Things to See & Do in the Columbia River Gorge
We have a lot to look forward to once the Stay Home, Stay Healthy orders are lifted. When once again we’re free to roam, all the wonders of the Pacific Northwest will be waiting for us. One of our greatest local daytrip treasures is the Columbia River Gorge.
Enjoy the Scenery
Forget WHAT to do in the gorge for a minute because the charm of the Columbia River Gorge is WHERE it is done. Even driving through the Gorge can be a sublime experience. On a clear day, the mountains are visible to the east, the river lines the highway and the hills provide a shield on one side. If you have the time, try Washington’s highway 14 or Oregon’s highway 30. Both meander, but are less hectic than I-84.
Watch Wind Sports
If you are into windsurfing or kiteboarding, you already know about the advantages of the Columbia River Gorge. The area is a hot spot attracting the world’s best for many years now. There many popular places to spectate the Gorge’s famous wind sports.
Hood River Waterfront Park is a popular seasonal destination for taking it all in. With full river views, food vendors on the deck, swimming area, mountain views, playground, and miles of trails—it provides a whole day of fun for the whole family. Just west of the waterfront park, down a gravel road is The Hook—a small sheltered cove protected from extreme conditions where windsurf shops set up in the summer months to teach beginners. Just east of Hood River over the Washington side of the river is known as “The Hatch” where you can see some of the world’s most advanced daredevil wind fliers brave large swells just off the beach. It’s located next to the Spring Creek Fish Hatchery which is a fun place to visit while you’re there.
With the highest concentration of waterfalls in the nation, there are far too many in the Columbia River Gorge to mention here. Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in Oregon, but also the busiest with tourists. It’s hard to see this very popular and striking roadside landmark other than rubbernecking at freeway speed, or visiting in the off season (the leaves are colorful in fall and the crowds are less). But there are other majestic waterfalls to see by way of short hikes or roadside pullouts along the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway. Heading east into the Gorge you’ll first find Latourell Falls, then other viewpoint stops include Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Horsetail Falls, and Starvation Creek Falls.
Craft Brews & Wineries
Like the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge is gaining status as a world class wine region, but with less traffic and more spectacular views which makes a wine tasting day trip all the more enjoyable. The map on both shores of the river is dotted with 40 miles of vineyards and wineries producing exceptional wines from more than 50 varieties of premium grapes grown here. Check out www.gorgewine.com to plan your visit to the Gorge Wine Region.
If beer is more your taste, the Gorge will not disappoint. Breweries in The Gorge is an association of 12 craft beermakers spanning both sides of the river. Check out ww.breweriesinthegorge.com to get your passport for a big taste adventure.