The mighty Columbia River cuts a deep swath, over 80 miles long, through the Cascade Mountains. Spend a full day exploring the waterfalls, vistas, pioneer history, and staggering landscapes of the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area on this naturalist-guided tour.
Start on the western end of the Gorge, where coastal fronts feed the 70+ waterfalls that glide off the region’s basalt cliffs. Travel down the “Waterfall Alley” of the historic highway to experience some of the area’s most spectacular falls on guided nature walks. Gaze up from the base of Latourell Falls on a hot summer day or warm up on a damp morning with a cup of French-press coffee. After exploring the falls, make your way to the wind-surfing mecca of Hood River for a fresh lunch at our favorite local spot, or a picnic lunch served al fresco along the way.
In the afternoon, you’ll watch the scenery change as evergreen forests give way to sagebrush and Ponderosa pines and you cross to the dry side of the Cascade Mountain Range. Search for elk, deer, osprey, and bald eagles as you head to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center for a lesson on the native peoples of the region and Lewis & Clark’s historic travels here. From April to November, you can also see Native American pictographs and petroglyphs at Columbia Hills State Park, before a quick (seasonal) stop at a local fruit stand to grab a snack for the return to Portland.