Clark expedition camped at a site within what is now Rooster Rock State Park in November 1805.3 Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Westbound Interstate 84 and U.S. 30 meet Exit 25, Rooster Rock State Park. There are probably more brown freeway signs along this stretch of freeway than anywhere else in the state. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
West of Rooster Rock is another Interstate 84 reassurance shield without a companion U.S. 30 shield. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
One mile advance sign (first image) and exit ramp for a view point between exits 25 and 22. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The view point lives up to its billing. These views were taken looking east into the Gorge. The Vista House, perched atop a bluff near Crown Point, is visible at right in the first image. Photos taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The next exit for westbound Interstate 84 is exit 22, Corbett, as this half-mile advance sign shows. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
The Vista House at Crown Point may be reached by taking exit 22 and following Corbett Hill Road to the Historic Columbia River Highway. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Westbound Interstate 84 reaches exit 22, Corbett. The exit ramp crosses over the freeway and becomes Corbett Hill Road. The tiny town of Corbett (pop. about 2,900 in 2005) lies at the junction of Corbett Hill Road and the Historic Columbia River Highway. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Nearing the end of the Gorge, this mileage sign only gives the distance to Portland Troutdale is about five miles away. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
High-voltage power lines crossing the freeway near exit 18 herald Interstate 84's arrival in the Portland metropolitan area. Second view shows the towers looking north from the freeway. The Bonneville Power Administration's Troutdale substation is about three miles northwest of this location. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
One last state park to go: a one-mile advance sign for exit 18, Lewis and Clark State Park and Oxbow Regional Park. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Though it's pretty obvious from the changed landscape, this sign lets freeway travelers know that they've reached the end of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
With the approval of the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) in 2004, ODOT raised the speed limit from 55 to 60 along certain stretches of urban interstates in the Portland, Salem, and Eugene areas. After that, these Washington state-style speed limit signs started appearing along these segments of freeway. (Most Oregon speed signs simply say "speed" and not "speed limit.") Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Exit 18, Lewis and Clark State Park and Oxbow Regional Park. Follow the exit ramp to Jordan Road (a short road once a part of Crown Point Highway), which leads to the state park just south of the freeway. Jordan Road links up with the Historic Columbia River Highway at the south end of the park. Oxbow Park is a bit more of a drive from exit 18; head east on the historic highway to Hurlburt Road and take Hurlburt to reach this park along the Sandy River. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Westbound Interstate 84 prepares to cross the Sandy River and enter the city of Troutdale (pop. 14,711 in 2004). In the last 15 years, the population of Troutdale has nearly doubled. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).
Exit 17, Marine Drive and Troutdale. The exit ramp leads to an intersection with Graham Road. Turn left on Graham Road to head into Troutdale via 257th Avenue. A frontage road past the Graham Road intersection leads to westbound Marine Drive or back onto the westbound lanes of the freeway. Photo taken by Matt Strieby (04/24/05).

Sources:

  1. Bridge of the Gods information from America's Byways (www.byways.org) and Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org)
  2. Information on Warrendale from "Lewis and Clark's Columbia River" (www.englishriverwebsite.com/LewisClarkColumbiaRiver).
  3. Lewis and Clark site information from the online edition of The Definitive Journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, University of Nebraska Press, Gary E. Moulton, editor; www.lewisandclarkjournals.unl.edu/index.html

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Page Updated January 4, 2006.