After being closed for most of the past two years, Vista House—one of the Columbia River Gorge’s crown jewels—will reopen next month.
The landmark perched atop Crown Point recently announced on its social media accounts that visitors would be allowed back inside the 1918 building beginning Saturday, March 12.
Vista House was among the attractions that became off-limits during the initial pandemic lockdown in March 2020. While some day-use areas, campgrounds and trailheads slowly started to reopen later that spring and summer, the rotunda remained locked since it’s a smaller structure on a promontory with limited space for visitors to safely spread out.
The site briefly welcomed tourists again last August with an abbreviated schedule. Vista House then closed a second time Dec. 6 for septic system repairs, though the viewpoint and portions of the parking lot did stay open.
“I am new to Vista House and have never experienced it when the building is fully open,” Anne Vassar, interpretive and volunteer coordinator with the Friends of Vista House, tells WW. “Like many visitors, I’m excited to see Vista House open its doors and once again welcome guests from around the world.”
Built as a rest stop observatory for travelers on the old Columbia River Highway, the sandstone structure with art nouveau architecture and a green-tiled roof has long been a must-see destination in the Gorge. Friends of Vista House hopes to operate 9 am to 5 pm Friday through Monday, but the nonprofit stresses that it needs more bodies to be able to do so.
“To keep our current schedule of four, eight-hour open days per week, plus potentially expand our open hours, we need a full roster of volunteers who are able to volunteer at least one shift per month,” Vassar adds.
Training begins soon, and anyone interested in participating is asked to email Friends of Vista House: email@example.com.