Columbia River Gorge - Fun Things to Do on the Oregon Side

Recommended Activities and Attractions

People come from around the world to enjoy the spectacular beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. You'll find many of the Gorge's most popular attractions on the Oregon side of the river. Major population centers, where you can access a selection of lodging and dining options, are Troutdale, Hood River, and The Dalles. Here are my recommendations for fun things to see and do on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge.
  • 01 of 08
    Columbia River Gorge View from Chanticleer Point (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• Columbia River Gorge View from Chanticleer Point. Columbia River Gorge View from Chanticleer Point
    The Historic Columbia River Highway, now a 20-mile stretch of US Highway 30, was one of the first American roads specifically built for scenic auto touring. Opened to the public in 1915, this unique highway is loaded with enchanting stonework railings and bridges, which accent the grand waterfalls and Columbia River views as you drive through lush green forest. Along the way there are multiple places to stop and enjoy the view along with a picnic or a stroll. If you're feeling energetic, spend time on one or more of the numerous hiking trails that will take you past creeks and waterfalls.
  • 02 of 08

    Parks & Outdoor Activities

    The Columbia River Gorge is famous for its windsurfing conditions as well as for it's stunning beauty. Nature lovers will find plenty to appreciate, from grand waterfalls to lush forests to spring wildflowers to watchable wildlife. All of this can be enjoyed on a hike or paddle. Visitors looking for a thrill can enjoy kite sailing, rock climbing, and mountain biking.
  • 03 of 08
    Vista House (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• Vista House. Vista House
    Situated at one of the most spectacular viewpoints along the Columbia River Gorge, the charming Vista House offers visitors information, interpretive exhibits, a gift shop, a snack bar, and restrooms. You can wander the grounds or climb to the roof to take in the scenery in all directions.
  • 04 of 08
    Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum (Angela M. Brown)
    ••• Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum. Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum
    Located at the east end of the Columbia River Gorge in The Dalles, this fun museum features local history and nature topics. The Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Corps' activity in the region are well covered. The interesting geology of the Gorge, including the impact of the Ice Age Floods, are explained both through exhibits and in film. Native Americans, the Oregon Trail and the pioneer era, and regional flora and fauna are among the other things you can learn about during your visit to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum.
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    The Bonneville Dam visitor center on the Oregon side of the river houses exhibits along with an observation area to take in Columbia River views. During your visit you can also watch activity on the fish ladder, take a guided powerhouse tour, or take in a film at the visitor center theater. Nature trails, river access, and picnicking are also available in the park area.
  • 06 of 08
    One of the Northwest's many great microbreweries, Full Sail Brewing Co. is located in the windsurfing mecca of Hood River, Oregon. Visitors can enjoy a free tour of the brewery during afternoons. After your tour, you can enjoy Full Sail's brews and food at the on-site Tasting Room and Pub.
  • 07 of 08
    The Oregon-side visitor center, just east of the town of The Dalles, is where you can learn about the construction and operations of The Dalles Lock and Dam. During your visit you'll want to spend time watching the fish ladders, observing the navigational lock activity, or enjoying water recreation on Lake Celilo, the reservoir behind The Dalles Dam.
  • 08 of 08
    Scenic sightseeing, dinner, and brunch cruises are available on this grand and colorful paddle wheeler. Columbia River Gorge cruises are available May through October and board at Marine Park at Cascade Locks. From your river point of view, you'll be able to take in the full length of the Columbia River Gorge National Recreation Area and such landmarks as Multnomah Falls, Beacon Rock, and Bonneville Dam.