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Bonneville Dam

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

Bonneville Dam, Cascade Locks, OR 97014, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Make sure to visit the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area during the weekday mornings when the crowds are thinner and the waterfalls are more serene. Locals know that hiking up to viewpoints like Angel's Rest around sunrise offers not only fewer people but also breathtaking lighting for photography."

What is Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area?

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a breathtaking and historic canyon of the Columbia River, which forms the boundary between the states of Oregon and Washington. This natural wonder extends for over 80 miles and reaches depths of up to 4,000 feet. Renowned for its spectacular vistas, cascading waterfalls, and diverse ecosystem, it's a treasure trove for adventurers, nature lovers, and photographers alike. The area encompasses an expansive network of trails, wild rivers, and quiet wilderness, inviting you to explore its beauty on foot, by car, or even by boat.

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History of Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

The rich tapestry of the Columbia River Gorge's history is as varied as its landscape. For over 13,000 years, it has been home to Native American tribes, like the Chinook, Wasco, and Wishram, who thrived on the abundant resources of the land and river. The Gorge gained historical prominence as a segment of the Lewis and Clark Expedition's route in 1805-1806. The construction of the Historic Columbia River Highway in the early 20th century allowed for greater access and heralded the beginning of the area's tourism. It was designated a National Scenic Area in 1986 to protect its unique characteristics and to manage its use so that future generations could also enjoy and benefit from its splendor.

Why is Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Important?

The importance of the Columbia River Gorge is manifold. Ecologically, it is significant due to its high concentration of waterfalls and unique geological structures that support a myriad of plant and animal life. It's a vital corridor for anadromous fish species, such as salmon and steelhead, which use the river to migrate. Culturally, it has served as a critical trade and travel route for the Native American inhabitants and today symbolizes the challenges of balancing conservation with human use. Recreationally, its importance lies in its variety of activities available to visitors, from hiking and fishing to windsurfing and wine tasting, providing something for everyone to connect with the natural world.

Things to Do & See at Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

In the Columbia River Gorge, there's no shortage of activities and sights to capture your heart. You can hike the iconic trails that lead to stunning views like those found at Multnomah Falls, one of the tallest waterfalls in the United States. History buffs can travel the Historic Columbia River Highway to see architectural marvels and stop at the many overlooks for panoramic views of the gorge. For the more adventurous souls, the windy conditions near Hood River make it a world-renowned spot for windsurfing and kiteboarding.

And let's not forget, the gorge is a haven for wine connoisseurs, with vineyards and wineries that offer tastings with a view. If you prefer a more tranquil pastime, the area's various ecological zones are ripe for bird-watching and wildflower spotting, especially during the spring bloom. No matter what season it is, the Gorge offers a dynamic and enriching experience that can be both invigorating and restful.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area?

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a spectacular river canyon spanning the border between the states of Oregon and Washington. It's known for its breathtaking views, numerous waterfalls, including the famous Multnomah Falls, and its diverse outdoor recreation opportunities.

How do I get to Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area from Portland?

From Portland, you can drive to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area by taking the I-84 East. It is approximately a 30-minute drive to reach the beginning of the scenic area.

What are the best hikes in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area?

Some of the best hikes in the Columbia River Gorge include the Eagle Creek Trail, the Angel's Rest Trail, and the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Each offers unique views and experiences of the Gorge's natural beauty.

Can I visit Multnomah Falls without a reservation?

As of my last update, you do not need a reservation to visit Multnomah Falls. However, parking is limited and it can get very busy during peak tourist seasons, so it's best to arrive early or consider alternative transportation options.

What activities are available at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area?

Visitors to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area can enjoy activities such as hiking, biking, fishing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding. The area is also great for photography and sightseeing, especially with its numerous waterfalls and viewpoints along the Gorge.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

Bonneville Dam, Cascade Locks, OR 97014, USA

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps