Some 30 years ago, the jaw-dropping canyon corridor known as the Columbia River Gorge earned protection as one of America’s first National Scenic Areas. That historic designation is why, today, accessible wonders dot the 80 river-hugging miles between Gresham and Goldendale. From the trail networks near Multnomah Falls to pristine rafting along the Klickitat and White Salmon Rivers, the Gorge is a nature lover’s paradise. Its protected status benefits local communities, too: from a thriving outdoor recreation industry to rich cultures in wine, cider, craft beer, and agriculture. Yes, two million visitors might seem like a lot. But as our guide makes clear, there’s room for all in a landscape this vast: to marvel at the foot of a hidden waterfall, taste the terroir in a glass of grenache, and bask in sunsets mirrored in the calm eddies of the West’s most powerful waterway.
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