Millions of visitors driving along I-84 through the Columbia River Gorge zip right below the famous building atop a cliff near Exit 22. This rocky promontory perched 693 feet above the Columbia River is Crown Point State Scenic Corridor, and the building is Vista House.
This viewpoint along Highway 30 was the site of the 1916 dedication of the Columbia River Highway, the innovative European-style road that traced a winding path through the perilous Columbia River Gorge, linking Portland and The Dalles.
Vista House opened in 1918 as a glamorous rest stop and observatory for those traveling the new highway. This “comfort station” was a rest stop like no other, featuring marble floors, stained glass windows — and, of course, a stunning view. In the words of The Oregonian, it was “the finishing achievement for the greatest highway in America.”
Architect Edgar M. Lazarus designed the building to be functional, beautiful and commemorative: the rest stop served as a memorial to the settlers who had traveled the final stretch of the Oregon Trail along the Columbia River. Inside, stone panels are carved with the names of settler families. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the building fulfills Lazarus’s vision as a “temple to the natural beauty of the Gorge.”
The octagonal building houses a museum, gift shop and interpretive display of historic and geologic points of interest in the Gorge. Additional information about the site's history can be found in our Vista House brochure.
The landmark is open daily, weather permitting. It closes when winds reach 50mph or more. Hours and weather closures are posted at vistahouse.com, or by calling 503-344-1368. Check Vista House's weather station here before you go.
Parking areas are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Crown Point also marks the beginning of the "Waterfall Corridor" that features eight waterfalls along the historic highway, including Multnomah Falls.
The Friends of Vista House has partnered with Oregon State Parks since 1982 to help preserve the building and share its story with the public. Volunteers greet visitors, conduct tours and operate the gift shop.
Events can be held in the viewpoint area only, not inside the building. Call 503-695-2261 ext. 0 for details
According to a 2012 survey of park visitors:
95% of our customers describe being "very satisfied" or "satisfied" with their overall experience at Vista House at Crown Point.
86% of our customers reported that they were either "very likely" or "likely" to return to Vista House at Crown Point in the future.
One customer commented, "I used to live in Troutdale and love to bring my kids back whenever I visit. Thank you!"
Please call 503-695-2261 for park specific rules.
No metal detecting is permitted in West Columbia River Gorge State parks.
This park requires a Special Use Permit for special events or activities. Please open the Special Use Permit application to see examples of events that need a permit. If you have questions about whether you need a special use permit for your activity and to receive instructions on how to submit the application, please call 503-695-2261.
The first tract was given to the state by the City of Portland and Multnomah County in 1938. From 1945 to 1971, additional were added. Crown Point is a National Natural Landmark. A noteworthy architectural feature is the observation building encircled by the scenic old Columbia River Highway. The Vista House was built in 1916 to provide a vantage point and rest stop for motorists. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.