In early November, autumn colors reach their peak in the Columbia River Gorge. Although it's fantastic in any season, fall in the Gorge is absolutely spectacular. Every year, I always make time for a daylong photo excursion to capture the show.
|Gorge view from Crown Point|
I started this latest Gorge trip climbing the twisty, curvy Columbia River Scenic Highway to it's most famous viewpoint - Crown Point. Although this particular day was cloudy and threatened rain, a sunbreak timed perfectly to my arrival.
|Vista House at Crown Point|
Breathtaking Gorge views could be found in three directions. The foliage below was a delightful mix of oranges, golds, and yellows, with a tiny bit of green thrown in.
I walked around the Vista House, a historic structure built on top of Crown Point that doubles as a visitor center. It was originally built as comfort station and a memorial to the Oregon pioneers. This lovely building was completely restored between 2000 and 2005. And it's never looked better!
|Crown Point view from Chanticleer Point|
From Crown Point, I motored on a short distance to another jaw-dropping panorama at nearby Chanticleer Point. The views here are even more stunning - one gets amazing photo ops of the Gorge spread out below, with Crown Point front and center. And, man oh man, were the fall colors fabulous! It looked as if someone had taken a paintbrush to the cliffs below Crown Point.
|Fall colors were perfect|
This famous scene is a popular spot for photographers. More images of the Columbia River Gorge are taken from this point than from anywhere else. Countless postcards from Oregon showcase this very view.
|Another photo of this spectacular panorama|
One can never tire of scenes like these....I would've stayed much longer, but a sudden furious rain squall sent me running for my car.
|Bridal Veil Trail|
Time to head back the other direction, down the Historic Highway. Next stop was Bridal Veil Falls trail. Although it was still raining heavily as I pulled into it's parking lot, after a short 5 minute wait in my car, things started letting up.
The fall leaves here were so bright they practically glowed yellow. So pretty, I was snapping photos from the parking lot!
|Mossy woods below the falls|
But I did tear myself away and ambled down the short half mile path to Bridal Veil Falls. The nearby forest was magical - full of ferns and moss-covered trees.
|Bridal Veil Falls|
Sadly, about the time I reached Bridal Veil Falls, the sky decided to open up once again. I managed a few mediocre shots of the waterfall before packing my camera away to protect it from the precip.
|Lovely autumn woods|
Not all was lost, the walk back up the trail was lovely. A tunnel of gold framed by a scenic creek.
|Railroad track in the Gorge|
Some of the best leaf colors can be found adjacent to the railroad tracks that parallel the mighty Columbia River. Of course, there are signs all over that warn against trespassing on the railroad right-of-way. But.....no one was around. And I just wanted to walk across the tracks for a couple of quick shots.....
|Here comes a train!|
I'd no sooner crossed the tracks and was happily snapping images when I heard a loud roar. As I turned around, a freight train came thundering by, not ten feet away!
|Trapped by the train|
The train was traveling so fast, the wind it created nearly knocked me over. My car was on the other side of the tracks, and I couldn't move any further away where I stood due to a large pond. So I was stuck in my present spot until the train passed by. I crouched down near the blackberry bushes, and willed it to hurry up. And, while I was waiting, I did what any photographer would do, and snapped a couple shots of the train in action.
Although I dodged raindrops part of the day, and played tag with a freight train, it was still wonderful to get outside and capture the spectacular autumn show that is fall in the gorge(ous) Columbia River Gorge!