Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge is an area of immense beauty. Steep walls of basalt and temperature rainforests frame the wide waters of the Columbia River. If you like waterfalls, great news! The gorge is absolutely packed with waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, the second tallest year-round waterfall in the United States.

Multnomah Falls Columbia River Gorge
Multnomah Falls

Hikes in Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge is about 60 miles long, beginning near The Dalles where the Deschutes River joins the Columbia River and ending east of Portland.

The north side of Columbia River Gorge is in Washington and the south side of the gorge is in Oregon. This state-straddling gorge is preserved by several Washington and Oregon State Parks as well as Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which encompasses 292,500 acres.

Popular hikes on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge include Multnomah Falls Trail, Eagle Creek Trail, and Angel’s Rest Trail. The area’s less well-known trails are great too, often observing spectacular waterfalls.

How did this beautiful place come to be?

Columbia River Gorge was shaped during the Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age over 12 million years ago. Ice dams breached on enormous glacial lakes, causing unfathomable amounts of water to rush down the Columbia River and carve out the landscape.

Columbia River Gorge Vista House
A view of Columbia River Gorge from Vista House

Columbia River Gorge Hiking

This collection of trails in Columbia River Gorge lists hikes from east to west. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with photos, GPS maps, directions, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes. An interactive map below the table shows the location of each hike.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Deschutes River Trail100River Trail Loop
This hike in Deschutes River State Recreation Area explores views from the water's edge and a grassy terrace that borders the bottom of the Deschutes River before it meets the Columbia River.
3.1 miles
115 feet
45.6293,
-120.9080
Catherine Creek Arch150Catherine Creek Arch
This hike leads to the base of a curious natural arch in a basalt bluff.
1 mile
100 feet
45.7105,
-121.3621
Coyote Wall Hike160Catherine Creek Interpretive Trail
This paved loop with gorge views explores meadows that burst with seasonal wildflowers, passing an overlook for a small waterfall.
0.9 miles
100 feet
45.71041,
-121.36165
Coyote Wall Hike170Coyote Wall
This partial loop hike has panoramic views from basalt cliffs on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
5.8 miles
1575 feet
45.7006,
-121.4012
Mosier Twin Tunnels Hike180Mosier Twin Tunnels via Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail
This hike ventures up a paved trail on a century old roadway to a pair of tunnels carved into basalt cliffs on the side of Columbia River Gorge.
2 - 9.5 miles
320 feet
45.68,
-121.409
Hood River Pipeline Trail182Hood River Pipeline Trail
This easy and enticing river hike follows a catwalk atop a penstock flume pipeline.
2.8 miles
100 feet
45.70386,
-121.5061
Dog Mountain Hike185Dog Mountain
This hike explores forests, wildflower-covered slopes, and grand views from the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.
6.65 - 7.4 miles
2825 feet
45.6992,
-121.7080
Eagle Creek Trail Punchbowl Falls195Eagle Creek Trail
This hike ventures up a beautiful and dramatic canyon to impressive waterfalls like Metlako Falls, Lower Punchbowl Falls, and Punchbowl Falls.
4.55 miles
400 feet
45.6368,
-121.9196
Wahclella Falls200Wahclella Falls
This hike visits a sublime waterfall in a canyon within the Columbia River Gorge.
2 miles
250 feet
45.630463,
-121.953758
Hamilton Mountain Trail203Hamilton Mountain
The beautiful lollipop loop visits bombastic waterfalls and panoramic cliffs on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge in Beacon Rock State Park.
7.75 miles
2025 feet
45.6326,
-122.0198
Beacon Rock Trail204Beacon Rock Trail
This hike takes an impressively engineered trail packed with switchbacks that scale a monolith along the Columbia River in Beacon Rock State Park, Washington.
1.6 miles
600 feet
45.62854,
-122.02222
Ponytail Falls207Horsetail Falls Trail - Oneonta Trail Loop
This loop starts at Horsetail Falls, passes beneath an overhang behind Ponytail Falls, and crosses a bridge by Middle Oneonta Falls to hit three waterfalls and viewpoints looking out over the Columbia River Gorge.
2.85 miles
325 feet
45.5903,
-122.06833
Lower Oneonta Falls210Lower Oneonta Falls in Oneonta Gorge
This off-trail trek follows Oneonta Creek between the tall, mossy cliffs of a wild and beautiful gorge to the base of an enchanting 100-foot waterfall.
0.8 miles
25 feet
45.589485,
-122.07558
Multnomah Falls220Multnomah Falls
This out and back hike visits Oregon’s tallest (and probably most seen) waterfall, located in Columbia River Gorge east of Portland.
0.2 to 2.6 miles
25 feet to 725 feet
45.5777,
-122.1173
Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop222Multnomah-Wahkeena Loop
This loop uses Wahkeena Trail and Larch Mountain Trail to visit six glorious waterfalls (including Wahkeena Falls and Multnomah Falls) as well as fine cascades along Wahkeena Creek and Multnomah Creek in beautiful canyons off Columbia River Gorge.
6.05 miles
1525 feet
45.5777,
-122.1173
Angels Rest226Angel's Rest
This hike ascends to a panoramic landing with spectacular views across Columbia River Gorge (particularly at sunrise).
4.8 miles
1500 feet
45.5605,
-122.17245
Latourell Falls230Latourell Falls Trail
This loop explores a canyon with two beautiful waterfalls, attaining great views of both.
2.3 miles
475 feet
45.53865,
-122.218

Columbia River Gorge Attractions

Visitors have other ways to enjoy Columbia River Gorge.

Vista HouseVista House
This iconic Oregon viewpoint is a National Natural Landmark with tremendous no-hiking-required views of Columbia River Gorge.

 

Columbia River Gorge Camping

Visitors can stay overnight in Columbia River Gorge.

Beacon Rock State Park CampgroundBeacon Rock State Park
The main campground in this state park on the Washington side of the gorge has 26 first-come first-serve campsites in a forest setting.
Deschutes River CampgroundDeschutes River SRA Campground
Just east of the Columbia River Gorge, this campground at the bottom of the Deschutes River has 34 sites with electrical hookups, 25 more primitive sites, and 4 group sites.

 

hikespeak
Pipeline Trail Hood River Oregon Penstock Flume Hike Columbia River Gorge Powerdale Corridor
Most of the trails in Columbia River Gorge lead to big waterfalls or big views, but one of these trails is not like the others. The Pipeline Trail near downtown Hood River has a hiking experience that could very well be a one-of-a-kind. This route exchanges the average dirt trail for a catwalk built on top of a penstock pipeline. That catwalk stands a dozen feet off the ground and whisks... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hood River · Ruins
Distance: 2.8 miles · Elevation change: 100 feet
By: Published: Last updated: September 13, 2018
Camassia Natural Area Loop Trail West Linn Wildflower Hike Camas Lilies Portland Oregon
Camassia Natural Area contains something special – one of the best wildflower displays in the greater Portland area. From April to May, the grassy plateaus in this 27-acre preserve boasts beautiful purples, blues, pinks and yellows created by Camas lilies, blue-eyed Mary, rosy plectritis, and buttercups (as well as other flowers). Explore this West Linn jewel on an easy 0.8-mile loop... Read more.
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Tagged with · Camassia Natural Area · Free Trails · The Nature Conservancy · West Linn · Wildflowers
Distance: 0.8 miles · Elevation change: 70 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 4, 2018
Scouters Mountain Nature Park Hike Portland Mount Hood View Happy Valley Boomer Trail Scouters Mountain Shelter
Searching for a short hike in the Portland area? Scouters Mountain Nature Park in Happy Valley makes a worthwhile destination for a 1.2-mile hike. Explore a forested cinder cone east of Portland, plotting your way through tall firs to a summit clearing with a direct sight of Mount Hood. If you work up an appetite, picnic under a pavilion at the top of Scouters Mountain. Abundant shade makes... Read more.
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Tagged with · Cinder Cones · Free Trails · Happey Valley
Distance: 1.2 miles · Elevation change: 180 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 4, 2018
Canemah Bluff Nature Park Oregon City Hike Camas Springs Trail Canemah Bluff Hike Willamette Falls Portland Oregon
What's so appealing about Canemah Bluff Nature Park in Oregon City? Start with fields of spring wildflowers and views of Willamette Falls. Then add ferny forests and a historical cemetery to give visitors plenty of reasons to take this 1.7-mile hike. In April and early May, Camas lilies steal the show at Canemah Bluff Nature Park, providing pops of purple to a meadow on a landing above the... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Oregon City · Willamette River
Distance: 1.7 miles · Elevation change: 165 feet
By: Published: Last updated: August 4, 2018
Camping Deschutes River State Recreation Area Campground Columbia River Tent RV camp Oregon
Deschutes River State Recreation Area is located east of The Dalles, Oregon (where spring arrives earlier than it does in areas west of the Columbia River Gorge). Bordering the Deschutes River beside its meeting with the Columbia River, the park's grassy and shaded campground is a relaxing place to stay. This 63-site campground (with 34 sites with electrical hookups, 25 more primitive sites,... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: June 24, 2018