Where to Find Fall Color in the Columbia River Gorge

Spring brings wildflowers, summer brings sunny days perfect for playing in or on the water, winter brings snow for skiing on Mt. Hood, but autumn always impresses. The deciduous maples, oaks, ash, and alder transform into a colorful mirage while huckleberry and blueberry bushes light up the underbrush with vibrant red hues. While there is no bad place to view fall foliage, there are a couple of spots that are simply too good to miss.

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Rowena Crest

You’ll see pictures of a perfect curvy road pinned up in museums, restaurants, gas stations, and in any guide book about the Columbia River Gorge. That curvy road is none other than Rowena Crest in Mosier. Hop off Interstate 84 and drive along Highway 30 between Rowena and Mosier for this stunning view. At the top of the curve, there is a viewpoint where you can see all around the Gorge. 


Historic Columbia River Highway

West of Hood River on the Oregon side of the Gorge lies one of the most stunning drives in Oregon (and that’s no exaggeration). Between Dodson and Corbett, you can drive on the old Historic Columbia River Highway. This curvy, winding road brings you high into the hillside for stunning views the entire way. Stop frequently and bring a camera as you won’t want to miss a thing. Read our blog Must See Roadside Stops on the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway to plan your perfect fall color road trip.

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Cape Horn Trail – 7.5-mile loop

Revered as one of the best trails of the Columbia River Gorge, the Cape Horn Trail should be on every visitor’s list. While the entire loop is 7.5 miles and crosses several landmarks, you can shorten your trip and still enjoy the views. Starting from the trailhead off Salmon Falls Rd., climb the upper trail until you reach the first lookout. With views of the water, Beacon Rock, and surrounding mountains, you could easily turn around here and be fully satisfied. If you keep hiking you’ll make it to two more lookouts and eventually come to the lower section of the trail. The lower section includes some scrambling and is closed for a good portion of the year so check ahead before you go. 


Hamilton Mountain – 7.2-mile loop

With mountain views, a waterfall, and lots of deciduous trees, Hamilton Mountain is a great autumn day hike. The first part of the hike to the waterfalls is a moderate climb, and yet, very rewarding, with the second part of the hike climbing steeply until you reach the ridge of Hamilton Mountain. Along the way, you’ll enjoy lots of fall color and possibly find some interesting looking mushrooms. 

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At a Winery

Enjoy a slower pace of life at Syncline Wine Cellars in Lyle, Washington. In the fall you’ll not only enjoy great views but the annual harvest as well. On warmer autumn days you’ll enjoy the outdoor seating areas with a glass of white wine, and on chilly days you can cozy up inside with a soul-warming glass of red. Be sure to call ahead and make reservations! 


In Your Luxurious Cabins

You don’t have to travel far to enjoy the golden colors of the Columbia River Gorge. Simply wake up and step out of your private cabins at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins to a view of the lush, colorful mountains. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee, hike the trails on the property, or snuggle up to our outdoor firepit with a grand view of fall foliage. 

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The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful locations to view fall color. From deep and vibrant reds to bright golden hues and everything in between the Gorge comes alive in autumn. Plan your trip and stay at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins to explore all of the most beautiful spots filled with fall hues. 

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