Things to do in
Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge: Our most recommended tours and activities

From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

1. From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

Discover the scenic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge on a small group tour with an expert guide in a luxury passenger van. Explore Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, stopping at several picturesque waterfalls typical of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Depart from downtown Portland and drive towards Troutdale, known as the Gateway to the Gorge. Enjoy the journey along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. Arrive at Crown Point Vista House, an overlook that sits high above the Columbia River. From there, continue along the historic highway deep into the Columbia River National Scenic Area. Arrive at the first waterfall of the day, the dramatic Latourell Falls, which plunges 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt.  You'll also have the chance to visit an often overlooked gem, Horsetail Falls, directly off of the historic highway. Once at the base of these falls, it won't be difficult to see how it received its name.  Proceed next to the grand Multnomah Falls, which plummets to the ground from 620 feet in two major steps. Explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge and stand on the easily accessible viewing platform that offers a full view of the Benson Bridge and cascading falls beyond. Afterward, relax on the journey back to Portland via the Columbia River Gorge scenic route.

Portland: Mt. Hood Day Tour

2. Portland: Mt. Hood Day Tour

Your 8.5-hour trip begins early with a hotel pickup from downtown Portland. Embark on an exhilarating morning drive through the Columbia River Gorge. Catch spectacular views of the Cascade Mountains that flank the river and glimpse a waterfall or two. Along the forested highway, visit Oregon’s famous waterfall Multnomah Falls. Join your guide and fellow visitors on Benson Bridge and snap a picture of the 611-foot-tall cascade of water as it crashes below. Next, continue to Hood River, a picturesque valley town renowned as a prime destination for wind sports. Watch kiteboarders and windsurfers skate across the water as you learn about Hood River’s rich environmental and cultural history. Then take some free time for lunch, shopping or wine-tasting (if whimsy strikes you!). Then visit Rowena Crest which has spectacular views of the Columbia River Gorge. The final stop on your guided tour is the glorious Mount Hood, Oregon’s tallest peak at 11,249 feet (3,429 meters) and Timberline Lodge. Take a mountain walk or a self-guided visit through the renovated lodge that was once the setting for the classic film The Shining. Your day concludes back in Portland by early evening.

Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Morning Tour

3. Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Morning Tour

Millions of years ago, during the formation of the Cascade Mountain Range, lava and other pyroclastic matter flowed west from what would be the Cascades all the way to the Pacific Ocean, creating a thick shell of basalt rock that covered Western Oregon. Then, during the Pleistocene Ice Age, roughly 15,000 years ago, water from the Lake Missoula Flood carved out the Columbia River Gorge as hundreds of cubic miles of water, ice, rock and mud rushed from present-day Montana to the Pacific Ocean. Explore the beauty of the canyon walls and rock formations, breathtaking waterfalls and awe-inspiring visas that make the Columbia River National Scenic Area one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Our enthusiastic guides will introduce you to the most amazing places in the Gorge while providing a comprehensive narrative of this spectacular landscape and its transformative history. Your adventure will take place along the Historic Columbia River National Scenic Byway, where some of the locations we may stop include, Portland Women’s Forum, Crown Point Vista House, Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Shepperd’s Dell. Perched atop one of the most panoramic overlooks in the Columbia River Gorge, Vista House provides an unrivaled, majestic view. Often referred to as “The Crown Jewel of the Columbia River Gorge,” Vista House was built between 1916 and 1918 as a memorial to Oregon pioneers, a scenic viewpoint, and a comfort station for those traveling on the newly constructed Historic Columbia River Highway. Built with expertly carved sandstone and stunning marble, then finished with bronze lining and amber-green opalescent art glass windows, Vista House and the view it offers are sure to amaze and inspire you. Latourell Falls plunges 249 feet (76 m) over a massive wall of basalt and then rushes through the forest into the Columbia River. The falling water of Latourell is framed by some of the most perfect columnar basalt formations in the Pacific Northwest that are adorned with a large florescent patch of yellow lichen and shrouded in brilliant green flora. We’ll venture down to the punch-bowl pool below the falls, where you’ll hear the tremendous rush of water and feel the cool mist that it creates. You’ll easily realize why this special place is one of the most photographed waterfalls in Oregon. Multnomah Falls is fed by underground streams that originate miles above on Larch Mountain. This ancient 620 foot (189 m) waterfall is divided into two sections; the upper falls plummets an impressive 542 feet into a pool and again drops 69 feet to form a creek that runs into the Columbia River. Multnomah Falls is the second highest year-round waterfall in the United States and the highest in Oregon, and is Oregon’s number one natural attraction, drawing over 2.5 million visitors a year from around the world. At the base of the waterfall sits the Historic Multnomah Falls Lodge, a full-service day lodge complete with a restaurant, gift shop, snack and espresso bar.

Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Afternoon Tour

4. Portland: Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Afternoon Tour

Explore the beauty of these unique canyon walls and rock formations, encountering breathtaking waterfalls and awe-inspiring visas that make the Columbia River National Scenic Area one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon. Your enthusiastic guides will introduce you to the most amazing places in the gorge, while providing a comprehensive narrative of this spectacular landscape and its transformative history. Your adventure will take place along the Historic Columbia River National Scenic Highway, where some of the locations you may stop include the Portland Women’s Forum, the Crown Point Vista House, Latourell Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Shepperd’s Dell.

Portland: Mount Hood Wine and Waterfalls Full-Day Tour

5. Portland: Mount Hood Wine and Waterfalls Full-Day Tour

Enjoy a full-day tour of the beautiful landscapes of the wine-growing regions near Portland. Discover breathtaking sights like the Columbia Gorge and Multnomah Falls. Enjoy a mouth-watering lunch and a winetasting experience at a local winery.  Be picked at your accommodation in Portland and relax in comfort aboard a Mercedes Sprinter van as you travel through the verdant landscape of the Willamette Valley which is known for its hazelnuts, berries, evergreen trees, and Pinot Noir wine. Ride into the foothills of the western Cascades and ascend to the tree line on Mount Hood, the highest peak in Oregon. Spend an hour at the historic Timberline Lodge, built by local artisans during the Great Depression.  Explore the interpretive displays, go hiking, or play in the snow, before heading thorugh the Hood River Valley to a picturesque winery. Eat a farm-to-table lunch while enjoying a wine tasting at a boutique vineyard with a view of Mount Hood.  Learn about wine production in the region and visit 1 other winery in the Columbia Gorge or Columbia Valley areas. Travel through the Columbia Gorge and admire the towering basalt cliffs, before stopping for half and hour at Multnomah Falls. Have time to walk up to the Benson Bridge, visit the interpretive center, or peruse the gift shop. Afterward, head back to Portland to be dropped off at your hotel.

From Portland: 7 Wonders of the Gorge Jetboat Cruise

6. From Portland: 7 Wonders of the Gorge Jetboat Cruise

Discover the lower Columbia River Gorge from the water on a roundtrip jetboat cruise from Portland. Travel at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour as you journey along the Willamette River and the mighty Columbia River toward Multnomah Falls. Marvel at views of the city and surrounding countryside as you make your way to Multnomah Falls. Board your explorer cruise from a private dock in Portland and set out on your outdoor adventure. Enjoy sights like Cape Horn, Crown Point, Rooster Rock, Mount Hood, and much more, with a live guide narrating your journey. Your adventure cruise comes to an end back where it began, at the dock on the Willamette River.

Portland: Scenic Self-Guided E-Bike Tour at Multnomah Falls

7. Portland: Scenic Self-Guided E-Bike Tour at Multnomah Falls

This 2-hour guided E-bike tour provides you with bike rental to enjoy the scenic waterfall corridor including Multnomah Falls, the most visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest, along with our experienced tour guide. Take part in this popular option, which allows you to experience the highlights of the route at a nice pace. Ride 2 miles of sweeping Columbia Gorge Views to Horsetail Falls, which is a perfect place to dip your feet in. For a unique experience, hike to Ponytail Falls and stand behind the base of the falls. Optionally, walk 2.5 miles roundtrip to Oneonta Gorge. Explore 7 waterfalls and do several short hikes.

Multnomah Falls & Columbia River Gorge Tour with Gray Line

8. Multnomah Falls & Columbia River Gorge Tour with Gray Line

Escape the hustle and bustle of central Portland for the morning on a half-day coach tour of the Columbia River Gorge. Experience the natural beauty of the Rose City’s most scenic area. Follow the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, more than 200 years after the famous explorers. View the gorge from Vista House at Crown Point, and marvel at the world famous Multnomah Falls. Depart Portland at 09:00 AM, enjoying the downtown sights as you leave the city via one of its many bridges. Once out of the metropolitan area, drive the historic Columbia River Highway, enjoying panoramic views hundreds of feet above the river at Crown Point. Descend through the famous highway loops to pristine Latourell Falls. Continue past Wahkeena Falls to Oregon’s most famous natural attraction — Multnomah Falls and Lodge. Return to Portland along the river level route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, taking in panoramic views of Beacon Rock, Cape Horn, and Rooster Rock along the way.

From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls and Mt. Hood Tour

9. From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls and Mt. Hood Tour

Explore the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood National Forest on board a luxury passenger van. Enjoy picturesque Pacific Northwest scenery on well-maintained trails with an expert guide. Depart from downtown Portland and drive towards Troutdale, known as the Gateway to the Gorge. Enjoy the journey along the Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States. Arrive at Crown Point Vista House, an overlook that sits high above the Columbia River. From here, go deeper into the Columbia River National Scenic Area to the first waterfall for the day, the dramatic Latourell Falls. This waterfall plunges 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt. Depending on the season, a short walk will take you closer to the falls. Proceed next to the grand Multnomah Falls, which plummets to the ground from 620 feet in two major steps. Explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge and stand on the easily accessible viewing platform that offers a full view of the Benson Bridge and cascading falls beyond. Next up is Hood River, known as the "Windsurfing Capital of the World", where you can explore and grab some lunch. After, set out heading south, through the Fruit Loop orchards and lavender farms. If time permits, you may even make a brief stop at one of the farm stands. Then, climb about 6,000 feet in elevation to Timberline Lodge. This National Historic Landmark sits proudly against Oregon’s highest peak, Mount Hood. Take a walking tour at the lodge and enjoy the Cascade Mountain Range views from the lodge’s patios, before a relaxing journey back to Portland.

Portland City + Waterfall Combo: A full day of sightseeing

10. Portland City + Waterfall Combo: A full day of sightseeing

**FIRST:** Embark on a captivating journey through the heart of Portland with a sightseeing tour that showcases the best of this dynamic city. From the bustling streets of downtown to lush and groovy neighborhoods on the east side, this tour is a perfect blend of urban exploration and natural beauty. As you drive through historic districts, including Old Town, the Pearl, the Cultural District, and the Government District, your knowledgeable guide will provide fascinating commentary on "Stumptown's" evolution from a dense forest, to wild western town, to the lively tourist destination it is today. One of the highlights of the tour is a visit to the historic Pittock Mansion, where you can wander the beautiful grounds and catch a breathtaking view of Mt. Hood. Another not-to-be-missed stop is the International Rose Test Garden, home to over 300 varieties of roses, offering a sensory experience unlike any other. The tour also includes a crossing of Portland's iconic truss bridge, providing stunning views of the river. Then we'll whisk you through the city's east side neighborhoods, from historic to up-and-coming, a testament to Portland's rich history, architectural diversity, and continual evolution. **NEXT:** You will have a 30-minute break for lunch (paid separately), at a popular downtown Portland deli. (Or bring a sack lunch and eat in the park.) **THEN:** Join us along a historic highway that stands as a testament to artisanal craftsmanship and engineering ingenuity. Prepare to be captivated by the breathtaking landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge, where natural beauty and human achievement merge seamlessly. Your adventure includes a stop at Women’s Forum Park, where you can marvel at the picturesque view and delve into the enchanting history of this special place. Next, we’ll visit the iconic Vista House on Crown Point, with distinct architecture housing a gift shop filled with local treasures, and featuring two levels of panoramic views. Experience the awe-inspiring Multnomah Falls, where a trio of cascades (two visible from the ground) invites you to feel the mist on your skin as you cross a stone bridge for an unforgettable view of Oregon's "Rhine Valley." Discover the rustic charm of a historic inn, gift shop, and visitor center, nestled in the old growth trees near these cascades. A serene walk through lush forests leads you to Latourell Falls, where water plunges past a backdrop of cloud and columnar basalt in a stunning display of nature's power. Depending on our schedule, we'll explore one to two additional waterfalls, each showcasing its unique character, from the vigorous lash of a horse tail to the gentle spread of a bridal veil. Throughout this journey, your knowledgeable tour guide will enrich your experience with accounts, legends, and insights into the region's history and natural wonders. This tour promises not only visual delights but also a deeper connection to the majestic landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge.

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What people are saying about Columbia River Gorge

Overall rating

4.8
(380 reviews)

The tour of the waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge in Oregon is a breathtaking and unforgettable experience that immerses you in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Our tour guide, David, was knowledgeable and passionate about the area, providing fascinating insights into the geology, history, and wildlife of the Columbia River Gorge. The paths at the falls are well-maintained and offer an easy walks. Overall, the tour of the waterfalls at Columbia River Gorge is a must-do for anyone visiting Oregon. It's a truly magical experience that will leave you in awe of the natural wonders that this region has to offer.

Fantastic experience! The very funny and knowledgeable guide told us the history of the area and all the curiosities! Very Very interesting and he also spoke Italian, the beautiful waterfalls were truly wonderful! Definitely worth going!!

Our guide, Eric was super knowledgeable, kind and professional. He did just the right amount of talking and quiet time to enjoy the trip. This was the highlight of our trip to Portland. Thank you, Eric.

Best thing I did during my visit to Oregon! Johan was very knowledgeable and thoughtful. I strongly urge anyone to go on this tour.

Damon was awesome! Super knowledgeable and helpful. Highly recommend. Also the tour was amazing. Stunning waterfalls.