Things to Do in the Columbia River Gorge

Located on the Washington-Oregon border, the Columbia River Gorge brims with natural beauty, recreational opportunities and unique cultural attractions.

Read on to discover just a few things to do near Washington’s Columbia River Gorge.

Stargaze at Goldendale Observatory State Park.

Gaze into the cosmos using one of the nation’s largest public telescopes at Goldendale Observatory State Park. See solar flares or sunspots during the day and constellations and planets at night.

View a replica of Stonehenge.

Stop near the Maryhill Museum of Art for a neolithic surprise—a replica of Stonehenge. This memorial is actually a World War I monument built in 1918 and made from reinforced concrete, wood. and crumpled tin.

Investigate Washington ice caves.

At the Gifford Pinchot National Forest’s Ice Caves, ancient lava flows from Mount Adams have left a maze of icy stalactites and stalagmites in their wake. Pioneers used to chip away the ice and cart it off for refrigeration. Today, intrepid in-cave explorations require warm clothes and a flashlight.

Hike Dog Mountain.

Farther west on Highway 14, take either of the two hiking loops on Dog Mountain to see stunning views of the Gorge, Mount St. Helens and Mount Hood. Visit in spring for a riot of colorful wildflowers.

Soak in Washington hot springs.

Get pampered circa 1930 at Carson Hot Springs Spa. Mineral water is pumped straight from the Wind River riverbed into antique clawfoot tubs.

Sip a craft brew.

Walking Man Brewing serves craft beer and pub fare in Stevenson. Be sure to try the award-winning High Road Scotch Ale and the rich, fruity black cherry stout. Don’t worry if you’re the designated driver—just take home a 64-ounce growler of beer to taste later.

Climb an ancient volcano.

Back on Highway 14, the 848-foot-tall Beacon Rock is a basalt column that was once at the core of an ancient volcano. Hike up the switchback-laced (but still relatively easy) trail to see splendid views of the Columbia River Gorge from the top.

Follow Lewis and Clark.

Lewis and Clark camped on Cottonwood Beach, now known as the Captain William Clark Park in Washougal, for six days in 1806. Learn more about their expedition at this interpretive site, which features signs detailing their historic trip and replicas of Chinookan canoes.

Admire the oldest apple tree in the Pacific Northwest.

End your trip along Highway 14 in Vancouver at Old Apple Tree Park, where the beloved tree was planted in 1826 and is celebrated every October with a cider pressing.

Learn more about Washington's Gorge region.

About the Author

Angela Cabotaje