015 Latourell to Bridal Veil

Shepperd's Dell Falls and Bridge
Shepperd's Dell. Historic Columbia River Highway. Shepperd's Dell State Natural Area. Oregon. April 18, 2014


From Chanticleer to the east line of Multnomah County, a distance of 20.48 miles, there existed no road. There was a narrow, steep and crooked link from Chanticleer down the side of the gorge to Latourelle, then up and over and down again to Bridal Veil, connecting with the short piece of road built in response to the petition previously referred to of Henry Wemme and others, when the Columbia Highway was inaugurated and where it had ended its course abruptly against a rugged mountainside some distance above the track of a trans-continental railway. (Lancaster, 1914 58)

Passing on from Latourelle Falls, and the pretty three-arch concrete bridge, at an elevation of 155 feet, we follow closely the general direction eastward, on easy lines and almost level grades, for a distance of 1.22 miles and reach Shepperd's Dell, one of the best of all the beautiful spots to be seen on this highway.

Its existence was known to but very few, even in the immediate vicinity, before the road was built. Its discovery came only when it seemed impossible to get by the point of a high mountain in no other way.

On leaving Latourelle the old county road climbed up the side of the mountain by heavy grades and hairpin turns, reaching an elevation of 555 feet (just about the height of the Washington Monument) before it turned and came down again on the other side by many a bend and crook. The side of the mountain was rugged and steep, and at its base was the main line track of a great railway reaching to Chicago.

Studying the face of these cliffs from all angles, it seemed possible to find a way 140 feet above the railroad by bridging a narrow gorge, and laying the line snug and close against the cliffs at the top of a talus slope, formed in by-gone ages through the action of heat and frost, breaking away the face of the solid rock which towered above.

Accurate surveys showed this to be the best location, being the most direct route possible, with no grades to speak of, between the bridge at Latourelle, elevation of 155 feet, and this point at Shepperd's Dell, elevation 170 feet.

The Shepperd's Dell bridge is 135 above the stream, which is spanned with a reinforced concrete arch 100 feet in length, the total length from end to end being 150 feet. (Lancaster, 1914 62)

HCRH Gutters completed in 2006

This Forest Highway Enhancement project restored gutters along the Historic Columbia River Highway between Latourell Falls and Dodson. Pavement also was repaired through milling and repaving. Two walls were repaired. The Western Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration was responsible for this project.

ODOT. HCRH Completed Projects.

CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway

CLICK HERE to continue exploring the highway