"In the 1840s, thousands of families loaded their worldly possessions into wagons and walked 2000 miles from Missouri to The Dalles at the eastern gates of the Columbia River Gorge, a tantalizingly close 60 miles from their goal: the Willamette Valley. But a significant obstacle still stood between them and that goal, and these tired ONE-WAY travelers faced a difficult decision.
Some chose to get on wooden rafts and run the dangerous rapids of the Columbia River, risking the loss of their possessions or even their lives in the process. Others decided to stay on land and make a long, slow, and potentially snowy loop on the Barlow Trail through a gap in the Cascade Range south dirt road, then travel gradually downhill, literally in the tracks of pioneers, to a junction at 0.3 mile. The Barlow Trail goes right, but to reach the viewpoint atop Barlow Butte, turn left."