The Breathtaking Columbia River Gorge: 7 Day Itinerary

Travel advisor Tammy Kiefer smiling in a restaurant.
Curated By

Tammy Kiefer

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  • Oregon

  • USA

  • Adventure Travel

  • Active Travel

  • Nature Escapes

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

  • Hiking

  • Waterfall

green landscape with waterfall and bridge columbia river gorge oregon
Curator’s statement

Welcome to the Breathtaking Columbia River Gorge, one of the most stunning natural wonders in the Pacific Northwest. Spanning 292,500 acres of magnificent beauty, the Columbia River Gorge is a must-visit destination for nature-lovers, adventure-seekers, and everyone in between. From serene waterfalls to jaw-dropping vistas, this seven-day itinerary will guide you through the best of what the Gorge has to offer. So grab your hiking shoes and get ready for an unforgettable journey through one of America's most scenic landscapes.

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Where to stay

Hood River Hotel

Charming retreat in the heart of Hood River, offering historic ambiance, comfortable accommodations and a welcoming atmosphere amidst the scenic beauty of Oregon.

Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel

Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel is a picturesque and upscale lodging option in Hood River, Oregon. Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel is perched on the cliffs overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, providing guests with breathtaking views of the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. This boutique hotel offers a range of well-appointed villas and suites, each designed to provide a luxurious and comfortable stay. Guests can enjoy the serene surroundings, explore the nearby hiking trails, and savor local cuisine at the on-site restaurant. It's an ideal choice for travelers seeking a tranquil and scenic escape in the Columbia River Gorge area.

Skamania Lodge

Upscale resort with modern rooms surrounded by 175 acres of forest.

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Day 1: Scenic Gorge Exploration

columbia river gorge sunset scenery

After arriving at Portland International Airport (PDX), rent a car and start your journey east on the Historic Columbia River Highway. Your first stop will be at the Vista House, a stunning observatory that offers panoramic views of the Gorge. Take a moment to soak in the majestic scenery before continuing on to Multnomah Falls, one of the most iconic waterfalls in Oregon. After a short hike and some photo opportunities, head to Hood River, a charming town located on the Columbia River. Check into a cozy bed and breakfast or a riverside hotel before heading out to explore the town's lively music and food scene.

Day 2: Scenic Fruit Loop

Nature escapes

Start your day with a hearty breakfast at the historic Hood River Hotel, known for its delicious farm-to-table meals. After breakfast, drive to the Rowena Crest Viewpoint for breathtaking views of the Gorge and the surrounding hills. Next, take a scenic drive on the Fruit Loop, a 40-mile loop featuring picturesque farms, orchards, and wineries. Stop at one of the many fruit stands and indulge in some fresh-picked berries or homemade pies. In the evening, head back to Hood River for a relaxed dinner at one of the town's many restaurants, followed by live music at one of the local bars.

Day 3: Eagle Creek Adventure

Waterfull and green trees

Today, venture out on a hike at Eagle Creek Trail, one of the most popular trails in the Gorge. This 13-mile hike will take you through lush forests, along crystal clear streams, and to a beautiful waterfall. Be sure to pack a picnic lunch and take some time to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. After the hike, head back to Hood River and treat yourself to some mouthwatering Thai food at Sawara. If you're feeling adventurous, try their spicy curry dishes or opt for some comfort food like pad thai or pineapple fried rice.

Day 4: Bridge Crossing Hike

birds’ eye view of this landmark

Start your day early and drive to the Bridge of the Gods, a steel truss cantilever bridge that spans the Columbia River. Walk across the bridge to reach the state of Washington, and then take the Pacific Crest Trail for a scenic hike with stunning views of the Gorge. After the hike, stop at the Cascade Locks for lunch at Bridgeside, a casual restaurant known for its fish and chips and delicious beer selection. Spend the rest of the day exploring Cascade Locks, a charming town with quaint shops and fantastic views of the Gorge.

Day 5: Oneonta Gorge Exploration

Evening sight in Columbia River

Today, head south to the stunning Oneonta Gorge, a narrow canyon with a beautiful waterfall at the end. Prepare to get wet as you make your way through the slippery rocks and cold water to get to the waterfall, but the experience is well worth it. In the afternoon, drive to Hood River and take a tour of the award-winning Full Sail Brewery, famous for its craft beers and tasty pub food. End the day with a relaxing stroll along the Hood River waterfront, followed by dinner at Sixth Street Bistro, a farm-to-table restaurant known for its fresh seafood and delectable desserts.

Day 6: Stevenson Sightseeing

Columbia River

Today, drive to the picturesque town of Stevenson, located on the northern side of the Columbia River. Take a scenic drive on the Stevenson-Carson Ridge and stop at Cape Horn Viewpoint for spectacular views of the river and the Cascade Mountains. Afterward, stop for lunch at the quaint Skamania Lodge, a beautiful resort nestled in the woods. In the afternoon, head to Bonneville Lock and Dam and take a tour to learn about the history and operation of the dam. End the day with a relaxing dinner at the beautiful Skamania Lodge.

Day 7: Hidden Waterfalls Tour

columbia river gorge sunset scenery

On your final day in the Gorge, take a leisurely drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway to visit some of the lesser-known waterfalls, such as Latourell and Bridal Veil Falls. Make a stop at the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and learn about the various fish species in the Columbia River. For your final meal in the Gorge, head to Big River Grill, a family-owned restaurant known for its delicious burgers, sandwiches, and stunning views of the river."

Need to Know

Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our travel advisor Willene Wright's guide, The Fruit Loop: Eating & Drinking Through the Orchards of Hood River, Oregon.

Travel advisor Tammy Kiefer smiling in a restaurant.

Travel Advisor

Tammy Kiefer

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Oregon.