Beginning virtually at Portland's doorstep, the Columbia River Gorge offers miles of unparalleled scenery and recreational possibilities, the playground of many an outdoor enthusiast and a choice spot to take a long sight-seeing drive.
The Columbia River sets the contours of the Oregon-Washington border for much of its lower length, the exceptionally dramatic stretch between Portland and The Dalles further defined as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, a ribbon of pavement framed by rolling bluffs, forest and pale river often frosted with white-caps.
When the river find's Oregon's northern edges just northeast of Hermiston, the landscape is relatively blonde and barren, the rolling hills tawny and wind-swept. As the Columbia snakes westward followed closely by I-84, the landscape gradually transitions into something substantially more lush, forests and waterfalls taking the place of desert by the time it reaches the outskirts of the state's largest port and city, Portland.
In terms of outdoor recreational possibilities the region is rife - hiking and biking trails lace the hills, the north slopes of Mt. Hood (popular with skiers and snow boarders in winter) lurk southeast of The Dalles, and steady winds bring wind surfers out in droves to navigate the stretch of gusty Columbia that races past the up and coming town of Hood River.
To learn more about the Columbia River Gorge, please select a topic of interest from the navigation bar on the left.