[Photos are being developed. Please be patient and check back later.]
I would like to be able to say that this little viewpoint on a small knob that sticks out from the south bank of the Columbia River provides a great first view into the depths of the Columbia River Gorge. Unfortunately, I can't say that because it is only accessible from the west bound side of Interstate 84.
This means that this viewpoint actually provides one last glimpse of the wonders of the Columbia River Gorge.
Going west on Interstate 84, the viewpoint is just past the Corbett Exit. It is well marked from the highway.
Other than the wonderful view upriver, and the view of the Vista House and Rooster Rock, plus a historical marker, there really isn't too much to this little viewpoint. There aren't even marked parking places. There are no restrooms here.
This is a popular place for heavy interstate trucks to stop and check their loads and trailers, and therefore finding a place to park during heavy truck traffic periods can be difficult. It doesn't have that much in the way of space to begin with. Be very careful of people parked along the entrance to the viewpoint.
The best time to come is either close to dawn or close to sunset. Close to sunset on a clear day is really nice because the setting sun hits the rocks on the side of the canyon wall.
The Vista House (see above tip) would never have achieved its iconic state if it weren't for the beautiful view of it perched on the edge of a steep cliff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
Those wonderful post card photographs have to be taken from somewhere. This state park sits atop Chanticleer Point and provides the necessary spot to see the Vista House from its most famous location.
The Portland Women's Forum supported the construction of this viewpoint, and thus it is named in their honor.
There are a number of coin operated viewing scopes available from here, but you will find that it is better to bring your own telephoto equipment. They are also quite unnecessary, as the beauty of this spot really is just being above and beyond everything, and there really isn't that much interesting to see by zooming in on any of it.
While large vehicles do park here from time to time, it is certainly not designed for them, and any sort of large vehicle will have a lot of trouble from here eastward on the Columbia Gorge Highway.
By far the most famous feature in the Corbett area is the Vista House. Constructed as part of the historical Columbia River Highway, this viewpoint has long been a landmark along the Columbia River Gorge. It's emblematic status started from the day it was completed in 1916.
Today, one of the most popular post cards of Oregon features a view of the Vista House and the Columbia Gorge in the background, similar to what you would see if you were standing at the Oregon Women's Forum state wayside. This is simply one of the most enduring iconic structures in Oregon today.
Unfortunately, while the Vista House exterior was used for so many things, the interior was for many years not well utilized. At times the Vista House has been vandalized, and for many years there was very little good going on with this wonderful old building.
After considerable effort, the Vista House was re-opened to the public in 2005.
Today, it is operated by the Oregon State Parks, has a gift shop with quite a number of guide books and art works available inside, and a small coffee stand that in the summer months seems to do a prosperous business in ice cream and other sweets.
The web site I have listed below is the official Crown Point state park web page, but you should also take a look at the Friends of the Vista House web site
since they have been a huge force behind the project to get the Vista House to the point where it is today.