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.

Image: Courtesy Shutterstock/ESB Professional

In This Feature:

Where to Stay in the Columbia River Gorge

Adventure begins (and ends) at these hotels, inns, and B&Bs.

05/25/2012 By Kasey Cordell Edited by Ramona DeNies

Where to Hike in the Columbia River Gorge

The less-traveled path often yields the most spectacular vistas.

05/25/2012 By Kasey Cordell Edited by Ramona DeNies

Where to Eat in the Columbia River Gorge

Rest assured that beer, burgers, coffee, and pizza are readily available to hungry Gorge explorers.

05/25/2012 By Kasey Cordell Edited by Ramona DeNies

Wineries Worth Visiting in the Columbia River Gorge

A panoramic view is even better with a fine wine to accompany it.

05/25/2012 By Kasey Cordell Edited by Ramona DeNies

Take a Fall Wine Trek through the Columbia Gorge

The hills near Lyle, Washington, offer up rich vino and stunning views.

09/13/2016 By Julie Whipple

An Apple Picking Trip in Oregon’s Hood River Valley

The upside of autumn chill? Harvest time in Parkdale and beyond.

09/13/2016 By Ramona DeNies

How’d the Gorge Get There?

We chart the geologic evolution of the Columbia River Gorge. This may take a while.

05/25/2012 Edited by Kasey Cordell

How John Yeon Shaped the Columbia River Gorge

One visionary Portland architect used bulldozers, Ming china, and political chutzpah to create a stunning personal landscape—and save the Gorge as we know it.

05/24/2012 By Randy Gragg