Feature Photo by Visit Hood River
The Best Outdoor Attractions To Visit Near The Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the many beautiful areas in the Pacific Northwest, just west of Portland, Oregon on the Columbia River. Here are some of the best outdoor attractions to see in the area to take in the scenery while visiting the gorge.
Photo by Travel Portland/@alexclapin
Best For Biggest Waterfall
Being Oregon’s tallest waterfall at 620 feet, Multnomah Falls is a popular attraction in the Columbia Gorge area. To get to the falls, you’ll drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway from Portland. This scenic ride will provide beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge and the Columbia River on your way to Cascade Locks. Once you arrive, the best way to discover views of the falls is to head to the top. Visitors have the option of either trekking up the steep hiking trail system or taking the viewing platforms that are also wheelchair accessible. It is important to note that Multnomah Falls is rain and snow fed. So, although a stream runs all year long, the falls are in full force during winter and spring, making those seasons the best time to visit. After exploring the falls, you can take a break in the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge. This historic building was built in 1925 and includes a restaurant, gift shop, espresso bar, and U.S. Forest Service interpretive center.
Photo by Travel Portland/Brooke Weeber
Best For Outdoor Recreation
If you want to explore the Columbia River Gorge up close and in person, Mount Hood is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the outdoors and discover all the gorge has to offer. With recreation opportunities throughout all four seasons, you can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, and year-round skiing, as well as the beauty of the area, during every visit. On your way to Mount Hood, you’ll catch breathtaking views of the mountain on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway and glimpses of Mount Hood National Forest. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can set out to hike to the top of the 11,239 foot mountain for even more scenic views of the area once you arrive. There are also places to dine and stay on Mount Hood and plenty of guide services that you can use to get the best experience out of your trip.
Photo by Travel Portland/Ashley Anderson
Best For Views Of The Columbia River
Located high on the bluffs overlooking the Columbia River, Crown Point Vista House is a century-old observatory, museum, and rest stop in the Columbia River Gorge. Known as the crown jewel of the gorge, Crown Point holds great historical significance, making it a great place to learn about Oregon’s history. The Vista House also features some of the most stunning views of the Columbia River Gorge and the Columbia River. It especially attracts visitors who are seeking a birds-eye view of the scenery. You can make the most of your stop by uncovering Oregon’s history and the significance of the Crown Point Vista House in the museum and taking in the spectacular views. Then enjoy a beverage from the espresso bar, and step into the gift shop before you leave for something to remember your trip by. The views are especially beautiful during the fall season when the trees are in peak fall colors, so be sure to keep that in mind when planning your visit.
Photo by Friends of the Columbia Gorge
Best For Spring Wildflower Views
Starting at Totem Plaza on Mosier’s main street, the Mosier Plateau Trail will take you to the top of the beautiful Mosier Plateau. This hike features amazing scenic views of the gorge and the Columbia River. The Mosier Plateau Trail, a part of the ongoing Gorge Towns to Trails project, is a 3.5 mile out and back hike with an elevation gain of 600 feet. Along the way, you’ll see scenic views, wildlife, Mosier Creek Falls, Mosier Pocket Park, and over 30 species of wildflowers if you visit during the Spring months. The trek is perfect for families and a great way to get some fresh air while exploring the beautiful Columbia Gorge area.
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