This post may contains affiliate links, including Amazon Associate links. I may earn small commission if you click one. This is at no extra cost to you.

The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful and unique scenic areas in the Pacific Northwest. It offers the best views, hiking, hidden gems, and waterfalls that everyone can enjoy from! There are plenty of family friendly trails, dog friendly, and even harder trails.

Check out the best hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge! I promise you’ll love it just as I do!

1. Wahclella Falls

Distance: 1.9 miles out & back
Elevation: 223 ft
Level of difficulty: Easy
Fees: $5 or NW forest pass is needed
Dog friendly

One of my favorite spots in the Columbia River Gorge! I hiked this trail in January and it was incredible! During the winter you can spot plenty of waterfalls throughout the trail (which is perfect for people who love chasing waterfalls, as I do). 0.3 miles from the trailhead you’ll see the Lower Munra Falls on your left and 0.7 miles from it, you’ll reach Wahclella Falls. This trail is definitely a hidden gem and I highly recommend it for everyone. This trail is both kids and dogs friendly. 

Wahclella Falls- Columbia River Gorge

2. Angels Rest

Distance: 4.5 miles out & back
Elevation: 1,476 ft
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Fees: None
Dog friendly

This trail leads to one of the most beautiful views in the Colombia River Gorge and Oregon in general. It can be challenging, and I wouldn’t recommend going with kids, especially during the winter. If you’re coming in the winter, make sure you come with the right gear- hiking poles and snowshoes. I did the trail twice and personally loved it better during the summer. On a nice day, it’s a great place to pack a snack and eat in-front of the gorgeous views. 

3. Multnomah Falls

Distance: 5.6- mile loop hike/ 2 mile out & back. You can also come only to watch the waterfalls.
Level of difficulty: Longer trail- moderate, short trail- easy
Fees: None

The most popular and iconic waterfall in Oregon, located half an hour drive from Portland.

Each time I visit is so special and unique. If you decide to do the hike is pretty easy, family-friendly, and the view from the top is breathtaking. Definitely, the place to go when coming to Portland (during the weekend it is heavily trafficked). You can decide to take the easy hike or the moderate, to eat in their restaurant, see the ice stalactites in the winter, the stunning color of the trees in the autumn and spring, or just enjoy the view. 

**Due to covid restrictions, the bridge is closed, and you can only watch the waterfalls without hiking. 

If you’re planning a trip to the Columbia River Gorge, check out my guide for more recommendations!

Multnomah Falls

4. Beacon Rock (WA)

Distance: 1.5 miles out & back
Elevation: 574 ft
Level of difficulty: Moderate
Fees: The Discover Pass or $10 day pass in needed (you can also purchase an annual pass for $30)
Dog friendly

Beacon Rock is an interesting place and one of the most iconic places in the Gorge. It is the core of an ancient volcano and considers to be the largest second free-standing monolith in the northern hemisphere. 
It is a great day hike (takes about 30 minutes) and the view from the trail is outstanding! 

Interesting fact- Lewis and Clark named the place Beaten Rock in 1805 and Beacon Rock in 1806. Later, the place was known as Castle Rock and in 1915, the name changed back to Beacon Rock.

** The trail is currently closed due to social distancing measures. If you’re planning on visiting Beacon Rock, visit https://readysetgorge.com to make sure the trail is open. 

5. Dry Creek Falls

Distance: 4.4 miles out & back
Elevation: 885 ft
Level of difficulty: Easy
Fees: None
Dog friendly

Easy and beautiful hike in Cascade Locks. The place got its name because the creek bed went dry when its flow was diverted into pipes. This trail is usually less crowded than the other hikes on this list but definitely worth seeing. It can be tricky to find the trailhead but AllTrails leads you to the exact place and from that, it’s easy to navigate. The falls are 75 feet and surrounded by unique basalt rocks. I highly recommend going there and enjoy the peaceful trail. 

Dry Creek Falls- Columbia River Gorge

Food Recommendation:

  • If you’re looking for a great place to eat, Cascade Locks offers great American food with the beautiful views of the Columbia River Gorge.
    • Bridgeport- cheap American restaurant. Locate on the river and offer great food and incredible views.
  • Hood River: beautiful town on the Columbia Gorge. It’s called the windsurfing capital of the world! The place offers craft breweries, wineries, and restaurants.
    • Solstice Wood Fire Pizza- great wood fire pizza! They have special flavored and it’s highly popular (highly recommend trying to reserve or register to the waiting list in advance). During the summer they also open a food truck outside and you can have a nice picnic outside.
    • STOKED Roasters + Coffeehouse- great place for coffee!

Worth Mentioning:

  • Starvation Creek Falls-This trail is not a hike but definitely worth mentioning. It is my favorite hidden gem in the Gorge! I love it because you can climb all the way to the waterfall and enjoy its magic! It’s a great place to combine with biking/ running/ walking on the Columbia Gorge biking trail. Read more about it here.
  • Wahkeena Falls- there’re a few options for this one. The most popular are moderate 3.1 miles out and back trail, moderate 4.7 loop and moderate 6.2 loops. Read more about this trail.
Starvation Creek Falls
Starvation Creek Falls
Next PostRead more articles

Leave a Reply