Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
Spanning an incredible 118,370 hectares from Sandy River to Deschutes River, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a magical destination. With stunning mountain scenery, lush forests, and beautiful waterfalls and streams, this area offers something for everyone. Flowers decorate walking and biking trails, and historic museums and friendly towns are just a few of the much-loved gems throughout the area.
When the weather’s right (and it often is), windsurfing and sailing are popular activities. Those exploring during winter can even try skiing and snowmobiling. Golfing, sipping locally brewed beer, fishing and visiting lavender farms are other popular activities that will have you wanting to come back over and over again.
View the itineraries of companies like American Cruise Lines to see what shore excursions are available.
Many cruise ships dock at Stevenson Landing, which is located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Depending on the type of cruise, some can stop at other towns throughout the area.
There is a wide range of port facilities available to passengers, including:
How to Get Around
There are a few ways to get around Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It is recommended to speak to your cruise line for any organised shore excursions and shuttle buses. However, if you’re going out independently with a few shipmates, look into catching a scenic bus tour or a taxi to get to the main scenic attractions and activities. There are many walking trails and biking trails to explore as well.
Travel times from Stevenson Landing:
It is a 27 minute journey to Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum.
It is a 37 minute journey to Vista House
It is a 45 minute journey to Mount Hood
It is a 16 minute journey to Bonneville Dam
It is a 10 minute journey to Cascade Locks
It is a 4 minute journey to Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum
It is an 18 minute journey to Horsetail Fall
It is a 30 minute journey to Full Sail Brewing.
Currency – The currency used in Columbia River Gorge is the United States dollar (USD). Banknotes are printed in USD$1, USD$2, USD$5, USD$10, USD$20, USD$50 and USD$100. Coins come in 1c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c and both a silver and a gold USD$1.
Time Zone – Oregon observes Pacific Time, which is 8 hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). Daylight Saving Time is observed from March to November.
Weather – Columbia River Gorge experiences mild weather, making it the perfect place to explore all year. Spring is especially beautiful, with wildflowers and blooming fruit trees peppering the landscape. Even its many waterfalls flow stronger from the melting snow. Both spring and summer prove to be perfect seasons to try windsurfing or hiking, while winter brings about cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Average annual temperatures range between 5 and 17 degrees Celsius.
Vista House – Venture out to one of the most stunning scenic spots on the Historic Columbia River Highway to explore Vista House. Built between 1916 and 1918 as a resting place for travellers and a memorial for Oregon pioneers, Vista House sees over 1 million visitors each year. Its grand Art Nouveau and octagonal design contrasts brilliantly against its surrounding lush hills. Those needing a refreshment can purchase a drink and a snack from its espresso bar, and those wanting to take home some special souvenirs can browse through its gift store. All revenue from these purchases go towards educational and volunteer programs hosted by Friends of Vista, a not-for-profit group partnered with Oregon State Parks to preserve the story of the historic structure.
Cascade Locks – Cascade Locks is a fantastic place to start your adventure through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Its friendly locals and breathtaking sights of tumbling waterfalls and luscious forests make this a popular place for relaxation and adventure. Visitors can hike, bike and sightsee around the town, as well as windsurf, sail and picnic in stunning surrounds. There are also many historic landmarks, galleries and fantastic restaurants located all throughout the town.
Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum – Learn about the fascinating history of the Columbia River Gorge at this popular museum. Stories about the Cascade Chinook, the first people to live in the gorge, are shared through artefacts and paintings. Baskets, early tools, ceremonial dresses, statues, rock carvings and other archaeological pieces are exhibited throughout the museum, immersing visitors in a fascinating past.