Blog Archives

Ice Castle on Thor’s Heights

Winter storms have hit early and hard this year in the Columbia River Gorge.  Wind gusts are consistently in the 70 mph-range and ice still coats the trees, roads, and buildings around Crown Point.  Temperatures are slowly rising and winds have crept down from the 80s.  And Vista House’s Crown Point — once called “Thor’s Heights” — has lived up to its stormy name.

Here’s a look around the west end of the Gorge:


Angel’s Rest Trailhead’s new ice skating rink.


Ice-coated trees at Rooster Rock State Park.


Ice covered vehicles in the town of Corbett, Oregon.

Tree Over Power Lines at Latourell

Wind and ice have taken out many trees — and sometimes the power with it.


A passenger’s view of the Historic Columbia River Highway outside of Corbett, Oregon.


The road to Vista House on Thursday morning.


The view to Vista House from an icy Portland Women’s Forum.


A melting ice castle. Vista House on Crown Point.

Wondering what the winds and temps are like at Vista House?  You can click here to check our weather station:

Of course, if the wind gauge is iced over (like it has been for the last two days), it will look like there is no wind at all . . .

Escape to Vista House!

The holiday season is fully upon us.  Shopping, traveling, cooking, eating, working, rushing, rushing, rushing, repeat.  It seems to happen every year no matter how we plan.  The holidays are simply busy.  But even amidst the frenzy, there are moments that make us pause and reflect.  Watching the tutu-clad toddler twirling down the aisle of the store.  Finding the perfect gift for a loved one.  Listening to carolers sing songs from our childhood.  Catching a whiff of a favorite holiday food.  Coming upon a breathtaking view . . .

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Vista House from Portland Women’s Forum.

This morning, one of the rangers swung up the Historic Columbia River Highway for the daily run and took these fantastic photos of Vista House.  “It’s sunny up there!” she exclaimed.  We all stood in silence, admiring the scene captured on her smartphone:  Clouds swirling around the basalt prominence of Crown Point, the tip of Vista House rising just above, sun reflecting off the green and amber opalescent glass windows.  We’ve all visited Portland Women’s Forum enough to be able to transport ourselves to the very spot where the photo was taken.  We could imagine the 3″ x 2″ screen filling our view.  We paused and, for a moment, soaked in the stunning beauty of the Gorge.

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The view from above changes the tone of a gray, foggy Oregon day.

So, this holiday season, we wish you all a moment or two like this.  A flash of the magic that is the meaning of the times.  And, if you find that the opportunity doesn’t find you, go find it!

NOTE:  Although our campgrounds are closed for the season, our parks and trails are open.  In the west end of the Gorge, restrooms can be found at the following Oregon State Parks:  Rooster Rock, Lewis and Clark, Dabney, Latourell, Bridal Veil, and Dalton Point.  Vista House will be open this winter on weekends, weather permitting; closed on holidays and weekdays.

Safe travels and happy holidays from all of us in the Columbia River Gorge!