If you haven’t been to Oregon, you must go and the Columbia River Gorge should especially be at the top of your list! As a Gorge native, I’ve been fortunate to experience the beauty of the Columbia River! Imagine Multnomah Falls on the regular, scenic drives home, and field trips to the most beautiful state parks Oregon has to offer. Here’s my list of things to not to miss on the beautiful Columbia River!
1. Multnomah Falls
Just off the historic Columbia Gorge Highway and I-84 sits the awe and wonder of the massive Multnomah Falls. The falls tower over the cliffs at up to 620 feet! I recommend taking the hiking trail all the way to the top if it’s open when you go. If not, you’ll still be able to feel the power of the falls at the Benson bridge. At the base of the falls sits Multnomah Falls Lodge, as well as a coffee cart, lounge area and gift shop! For an upscale dining option, the dining room in the lodge is open for breakfast, lunch, romantic dinners and even brunch!
2. Beacon Rock State Park
Again just off the scenic highway (on the Washington side) sits Beacon Rock. Park off the side of the highway and gear up for the hike all the way to the top. You can find the best views during the twists and turns that circle the rock. Once you reach the top, find a flat rock to sit on and congratulate your legs! Be prepared in the summer months for the top to be very crowded.
3. Maryhill Winery (Goldendale Location)
Photo Credit: Maryhill Winery
No visit to the Gorge is complete without a visit to Maryhill winery. Perched above a bluff, among beautiful vista views, visitors can enjoy sipping delicious wine created with the help of the winds of the Gorge.
4. Cascade Locks
Cascade Locks is one of my favorite pitstops on the scenic highway. There’s a variety of places to choose from to eat after a long drive. My favorite place to have ice cream or a quick burger is at East Wind Drive-In. This is a MUST for your drive! Do be prepared for long lines. I’ve been going to this place since I was a kid! Another great spot that I recently found near the entrance to the Sternwheeler River Cruise is the Thunder Island Brewing Company. All of the food is fresh, the beers are delicious and meat is grilled right outside. If you’re lucky enough score table outside, you’re in for a treat!
5. Windsurf Hood River
One of my favorite things to do is to pack a picnic lunch and find a nearby park along the Columbia River and watch the nearby windsurfers. I’ve never been brave enough to actually surf….yes I know that’s crazy considering that I grew up here, but I am deathly afraid of water that I can’t see through! Some of the biggest prehistoric sturgeons swim in the Columbia River. So if you like to fish, you definitely need to go! But, admittedly it’s always freaked me out that there’s these huge sturgeons in the water.
6. Skamania Lodge
Skamania is a perfect option for lodging and a convenient jumping off point for sightseeing along the scenic Gorge. It’s close to Beacon rock, and across the river from the falls. You easily cross over the Bridge of The Gods onto the Oregon side to enjoy more of the Gorge. The toll to cross the bridge is $2.00. Skamania Lodge offers golfing, hiking, zipping, and my favorites: a beautiful hot tub for tired legs, and comfortable beds for rest and relaxation.
I hope you enjoy that the Columbia River Gorge has to offer! Happy travels 🙂