Our epic summer road trip was planned around the Dead & Company summer tour. When tour dates were announced, we selected six west coast shows that we wanted to go to — The Gorge (WA), Eugene (OR), two shows in Mountain View (CA), and two shows in Boulder (CO) — and shaped our entire road trip around those shows.
The show at Autezen Stadium in Eugene was on a Saturday night and our next show was the following Monday in Mountain View, which meant we had Sunday and Monday to get from one place to the next. We decided to travel from Eugene to Redding on Sunday, then from Redding to Mountain View on Monday. This approach gave us extra time to do some fun things along the way like take in the stunning views at the Portland Women’s Forum Overlook in the Columbia River Gorge, visit The Living Rock Studios, snap photos with the Grants Pass Caveman, hike at Castle Crags State Park, and visit the Intel Museum in Silicon Valley.
The Portland Women’s Forum State Park has incredible, breathtaking views of Rooster Rock State Park, Crown Point, and the Columbia River Gorge.
During a visit to the Columbia River Gorge in 2016, we drove the Historic Columbia River Highway and visited/hiked Multnomah Falls, Horsetail Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Fairy Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Shepperd’s Dell Falls, Latourell Falls, and the Vista House at Crown Point. Somehow we skipped the Portland Women’s Forum Overlook, so I was excited to check it out and in awe of the view, which includes Vista House standing proudly on the edge of Crown Point.
Along with the spectacular views, this roadside scenic vista point also has a memorial drinking fountain, a memorial to Sam Hill on a large rock with four bronze plaques, and two interpretive signs that provide information about the ice age floods that created the gorge and the the vision of Sam Hill and Samuel Lancaster to construct the Historic Columbia River Highway.
On a Sunday around lunchtime, the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint, formerly known as Chanticleer Point, was packed!
Not only were there many tourists vying for the best photo spots, but there was a photography group with many tripods setup snapping photos of Vista House at Crown Point with the magnificent Columbia River Gorge in the background. The parking lot was also extra full because a Lamborghini Club had also just stopped at the viewpoint and everyone, including us, were oogling the beautiful cars.
While we took in the views, stretched our legs, and enjoyed a tailgate picnic lunch, other visitors were doing some hiking!
From 1912-1930, the Chanticleer Inn stood at this scenic viewpoint and guests used to travel to the inn on an old, narrow road that wound up the cliffs to the point. Almost one mile of the old road still exists and it can be accessed by hikers only from the western side of the parking lot. From this old road, there are some unforgettable vistas.
About The Portland Women’s Forum
The Portland Women’s Forum was organized in 1946 for the dissemination of information concerning civic, state, national and international affairs. Over the years, the group has contributed to the ongoing preservation and beautification of the Columbia River Gorge.
Gertrude Glutsch Jensen, after a Sunday drive along the Columbia River Highway in 1950, came to a Portland Women’s Forum meeting and shared her concerns that logging and mill operations were going to ruin the beloved Columbia River Gorge. She felt the State of Oregon or the federal government could help in exchanging timber land in the Gorge for timber elsewhere and the Portland Women’s Forum established the Columbia River Gorge as it’s principal and permanent project.
They wrote letters and met with the legislature, and Jensen went to Washington, D.C. to seek help from Congress. In 1953, the Oregon Legislature created a three member Columbia River Gorge Commission with Gertrude Glutsch Jensen as chairman, a role she held for sixteen years. Today the commission continues management of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in collaboration with the Forest Service.
In 1956, the Portland Women’s Forum purchased 3.7 acres at Chanticleer Point — the former site of Chanticleer Inn, a 1912 log cabin that burned down in 1930. Chanticleer Point is one of the world’s most famous scenic viewpoints and the forum wanted to save it from private development. To fund the purchase, they held teas, fashion shows, doll shows, and Blue Room shows, and they sold memberships that guaranteed the members’ names on a memorial marker at the Portland Women’s Forum State Park.
In 1963, the Portland Women’s Forum turned the land over to the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department and installed a drinking fountain in memory of Gertrude Glutsch Jensen on the property.
Know Before You Go
- Portland Women’s Forum State Park, part of the Oregon State Park system, is located at 39210 E Historic Columbia River Highway, Corbett Oregon 97019 in Multnomah County.
- Chanticleer Point is a geographical landmark on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. It is the first notable overlook encountered traveling east on the Historic Columbia River Highway.
- The overlook is part of the Oregon state park system and its official name is the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint. A plaque placed at the site describes the Forum’s support of this landmark.
- The viewpoint, overlooking Rooster Rock State Park, Crown Point, and the Columbia River Gorge, is open daily from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm with no admission fee.
- The state park viewpoint spans approximately 7.26 acres and receives nearly 385,000 visitors each year.
- This is the best viewpoint for photos of Vista House at Crown Point with the Columbia River Gorge in the background.
- From the western side of the parking lot, hikers can access the old road that connected Chanticleer Inn to the boats and trains below. Follow the windy road for almost one mile for unforgettable vistas.