21 Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge Oregon

21 Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge Oregon

The Columbia River Gorge is full of amazing hikes, waterfalls, and views. When we have any free time, we tend to head out to the Gorge. It’s our favorite area to explore in Oregon since it’s such an easy and scenic drive from Portland. If you’re trying to figure out your next hike to do, here’s a list of the best stops and why they made our list.

Don’t forget to first check the USDA site to see which trails are open. 

Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge Road Trip - Pictured here is Latourell Falls

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Last Updated: Aug 9, 2019 // First Published: Oct 26, 2017

21 BEST HIKES IN THE COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE

INTRO

1. Place / Thing to DO

Q8R9+57 Jenny Lake, map

TEXT

Best Easy Hikes

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.5387355, -122.2202396, map

Distance: 2.4 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 520 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Seasons: Year Round (except during winter storms)
What You’ll See: You’ll find two waterfalls here. The first is just a short walk from the parking lot, the second can be found up the trail.

Local Tip / Pro Tip / Note: dsfsdfsd

PHOTO

photo: 

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.538804, -122.217923, map

Distance: 2.4 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 520 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Seasons: Year Round (except during winter storms)
What You’ll See: You’ll find two waterfalls here. The first is just a short walk from the parking lot, the second can be found up the trail.

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.63060, -121.95382, map

Distance: 2 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 250 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Two waterfalls, including multiple viewpoints of Wahclella Falls.

Wahclella Falls, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon Waterfalls // localadventurer.com
Wahclella Falls Hiking Guide, Columbia River Gorge _ Easy Hikes Near Portland Oregon // localadventurer.com

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.577617, -122.117242, map

Distance: 2.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 870 ft
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Oregon’s most recognizable waterfall. It is the tallest in the state and often crowded. You can see the falls with no effort from the bottom, or do the hike to see more of the waterfall.

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.590247, -122.068229, map

Distance: 0.8 mile round trip
Elevation Gain: 360 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: This nice and easy hike takes you to a waterfall that has a trail all the way behind it.

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.600294, -122.111986, map

Distance: 1 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 50 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Hike to orchards, enjoy a beach along the gorge, and even get a glimpse of Multnomah Falls from across the water.

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.600294, -122.111986, map

Distance: 1 mile
Elevation Gain: 100 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.68259, -121.30065 // Map
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Very picturesque road and great views of the gorge. Wildflowers during the season.

Rowena Crest (15 Best Day Trips from Portland Oregon) // localadventurer.com

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.612425, -122.004528, map

Distance: 1.4 mile round trip
Elevation Gain: 280 ft
Difficulty: Easy
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Moss, fern, and a beautiful waterfall in an amphitheater.

Best Moderate Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.5602273, -122.1748379, map

Distance: 4.8 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1450 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Exposed bluff that gives you 270-degree panoramic views.

How to Do the Angels Rest Hike, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Photo Guide to the Angels Rest Hike, Columbia River Gorge - Hikes Near Portland Oregon

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.5889484, -122.0768179, map

Distance: 1 mile round trip
Elevation Gain: 0 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Seasons: August to October
What You’ll See: Climb over a log jam and wade (or swim) through water to reach this waterfall. Great on hot days!

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.58849, -122.0806787, map

Distance: 3.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 610 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Much less crowded and you get to see a triple waterfall. You can also see Middle Oneonta and Upper Oneonta Falls along the way.

Triple Falls Trail, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon // localadventurer.com

11. Beacon Rock Hike – Climb a Monolith (WA Side)

Distance: 1.8 mile round trip
Elevation Gain: 680 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.628520, -122.022228, map
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: This is one of the most prominent geological features in te gorge. The 848-foot monolith was once the core of a volcano.

12. Cape Horn – Close to Portland

Distance: 7.1 mi loop
Elevation Gain: 1350 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.58852,-122.1809287, map
Seasons: Year Round but Lower Part of the loop is closed Feb 1 to July 15
What You’ll See: Gorgeous views, rocky crags, steams and two waterfalls.

13. Coyote Wall – Walk the Cliffs (WA Side)

Distance: 7.8 miles lollipop loop
Elevation Gain: 1,640 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.6999519,-121.4055847, map
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: See expansive views, wildflowers in the spring, and steep walls and drop-offs.

14. Eagle Creek to Tunnel Falls Hike – Waterfalls Around Every Corner

Distance: 12 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,775 ft
Difficulty: Moderate
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.636729, -121.919665, map
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: Multiple waterfalls, tall basalt cliffs, bridges over beautiful streams, and unique geological formations.

Difficult Hikes + Backpacking in the Gorge

Trailhead Coordinates: 45.623215, -121.975679, map

Distance: 6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 2,270 ft
Difficulty: Difficult, Unmaintained Trail
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.623215, -121.975679, map
Seasons: Year Round but hazardous when wet
What You’ll See: A dramatic ridge and beautiful views of the gorge.

Everything You Need to Know About the Munra Point Hike, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Tips for the Munra Point Hike, Columbia River Gorge, Oregon

16. Eagle Creek to Wahtum Lake Hike – Go Backpacking

Distance: 26.5 mile loop
Elevation Gain: 5,310 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.6367682, -121.9217929, map
Seasons: Year Round
What You’ll See: See waterfalls, basalt columns, streams, and a beautiful lake.

17. Table Mountain – A Taste of the PCT (WA Side)

Distance: 15.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 4,320 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.65032, -121.9360787, map
Seasons: April to October
What You’ll See: Dip your feet in Gilette Lake, enjoy Greenleaf Falls, see Wauna Point, and hike a portion of the PCT.

18. Dog Mountain – Wildflower Heaven (WA Side)

Distance: 6.9 mi
Elevation Gain: 2800 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.6992035,-121.7101839, map
Seasons: Year Round but Mid-May to Early June for Wildflowers
What You’ll See: Northwest Balsamroot and other Wildflowers, Views of the Gorge

Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge, Washington, USA // localadventurer.com

19. Waucoma Lakes Loop Hike – For the Lake Lovers

Distance: 16.5 miles loop
Elevation Gain: 4,737 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.6260037, -121.7610187, map
Seasons: Summer and Fall
What You’ll See: Visit four lakes along the Waucoma Ridge and enjoy the amazing views.

20. Rock of Ages Loop Hike – All About the Rocks

Distance: 10 miles loop
Elevation Gain: 3,000 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.5902456, -122.0703989, map
Seasons: April to October
What You’ll See: Amazing rock structures, including an arch, a beautiful backbone, and more.

21. Larch Mountain Hike – Iconic Falls and Amazing Views

Distance: 14.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 4,055 ft
Difficulty: Difficult
Trailhead Coordinates: 45.5789337, -122.1205987, map
Seasons: April to November
What You’ll See: See iconic waterfalls then end with an amazing 360-degree view.

More Easy Hikes You Can Add On

  • Catherine Creek State Park, Washington – 90 species of wildflowers between Feb and July
  • She Who Watches – guided tours to see petroglyph/pictograph that is run twice a week in April to October (Fri and Sat 10 AM)
  • Bridal Veil Falls – 120 ft cascading falls – not our favorite waterfall/hike, but it’s close to many of the others
  • The Hood River Spit – popular beach for windsurfers
  • Women’s Forum State Scenic Viewpoint – see Vista House and Beacon Rock from here
  • Gibbons Creek Wildlife Art Trail, Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge – easy, kid-friendly, lots of wildlife
  • Horsetail Falls – a waterfall right along the road
  • Little Beacon Rock Loop hike – see Beacon Rock’s much smaller and older neighbor
  • Pool of the Winds Hike – easy hike to see two waterfalls
  • Eagle Creek Overlook Hike – get views of the Bonneville Dam

Essential Tips for Hiking in Oregon

  • Waterfalls are fuller during winter, but the weather is also rainier. Early summer or fall is best since you might get decent weather and the waterfalls aren’t a trickle, otherwise, don’t forget your rain jackets!
  • In the winter, the trails can be iced over, so hike with crampons.
  • There are commonly landslides or fires and sometimes trails are closed. Check this site for current closures.
  • If you’re taking photos, don’t forget a waterproof casing or cover to protect your camera. Even if it’s not raining, many of the waterfalls have a ton of mist. It also helps to have a tripod and ND filters if you’re hoping to shoot waterfalls.

What to Pack for Hiking in Oregon

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Best Places to Stay in the Columbia River Gorge

All accommodations listed below have at least 4 stars on Tripadvisor

Which of these Oregon hikes have you done? Any hikes we should add?

Did you enjoy this post? Pin it for later

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Portland Oregon.

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. 21 hiking trails in one area! Damn, that’s a lot! Oregan is as great for hikers as people say! I have hiked my way in many places in the world but I have never been to the US due to its visa process but it’s good to know great places to hike when I finally make it there. :)

    1. I hope you get a visa to make it here. Oregon is one of the best states for people who love the outdoors.

  2. Can you tell me where you took the pictyre of the orange trees and The red dress.. Gorgeous!

  3. River, mountains, falls … Such a Beautiful palace. Awesome.

  4. The hyperlink for the coordinates to Ponytrail Falls isn’t right. If I copy-paste the coordinates into google maps (45.59044,-122.0707587), that works fine, but the hyperlink (https://www.google.com/maps/place/4°00'00.0“N+5°35’25.6″E/@4,5.5882557,17z) takes me to a point off the coast of Nigeria. Great reference article overall. Cheers!

    1. Thanks Caleb for pointing that out!! Will have that changed right away. :)

  5. Nice post. This was really helpful post, thanks!

  6. Amazing post! Thanks for sharing!

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