One of the things I looked forward to most in Portland was driving East along the Columbia River to check out Mt Hood area. Luckily, I was spared from the rain for a day and was able to hike around Lost Lake with stunning views of Mt Hood, drive along the scenic historic highway to Rowena Crest viewpoint and stop by Multnomah Falls on the way back. It was an aesthetically pleasing day with vibrant fall colors, emerald green trees and snowy mountain peaks.
The drive along I-84 was gorgeous. The highway hugs the Columbia River with green cascading mountains on one side and the powerful river currents on the other. It made the nearly two-hour drive much more enjoyable
To reach Lost Lake, we turned off the I-84 and drove 45 min through windy mountain roads. We pulled into the day use area and stepped out of the car to the refreshing chilly breeze and crisp mountain air. After being in SoCal for the last few months rattled by forest fires, it felt so great breathing in some fresh air.
We parked at the north day use area and hiked counter-clockwise around Lost Lake on the Lakeshore Trail, which was an easy 3-miles walk with minimal elevation gains. The trail was mainly along the water so there were many opportunities to venture down to the water, but it also cut through some wooded areas. We hiked over streams of different sizes and across boardwalks with shrubberies on either side us, and even climbed over a few downed trees from the recent windstorm.
The best view of Mt Hood is from Lost Lake North Viewpoint, just off the north day use area parking lot. Mt Hood is perfectly centered over Lost Lake with the trees providing a natural frame. It was a stunning view to take in and probably one of my favorites.
After Lost Lake, we drove further east to Rowena Crest viewpoint to see the horseshoe curve over the Columbia River Gorge. It was very impressive how the road cuts through the gorge with massive rocky cliffs towering over it. The entire drive was actually beautiful with other scenic spots to pull over since it’s along a historic scenic highway.
We began our drive back to Portland with one final stop at Multnomah Falls. Due to COVID, the trail was only open to the lower viewing platform so we couldn’t hike to the famous bridge between the falls. Nevertheless, it was an epic view especially with the bridge splitting upper and lower falls. It felt so serene with the falls nested within the gorge surrounded by greenery.
The entire day was so pleasant with beautiful views of lakes, mountains and waterfalls. It’s such an easy outdoor getaway day trip to make from Portland and I’d definitely recommend if you’re in the area.