017 Bridal Veil to West Multnomah Viaduct

Section 1 Segment H: Bridal Veil Junction to Western end of West Multnomah Falls Viaduct
    Mile post: 14.84-17.68
    Old mile post: 29-31.8

ODOT. 2006 Master Plan 

Wahkeena from Below (2015)
Historic Columbia River Highway. Oregon. March 13, 2015


Continuing east [from Bridal Veil] the road descends gradually on an easy grade to the level of the river valley, elevation 44 feet, just west of Mist Falls, a distance of slightly less than three miles. Here the steep talus slopes at the base of high cliffs were covered with large masses of jagged rocks that had come from the crags above. The tracks of the O. W. R. & N. Company were close to the toe of this slope, and the only way left to get by with a road was to make use of these rocks in constructing high walls down close to the rails.

It required great care to roll these large masses of volcanic rock down these steep slopes where they hung, many of them just on a balance; once started they were likely to keep going until they landed across the tracks in the river. The fast passenger and freight trains passing continually had to be looked out for, and injury to the railway tracks and telegraph lines avoided.

The walls were built true to line and grade, some of them 26 feet in height. The bottom of the walls are within 12 feet of the center of the track and slope back three-tenths of a foot horizontally to every foot of vertical height. They are smooth and look as well as if cement mortar had been used in their construction. The thickness of these walls at the base are from five to eight-tenths of their height, according to the character of the foundation.

From Mist Falls to Gordon Falls, elevation of the highway 98 feet, the distance is slightly less than a quarter of a mile.

The former owners of this property intended to use these falls for operating woolen mills to be located at the mountain's base. Through the splendid spirit of Mr. S. Benson, one of Portland's wealthy citizens, this jewel of Nature has been rescued.

From Gordon Falls to Multnomah Falls, 0.57 miles, the road descends from an elevation of 98 to 44 feet above sea level, by easy grades and curves reaching the floor of the valley, on a level with the railway tracks.

On the way down the road curves around the foot of the mountain, where some of the highest dry masonry walls have been built, with rock taken from the steep slopes above. (Lancaster 1914, 62-64)

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