Columbia River Gorge Hikes
|In This Guide|
The Columbia River Gorge hikes are some of the best in the USA. Just 45 minutes from downtown Portland, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area covers 292,500 acres of pure beauty. The Columbia River Gorge was formed over 12 million years ago, and boasts lush forests, spectacular waterfalls and views of the Cascades high peaks. On some hikes you can even see fish spawning.
If you’re going to hike here, the town of Cascade Locks, OR is a good choice for facilities. There is a great Best Western with incredible views of the river and the Bridge of the Gods. Food is basic in Cascade Locks, and the nearby town of Stevenson, WA has some good dining options as well. When I go to Portland for business, I usually try and tack on an overnight trip to Cascade Locks to get some hiking in.
Best Hike Overall
Punchbowl Falls is the quintessential Columbia River Gorge hike. It feels like you’re in the Lord of the Rings. The hike is easy, and if you want to continue past Punchbowl Falls for a longer hike, just keep following the trail.
Directions for Punchbowl Falls Hike
Best Hike to Avoid Crowds
One of the downsides of hiking at Columbia Gorge is the crowds. All of the hikes will have a bit more traffic than normal, but Triple Falls is a good option if you want the Multnomah Falls experience without the people. The hike winds up past three scenic waterfalls to a nice bridge and picnic spot.
Triple Falls Hike Directions
Best Columbia River Gorge Views Hike
The Dog Mountain hike is tough but the payoff is great. Dog Mountain offers nice views of the river where it bends, and at the top you can see the high peaks of the Cascades.
Dog Mountain Hike Directions
The hikes below have detailed, turn by turn directions for the top Columbia River Gorge hikes. If you want to find more hikes, the OregeonHikers website is a good resource as well.
List of Columbia River Gorge Hikes
|Triple Falls Hike||3.3||730||Easy||Leashed|
|Punchbowl Falls Hike||3.4||580||Easy||Leashed|
|Dog Mountain Hike||6.2||2850||Hard||Leashed|
All Columbia River Gorge Hikes
The Dog Mountain hike is short, steep, and offers great payoffs at every bend. Dog Mountain rises prominently above the Columbia River Gorge, giving hikers panoramic views of the Gorge, the Columbia River, and on a clear day the Cascades high peaks like Mt. Hood. In the late spring, the higher parts of Dog Mountain are covered in wildflowers, making for some great photo opportunities. If you’re looking for a Columbia River Gorge hike that has the views, this is your move.
The Triple Falls hike from Oneonta Gorge is scenic, great for beginners, and doesn’t have the big crowds that many other Columbia Gorge hikes have. The hike winds up above Oneonta Gorge, and you can look down on the raging creek as you hike on the trail above it. The Triple Falls hike can get crowded, but it’s no where near as crowded Multnomah Falls or Eagle Creek. And you get to see three waterfalls along the way!
The Punchbowl Falls hike is one of the most beautiful hikes in Colombia River Gorge. This hike has waterfalls, cliffs, and scenery straight out of the Lord of the Rings. It’s easy to understand how Punchbowl Falls is a local’s favorite, and is good for all levels of hikers.