About the Gorge

Looking west from the Dog Mountain trail.

Since it was formed over millions of years by volcanic activity and Ice Age floods, the unique Columbia River Gorge has been the stage for human exploration and recreation. In recent times it has also been the subject of intense development pressures, innovative lawmaking and increasing recreational popularity.

This section explores the fascinating geological history of the Gorge, as well as the legacy of protection efforts that led to the passage of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act in 1986 and continuing preservation today.

The Columbia River Gorge
An overview of the Columbia River Gorge, natural treasure of the Pacific Northwest.
Early Protection Efforts
A history of efforts to protect the Columbia River Gorge up until the creation of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
Friends and the National Scenic Area
A history of the founding of Friends of the Columbia Gorge and the passage of the National Scenic Area Act.