RoadRUNNER’s Bucket List Roads: Washington State Route 14 (“Gorge Highway”)

Feb 12, 2017 View Comments by

Washington SR-14

Although State Route 14 begins as a continuation of the Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway in downtown Vancouver, WA, we prefer starting a little farther east, where it is less trafficked, at the junction of State Route 14 and Interstate 82. This route hugs the northern shore of the Columbia River, offering travelers unparalleled vistas of the deep gorge. The trip takes riders through three separate climactic zones: coastal, Cascades, and “dry side.”

Points of Interest:

There are numerous points of interest along the route, which may cause riders to pause or slightly alter their course of travel, including:

  • Beacon Rock: This 600-foot-tall core of an ancient, extinct volcano has a trail leading to the top, with panoramic views of the gorge.
  • Bonneville Lock and Dam: One of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal projects, the Bonneville Lock and Dam was completed in 1937 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. A favorite visitor attraction is watching the migration of salmon and steelhead journeying up the fish ladder during spawning season.
  • Bridge of the Gods:  The modern manmade Bridge of the Gods owes its name to a Native American legend, which begins with a major landslide at this location. The modern span across the river is a steel-truss-cantilever-bridge, completed in 1926.
  • Hood River Bridge: The second oldest road bridge built across the Columbia between Washington and Oregon. It opened in 1924.
  • The Dalles Bridge, Dam, and Locks: This is the location of a 3,339-foot-long steel truss cantilever bridge connecting Oregon and Washington, along with the nearby 8,835-foot hydroelectric dam and navigational lock.
  • Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum (OR): This spectacular museum introduces visitors to the geology, flora, fauna, history, and economic development of the gorge.
  • Maryhill Stonehenge Memorial: The first monument in America to honor soldiers who died in World War I, specifically those from Klickitat County, WA.

Best Time to Go: May through October. July and August are the sunniest months. Whenever you go, bring rain gear and prepare for fluctuating conditions.

Scenery: Some of the most breathtaking and best scenery America has to offer.

Curves: Mostly sweepers

Traffic: Typically heavier at the western end closer to the Vancouver, WA, metro area.

Road Conditions: Very good

Distance: Approximately 165 miles without side trips.

Time Required: Three hours to three days, depending on number and duration of stops.

Technical Difficulty: Basic street-riding skills required, not technically difficult.

Resources:  Here are two website featuring videos of portions of the route:

 

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