Peter Cornelison

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Many people travel to Columbia Gorge by driving or biking the Historic Columbia River Gorge Highway and State Trail (Route 30). This scenic route provides access to many trails along the Oregon side of the Gorge. On the Washington side of the Gorge, Highway 14 is the gateway to numerous trails and notable sites. 

Be aware that visitation often exceeds the automobile capacity along and at parking areas on the Route 30 and I-84 in Oregon and Highway 14 in Washington. During the summer months, some of the most popular trailheads, viewpoints and hikes receive thousands of visitors a day. The popular Multnomah Falls parking lot is often closed due to over-capacity.  To avoid crowds and congestion along the roads and trails, follow these tips. You’ll be rewarded with stunning views and solitude.

Go Early

Aim to finish your hike before 10 a.m. to avoid congestion at popular destinations. You'll be rewarded with stunning views and solitude. 

Go East

Hike the less popular but equally beautiful hikes in the eastern Gorge (beyond the popular Waterfall Corridor). Or, consider doing your trip in reverse order (starting in The Dalles and driving west).

Go North

Hike the less popular but equally beautiful hikes on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge.

Go Midweek

Visit the Gorge at a slower pace by visiting Tuesday–Thursday. The weekends are the busiest times to visit the Gorge, especially between April and October. You’ll avoid crowds if you can visit mid-week. Even better, consider planning a midweek multi-day stay to check out the towns, museums, wineries and other attractions throughout the Scenic Area.

Find a Hike

Need help finding a hike that meets your group's skills and level of expertise? Use Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s Find a Hike tool to search by trail feature, distance and difficulty level.

Local Picks


GO NORTH: Weldon Wagon Trail
Weldon Wagon Trail, Micheal Drewry

GO NORTH: Weldon Wagon Trail

Enjoy a hike or mountain bike ride on this early 1900s road built to transport apples from the upper farmlands to the White Salmon River. This 2.5-mile out-and-back trail offers rolling hills, wildflowers and an oak grove.

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GO MIDWEEK: Dry Creek Falls
Dry Creek Falls, by Yeng Tang

GO MIDWEEK: Dry Creek Falls

This often-overlooked trail near Cascade Locks follows a section of the Pacific Crest Trail about 2 miles to the base of a 230-foot waterfall. Enjoy the solitude while listening to the water as it plunges into a basalt amphitheater.

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GO EARLY: Steigerwald Lake
Steigerwald Lake, by Debbie Asakawa

GO EARLY: Steigerwald Lake

Listen to the song birds while you take an early morning stroll through Steigerwald Lake National Wildlife Refuge. This flat, one-mile hike takes you to the edge of the Columbia River.

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GO EAST: Columbia Hills State Park
Columbia Hills State Park, by Debbie Asakawa

GO EAST: Columbia Hills State Park

With 12.5 miles of hiking trails, rock climbing, swimming and more, Columbia Hills State Park is a secret gem at the eastern end of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

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