The Columbia River Gorge stretches an incredible 80 miles from east to west in the northwestern corner of Oregon. This stunning gorge houses the Columbia River which reaches depths as much as 4,000 feet! The views of the Gorge are unlike any other. Standing on Crown Point, you’ll appreciate the sight as the river travels eastward through the mountains. The waterfalls in the Gorge will leave you in awe as they spill from the rocks’ edges and pour into majestic pools of color. As you travel the Gorge to the east, the earthen sights increase with awe inspiring beauty. If you love to find adventure and love to explore new areas, then lace up your hiking boots and follow us as we lead you on a journey through the great Columbia River Gorge.
Let’s take a look at some scenic places to visit in the Columbia River Gorge area:
Multnomah Falls is located roughly 30 miles east of Portland. It’s an easy straight-shot drive on I-84 from Portland to Multnomah Falls. A 30 minute drive from the big city is not too shabby!
As you move in closer to Multnomah Falls from the interstate, you’ll be able to see the top of the falls and excitement will start to build. Once you get parked, it’s an easy 5 minute walk to the largest waterfall in the state of Oregon. Only then will you be able to see the entire 600 foot waterfall in its fullest.
The waterfall is split into two natural drops. The tallest drop is a whopping 542 feet while the second drop is an impressive 69 feet! The Benson Bridge hangs beautifully over the second waterfall drop and allows you to soak in the beauty, roaring waters and mist. This is an up-close experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. Many people recognize Multnomah Falls from photographs seen in magazines, television and movies. It’s a very popular place with the iconic bridge and magnificent waterfalls. Be sure to take pictures and add them to your scrapbook for later!
Latourell Falls is not too far from Multnomah Falls and is also known as one of the most popular waterfalls in the state of Oregon. Within the Guy W. Talbot State Park, just outside of Troutdale and along I-84, Latourell Falls is another magnificent beauty that sprawls off a basalt cliff on the Columbia River Gorge.
In order to view Latourell Falls, you’ll have to walk along the 2 mile loop trail from the parking lot. This will take you straight to the waterfall. Be sure to have your camera and smartphone ready as you’ll want pictures!
Bridal Veil Falls
Still on the western side of the Columbia River Gorge is the scenic Bridal Veil Falls. It sits right off of the Columbia River Highway. Bridal Veil is more than a beautiful waterfall, it’s also an old ghost town! There’s a lot of history Bridal Veil and attracts visitors from everywhere. All that consists of the old ghost town nowadays is the aging post office and an abandoned cemetery. However, once you enjoy the history of what’s been left behind in Bridal Veil, you can take a hike to the famous Bridal Veil Falls.
There’s a trail that will take you along the Bridal Veil Creek and allows you to explore the history of the old lumber mill site. (The ghost town was once an economically booming town from lumber production.) Once you’ve enjoyed the history of the old lumber mill site, you can move on to view the incredible waterfalls.
You can also take the second trail which will lead you to the top of the Bridal Veil Bluffs. From here, you can enjoy the view of the stunning Columbia River as it cuts its way through the Gorge.
Rowena Crest Viewpoint
If you’re looking for a nice, little pit stop on your drive through the Columbia River Gorge, then why not take a break at one of the most photographed roads in the state of Oregon? We are talking about the Rowena Crest Viewpoint.
This iconic spot is located about an hour and a half east of Portland. The views of the river, the hills and the bluffs are stunningly awe inspiring. However, what makes Rowena Crest Viewpoint SO special is the horseshoe bend shape in the road! You can view it from the top of a bluff and take your photo that overlooks the horseshoe bend. In addition to this, your camera will capture the gorge, hills and surrounding cliffs as well.
It’s also along the I-84 corridor, it isn’t very far from Hood River. And speaking of Hood River, it has a nice little community that plenty of great places to eat! Like we said, the Rowena Crest Viewpoint is a great pit stop for your journey along the great Columbia River Gorge.
Outside of the metropolitan area of Portland and along I-84, you’ll come along The Dalles. This city was created in 1857 as people had poured into the area from the Oregon Trail. The Dalles was the stopping place for many weary travellers as it became too dangerous to travel by wagon beyond The Dalles. If anyone wanted to travel further from The Dalles, they had to continue so by rafting down the Columbia River. Thus, many Oregon Trail settlers chose to call The Dalles their new home.
As you visit the city along the Columbia River Gorge, you’ll find many things to do, many things to eat and many things to drink! The area is known for their tasty wines and brews. They also have the best cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, pies and cobblers around!
However, if you’re new to the area and searching for a unique experience, you should look into kiteboarding. All along the Columbia River, you can see people riding the tops of the water beneath a kite. It’s like sailing but skateboard style! You can visit the Oregon Kiteboarding School and sign up for a certified kiteboarding trainer. They will take you out on the water and teach you how to kite board! If the thoughts are exciting but make you a little nervous, don’t worry. The instructors stay right by your side in case you may suddenly need them. In the meantime, experience the fun with letting the kite give you a ride down the Columbia River and soak in the scenery!
So, are you ready to explore the Columbia River Gorge for a once in a lifetime adventure? Pack your hiking boots, pull out your maps and get started today! Oregon Country awaits you!
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