Driving around the bend from Portland, the first view many see of the Columbia River Gorge is from the corner of land called Crown Point. The outlook provides an overview of the dramatic scenery and surrounding canyon. On a clear day there is a panoramic view of the heavily forested area, the mountains, and the Columbia River.
The point itself is an enormous rock formation that was caused by multiple lava flows, which once altered the course of the river. Looking to the west, you can see Rooster Rock, another well-loved rock formation that slopes down into the canyon.
With the Vista House constructed on Crown Point at the same time the highway was being formed, it remains one of the best loved visitor stops on the historic Columbia River Gorge Highway and is considered the gateway to the area. Crown Point was designated a National Natural Landmark in 1971. It remains a popular stop for both views and refreshments.
Crown Point State Park is located in eastern Multnomah County, about 20 minutes from downtown Portland. Get there by driving on Highway 30, the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. The park is free to access and contains some picnic table facilities.