Columbia River Gorge Tour
7.5 Hours | Spend the day exploring the Columbia River Gorge waterfalls and the high desert!
Highlights: Columbia River Gorge Scenic Route – Crown Point Vista House – Multnomah Falls and Historic Lodge – Hood River – Rowena Crest Plateau – Bridge of the Gods
About the Tour
Upon departure from downtown Portland, the Gateway to the Gorge is where the real beauty begins. From earth-shaking landslides to enormous glacial flooding, the formation of the area has left us with breathtaking sights to behold. As we traverse from a temperate rainforest in the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area, to the plains of a high desert, we’ll become immersed in the ecological richness that abounds in this scenic preserve. Come join us on this dynamic exploration through one of Oregon’s Seven Wonders!
Please note, from April to October, we do not offer online booking availability for this tour. Please call 503-396-3929 to inquire about public tour availability or to schedule a private tour.
This is a full day tour, typically offered from 9AM to 4:30PM. Please note, the tour route and sights may vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions. It is always our goal to provide you with the most interesting adventure possible.
We will depart downtown Portland and head east along the Columbia River to Troutdale, known as the Gateway to the Gorge! We will join the beautiful Historic Columbia River Highway, the first planned scenic roadway in the United States, and wind our way to our first stop for the day: Crown Point Vista House. This famous overlook sits 733 feet above the Columbia River, atop the remains of a lava flow that swept through the Gorge around 14 to 17 million years ago! Here, we will find amazing 180-degree views of the Columbia River Gorge and explore the Vista House. An intricately designed observatory and museum, the Vista House is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
From there, we will drive deeper into the Columbia River National Scenic Area. Our first waterfall for the day will be the dramatic Latourell Falls which plunges 249 feet over a massive wall of columnar basalt. Depending on the season, a short ¼-mile paved trail hike will be led to get a closer view of the falls.
The next waterfall we will visit will be the grand Multnomah Falls. Plummeting 620 feet in two major steps, Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in Oregon and second highest in the nation! Here, we will explore the Multnomah Falls Historic Lodge (a Cascadian style stone and timber lodge built in 1925) as well as the beautiful Multnomah Falls itself. During the gorge fire of 2017, the wildland fire crew fought tirelessly and ultimately saved this historic landmark. The easily accessible viewing platform offers a full view of the Benson Bridge and cascading falls beyond it.
From here we will make our way to Hood River, known as the Windsurfing Capitol of the World, where we will pause for an hour. This gives us a chance to explore the town and eat lunch.
Following lunch, we will meet back up with the Columbia River Historic Highway and wind our way toward the iconic Rowena Crest Plateau and Viewpoint. The overlook offers a panoramic view of the delicate, horseshoe curve along the historic highway. As one of the most photographed sections of road in Oregon, we’ll have a bird’s-eye-view of this unique landscape. After exploring the area and overlook, we’ll travel along the horseshoe ourselves to continue our journey.
From here, we will cross over the Columbia River into Washington. Traveling along the gorge’s northern scenic route to the Bridge of the Gods, named after a natural stone bridge that has since vanished, we’ll have a moment to take in the scenery. We’ll then make our way across the Bridge of the Gods, back over to Oregon and onward to Portland.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What about lunch? Is it included?
Lunch is not included in the tour price. We will pause for an hour in Hood River where you will have a chance to explore and eat lunch. Complimentary snacks and refreshments will be available throughout the tour.
- What should I wear?
Oregon’s weather, although very temperate, can sometimes be unpredictable. bringing along a rain jacket and wearing multiple layers is typically the best option for almost anywhere in Oregon. Umbrellas will be provided during the tour. Comfortable, closed-toed shoes are highly recommended.
- What kind of vehicle will we be traveling in?
We will be exploring in a large van. This luxury vehicle comes with an extra tall roof so that everyone feels comfortable and not cramped. There are oversized windows to allow for the best visibility for our guests! See more information on our General Info page.
- How much walking is required on this tour?
For this tour you will have the opportunity to walk on well-maintained trails, though it is not required. Typically, the furthest distance we walk at one time during the day is ½ a mile round trip. Some trails/paths are graded, but only slightly or for a short distance.
We aim to spend about 50% of our time on tour exploring the sights and stretching our legs. There is typically walking required to get the full experience at each stop, but for most of the sights, the actual distance walked is completely up to you. We make time at each stop for personal exploration, so you can choose to find a quiet place to sit, head to the nearest viewing point/platform, or meander further down the path or trail. Unfortunately, there are not many stops on tour that can be experienced if you choose to remain back in the vehicle.
- How many fellow travelers should I expect on my tour?
We generally prefer to limit our group size to 12 travelers to ensure that everyone is comfortable and relaxed. Throughout the high travel season, one can expect tour group sizes to be around 6 to 12 people. During the rest of the year, group sizes can typically range from 2 to 8.
- We will be driving for a while, what are the bathroom options?
We have tried to include access to public bathrooms at all of our planned stops. No worries though! If the need arises, your guide can find a convenient place to stop. There are no restrooms in our tour vehicles.
- What if I've made a reservation, but can't make it? Is a refund available?
Please read the full Terms and Conditions here.