Cascade Locks and Portland Spirit Sternwheeler Cruise

Cascade Locks and Portland Spirit Sternwheeler Cruise

What a gorgeous cruise enjoying the last bits of the summer sun!  My husband and I took a 5 hour boat cruise down the Columbia Gorge on the Columbia River starting at Cascade Locks (45 miles east of Portland) on a sternwheeler.  It was perfect for taking photos on the way out and then relaxing and enjoying dinner and a 2nd view of the scenery on the way back.

The cruise is run by Portland Spirit and is called the “Landmarks of the Gorge.”  The main landmarks were Multnomah falls, Beacon rock, and Bonneville locks and dam.  We selected this particular cruise to supplement our recent drive out to the Gorge on the Washington side and the Bonneville locks and dam on the Oregon side.  It costs $84 per adult and runs only June-September on Tuesdays 10-3 and Sundays 2-7.  We were served a buffet style snack of cheeses and crackers, etc. a couple hours into the cruise and then a dinner buffet 2 hours after that.  There were a couple of bars open during the entire cruise.

We were early to arrive at Cascade Locks so we ate lunch at what appeared to be the local haunt next to the Bridge of the gods and took photos of the sternwheeler finishing it’s prior cruise and sailing past our window seats.  🙂

sternwheeler

Cascade Locks (foreground) is not very big compared with the Bonneville locks and dam.  The Bridge of the gods in the background.

cascade locks

Bridge of the gods

Another informative website about the bridge:

http://www.cascadelocks.net/about-us-history-two-ways.php

bridge of the gods

bridge of the gods

bridge of the gods

The Sternwheeler coming in to the Cascade locks with the gorgeous mountain and river context

sternwheeler

Here is a photo of the Portland spirit Sternwheeler at Cascade locks before our cruise.

sternwheeler

This boat has 3 decks and holds up to 500 people.

Port of Cascade Locks information about the sternwheeler

We got quite lucky in being among the first few to board the boat and we were able to sit in the very front 2 seats on the 2nd floor bow of the boat!  It was an amazing view out front and to each side. 🙂

bow

columbia river

Everyone who boarded the boat was assigned seating.  Not all of the tables were along the edges with a window view.  We were quite lucky to be a smaller group of 2 and received an assigned seat right by the door and with a beautiful window view.

window view

window view

Cascade locks

Another useful website on the Cascade locks:

http://www.cascadelocks.net/

Sacajawea and Seaman statues

I particularly like how Sacajawea appears to point to the mountain in the background in this photo.  Seaman is the dog at her feet (not pictured).

sacajawea

Coming up on Beacon rock (basalt)-Washington side of the Columbia River.

beacon rock

Much closer to Beacon Rock

beacon rock

Fishing boats

fishing boats

Bonneville locks and dam

bonneville dam

bonneville locks

Bonneville dam from the parking lot 2 weeks ago

bonneville dam

St. Peter’s dome (left) and Rock of ages (right) (Yeon mountain)

st peter's dome

Multnomah falls (and lodge)

A couple on the boat nicely took our photo with the falls behind us as a backdrop. 🙂

multnomah falls

multnomah falls

Multnomah falls at the Multnomah lodge from 1 year ago

multnomah falls

This is a gorgeous photo from the state archives of the falls:

http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/records/local/county/scenic/multnomah/14.html

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

Amazing rock formations!

rock formation

rock formation

rock formation

We cruised up toward a small island and the captain got closer to see if there were any sea lions on it.

sea lion

Sure enough.  This little guy was sunning himself on the rock. 🙂

sea lion

We then cruised upon alongside an Osprey nest.

osprey

The Osprey didn’t seem to like us being so close and beautifully flew off right in front of us.

osprey

Ah, the beautiful mountains and river at the end of a relaxing cruise…

sunset

sunset

At the turn around point of the cruise there was an opportunity to see the Vista house on Crown point overlooking the river, but we missed it.  From a distance, it looks like this amazing photo from the Oregon state archives:

http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/records/local/county/scenic/multnomah/27.html

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

So, we decided to check it out the following weekend.

It is a gorgeous panoramic view of the Columbia River and mountains as you walk from the parking lot to the Vista House.

vista house at crown point

crown point

I didn’t think to take this shot of the Vista House with the Crown Point sign and the mountains in the background:

http://arcweb.sos.state.or.us/pages/records/local/county/scenic/multnomah/8.html

Gary Halvorson, Oregon State Archives

The Vista House was built with spectacular materials including marble floors inside and an amazing roof inside and out!

vista house

vista house

Check out this movie for more information about the Vista House and Crown Point:

Vista house movie of its history (4:37) (2004)

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