Explore Small Cities & Towns in Washington’s Gorge Region
Nestled throughout the Columbia River Gorge, these small towns offer everything from outdoor recreation to quirky sightseeing.
Get to know some of the small cities and towns in each region, from hamlets of 100 to those with up to around 10,000 residents. These destinations offer visitors a more laid-back alternative to bustling cities. Read on to find out why these small towns are worth exploring.
This tiny town in the Columbia River Gorge makes a great gateway for many recreational activities, from windsurfing, hiking, and kayaking to mountain biking and fishing. After a day of exploration, visitors can indulge in a meal or glass of wine at one of the local restaurants or wineries.
Situated on a plateau 13 miles north of the Columbia River, Goldendale was once a watering hole for Oregon Trail pioneers. Today, turkey and deer hunters survey the public lands along the Klickitat River, and fishermen cast their lines for king, coho, steelhead, and rainbow trout. Goldendale Observatory State Park, with one of the nation’s largest public telescopes, is a must for stargazers.
No need to do a double take. Tiny Maryhill — fewer than 100 Washingtonians call this place home — does indeed sport a life-size replica of Stonehenge at the Maryhill Museum of Art. Fashioned after the original Neolithic monument, the modern-day version is made from concrete, wood, and crumpled tin and was dedicated in 1918 as a World War I memorial.
From 1976 to 1978, the entire town of North Bonneville — 400 residents at the time — relocated to make way for a new powerhouse. Today, this community is a popular stop on Highway 14 for windsurfing on the Columbia River and an abundance of hikes. North Bonneville is also conveniently located next to the Bonneville Lock & Dam, where two visitor centers offer travelers the chance to learn more about this historic dam.
This riverfront town in the heart of the Gorge Region is a perfect base for outdoor exploration. Drop by the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum to trace the history of the region and its First Peoples, or visit Columbia Hills Historical State Park, home to a serene lake, rock climbing, and a significant group of Native American pictographs and petroglyphs. After a long day of adventure, dig into Stevenson’s local dining and craft beverage scene, where visitors can find everything from beer and wine to cider.
While orchards, alpaca farms, and logging mills dot White Salmon, it’s the town’s easy access to the Gorge and Gifford Pinchot National Forest that make it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Rafters can charge through the White Salmon River’s rapids, windsurfers and parasailers can catch a breeze, and hikers can explore the chilly ice caves carved from ancient lava flows.