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The Columbia River Gorge is a spectacular river canyon cutting the only sea-level route through the Cascade Mountain Range. The Gorge is 80 miles long and up to 4,000 feet deep with the north canyon walls in Washington State and the south canyon walls in Oregon State. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers recreational activities including camping, hiking, biking, golf, whitewater rafting and kayaking, windsurfing and kiteboarding, boating, bird watching, photography, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, etc. Indoor options are museums, wine tasting, dining shopping and spa services. You certainly could plan an entire vacation along the river. Most just pass through on the freeway, maybe stopping at a waterfall. The south side of the Gorge in Oregon has the freeway and majority of hiking trails and waterfalls. The north side in Washington still has some nice sights with several excellent trails and State Parks.
Columbia River Gorge
Multnomah Falls is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States at 620 ft. This is the classic must see site that everyone stops at to take pictures.
Maryhill Museumís world-class collection of art ranging from early 20th century European works to an extensive Native American collection. Set in a castle-like chateau on a stunning 6,000-acre site overlooking the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The museumís permanent collection includes more than 80 sculptures and watercolors by the French master Auguste Rodin, including the only pedestal-sized plaster version of his famous The Thinker, and much more.
Three miles east of Maryhill Museum of Art, stands a replica of Stonehenge built by Samuel Hill in 1918. The Stonehenge Memorial stands as a monument to heroism and peace.
Bonneville Dam Lock and Dam
This National Landmark has two visitors centers. The one accessed from the Oregon side highlights history of the dam and the fish ladder. The one accessed from Washington State side concentrates on electricity generation, with a trip down into a giant turbine.
Cascade Locks Bridge "Bridge of the Gods"
The Bridge of the Gods serves as the link for hikers hiking from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. This bridge is the lowest elevation on the 2,600 mile journey.
Beacon Rock State Park
Beacon Rock State Park is a 5,100-acre year-round camping park with historic significance dating back hundreds of years. The park includes 9,500 feet of freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River. A must do is the hike to the top of Beacon Rock!
Columbia Gorge Discovery Center
This is the official interpretive center of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. The 48,200 sq. foot facility won an American Institute of Architects Honor Award, is situated on a 54-acre point of land adjacent to the Columbia River and the Historic Columbia River Highway. The site provides walking trails, a pond and scenic overlooks. Its location in The Dalles, on the Oregon side.
Hiking to Other Waterfalls
The Gorge has one of the largest concentrations of waterfalls in the world. You will need to hike into many of them. Some hikes are very short, all are very nice.
Downtown Hood River & other Villages
Some of the towns along the river are interesting, at least if you enjoy art studios, shopping or antiquing. The towns in the Gorge include Hood River, White Salmon, Bingen, Cascade Locks, Stevenson, North Bonneville, Troutdale, Corbett, Mosier, The Dalles, Lyle and Goldendale. Not all are worth the stop but Hood River is. There is also the Fruit Loop in the Hood River Valley that is popular.
Dog Mountain Hike
Crown Point Viewpoint
Looking east from the Crown Point Viewpoint
Looking West from the Crown Point Viewpoint
Hiking to the base of the upper falls
Multnomah Falls in winter
Waterfall along the old highway near Multnomah Falls