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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|Triple Falls Hike||3.3||730||Easy||Leashed|
|Punchbowl Falls Hike||3.4||580||Easy||Leashed|
|Dog Mountain Hike||6.2||3470||Hard||Leashed|
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. 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.
The Dog Mountain hike isn’t easy, but it has the best panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge and Cascades high peaks. It’s also a great hike to avoid the crowds that you’d encounter on easier Columbia River Gorge hikes.