Father and daughter hiking on a gravel forest path

Washington Gorge Hikes, Attractions, Activities & More

Nestled along the Columbia River Gorge lies a gem hiding in plain sight, ready for you to explore—the Washington state side. While Oregon’s side of the river tends to get all the glory, there are just as many awesome sights to behold to the north, with the added perk of an untouched feel and fewer crowds.

Columbia Gorge Flowers at sunset

Washington Gorge Hikes

Embrace the call of the wild with a journey through the enchanting trails of the Washington Gorge. This hiking paradise caters to adventurers of all skill levels, offering paths that range from serene walks through verdant forests to exhilarating climbs that reward with panoramic views. Step onto the Beacon Rock Trail for a moderate hike that presents an awe-inspiring overview of the Gorge, or challenge yourself with the steep ascents of Dog Mountain, where springtime wildflower displays have become a mecca for nature lovers.

For a day filled with diverse landscapes, the Cape Horn Loop enchants with its majestic waterfalls, sweeping vistas, and tranquil woodlands. Each trail invites you to immerse in the beauty Washington has to offer, creating unforgettable moments in the embrace of nature. So lace up your hiking boots and prepare for an adventure that will leave you yearning for more of the Gorge’s hidden wonders.

Favorite Washington Gorge hikes:

Beacon Rock Trail
Dog Mountain
Cape Horn Loop

Kite boarder in the water

Water Activities in the Columbia River Gorge

Dive into the exhilarating world of water sports available in the Columbia River Gorge. This natural playground is renowned for its perfect blend of scenic beauty and ideal conditions for a variety of water-based adventures. Whether you’re looking to catch the wind in your sails with an afternoon of windsurfing, navigate the thrilling rapids on a rafting excursion, or glide peacefully in a kayak along the river’s calmer stretches, the gorge serves as the ultimate backdrop for your aquatic endeavors.

Beginners can find guided tours and lessons to help get their feet wet (literally), while experts can challenge themselves against the Gorge’s dynamic waters. The river’s expansive waterscapes are not only a haven for adventure but also a picturesque setting for anyone wishing to explore the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge from a unique perspective.

Favorite kitesurfing/kiteboarding spot: The Lyle sandbar, where the Klickitat River meets the Columbia.
Favorite stand up paddleboarding (SUP) spot: Doug’s Beach State Park
Favorite white water rafting spot: White Salmon river

View of the Gorge and Mt. Hood in the distance

Most Romantic Viewpoints & Sights in the Gorge

There’s a reason why the Columbia River Gorge is such a popular backdrop to pop the question. This majestic setting offers a variety of secluded spots and breathtaking perches ideal for a romantic outing. Imagine standing hand in hand at the edge of the earth, where the vastness of the Gorge unfolds beneath a canopy of twinkling stars. Or, picture a serene picnic amidst lush meadows after an invigorating waterfall hike.

Perhaps you prefer a scenic drive. Heading east or west along Hwy 14 reveals a tapestry of stunning vistas that rival, if not exceed, the experience of Oregon’s Historic Columbia River Highway to the south. The many enchanting viewpoints and sights serve as the perfect setting to savor the serene beauty of the Gorge with someone special by your side.

Favorite Romantic Spots:

Beacon Rock
Three Corners Rock
Lower Falls (further north but worth the drive)

Father and daughter hiking on a gravel forest path

Things to Do with Kids in the Columbia Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a literal playground for families, offering an array of kid-friendly activities that promise both fun and learning in nature’s classroom. Plan for a day of discovery, starting at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, where curious minds can marvel at the life cycle of fish, perhaps catching the sight of a massive sturgeon.

Embark on a scenic drive through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, where each turn reveals a new wonder, from towering trees to hidden waterfalls. The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum offers a treasure trove of regional history and science, engaging children with interactive exhibits that bring the past and natural world to life. For a touch of whimsy and outdoor joy, venture into the Skamania Lodge’s Aerial Park, where families can navigate through the treetops on ropes courses suited for various ages and skill levels. Each of these destinations provides a unique opportunity to connect, learn, and create lasting memories amidst the breathtaking backdrop of the Columbia River Gorge.

Favorite kid-friendly stops:

Bonneville Fish Hatchery
Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum
Skamania Lodge Aerial Park

Find more things to do in the area.

Columbia Gorge Restaurants in Washington

Along Washington’s slice of the Columbia Gorge, there is plenty to satiate the appetite thanks to the region’s rich culinary scene. Experience the diverse flavors of the region all in a day or over a week—explore quaint bistros nestled in the heart of small towns and upscale dining experiences with breathtaking views of the river.

Local chefs pride themselves on using fresh, locally sourced ingredients to craft dishes as delightful to the palate as the landscapes are to the eye. In the land where brewing and winemaking thrive, pair your meal with a locally produced beer or wine for the perfect capstone to a day of exploration and discovery.

Favorite places for food & drink:

Everybody’s Brewing
Feast Market & Delicatessen
White Salmon Baking Co.
Soca Wine Bar

Check out all nearby restaurants

Columbia Gorge Wine Tasting & Breweries

Embark on a flavorful journey through the rolling hills and lush landscapes with a delightful wine tasting adventure. The fertile soils and favorable climate nurture vineyards that produce some of Washington’s most celebrated wines. From intimate family-owned estates to larger, innovative producers, each offers a unique glimpse into the world of Washington winemaking.

Don’t miss out on the craft breweries dotting the area, where artisanal beers reflect the innovative spirit of the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon sipping on fine wines or hoppy brews amidst the breathtaking beauty of the Gorge, making for an unforgettable experience that perfectly blends the joys of nature with the art of fermentation.

Favorite Gorge wineries & breweries:

Le Doubblé Troubblé Wine
Maryhill Winery
Syncline Wine Cellars
Everybody’s Brewing
Backwoods Brewing

See all the wineries and breweries in the area.

The Washington state side of the Columbia River Gorge is a treasure trove of adventures waiting to be discovered—from breathtaking hikes to a vibrant culinary tradition. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, history buff, foodie, or simply in search of a peaceful retreat in nature, the Washington Gorge presents an inviting and varied landscape that promises enriching experiences and lasting memories. It’s not just a visit; it’s an adventure.

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