BEST Things to Do in the Columbia Gorge & Hood River for 2024

Let us help you find the best and most unique things to do in the Columbia River Gorge & Hood River areas. We offer an extensive list of attractions to peruse, you’ll find a Curious Gorge book in your cabin for hiking ideas, and of course, we’re always available for questions.

Explore the Columbia River Gorge

No matter your interests, you can spend days indulging in the countless things to do in the Columbia River Gorge!

Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, athlete, adventurer, or nature lover, this beautiful region carved out of Oregon and Washington State offers the perfect activity for you to enjoy. You’ll find exciting, relaxing and even romantic things to do in the Columbia River Gorge, unlike anywhere else. So join us!

Of course, there’s all kinds of fun things to do in the Columbia Gorge. Still, these activities will get you out and about in a way that lifts your spirits and maybe even your heart rate!

Nothing brings you closer to our breathtaking landscape quite like hitting the trails. Being out in nature is one of the best things to do in the Columbia River Gorge.

Soak in the beautiful Pacific Northwest landscape as you adventure through stunning waterfalls, colorful wildflower meadows, or exhilarating bike trails. If you’re looking to hike in our neck of the PNW, below are some of our favorite spots.

Dog-Friendly Things to Do in the Columbia River Gorge

The rustic PNW wilderness is a dog’s happy place! If you’re bringing your furry friend along, make sure to check trail postings and other resources to confirm the area you’re headed to is pup-friendly. Many trails and public spaces are, but not all of them. Below are a few dog-friendly outings to get you started.

Be sure to check out our Dog Lover’s Guide to the Gorge, too for other ideas on dog-friendly things to do in the Columbia River Gorge.

Dog-friendly Outings in the Gorge:

Visit the Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls

Some classic features of this gorgeous landscape are the breathtaking waterfalls. Visiting falls is truly one of the most popular Columbia Gorge things to do.

With abundant views of the river and roughly 70 waterfalls found in the Columbia Gorge Scenic Area, it’s practically photo-worthy everywhere you turn.

Still, there’s nothing more exhilarating than standing in the spray of a majestic waterfall.

Drive to the viewing platforms around Multnomah Falls for an easier excursion.

Or, if you’re up for it, take a trek through towering trees to reach some cascading falls!

Best Waterfall Hikes

Enjoy Fabulous Columbia River Gorge Wines and Brews

When you come to the Gorge, you’ll find amazing wines and wineries are all around you. Sip, savor, and socialize at the assortment of stunning Washington State Wineries. When you come to the Gorge, you’ll find amazing wines and wineries are all around you. Sip, savor, and socialize at the assortment of stunning Washington State wineries. America’s Most Unique Wine Region, the Columbia Gorge Growing Region, is right at your fingertips when you stay at Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins. This area includes the fertile soils of both Washington and Oregon. From the marine influenced climate of Underwood Mountain, to the arid dryland of the Eastern Gorge, our grapes and wines are a spectacular selection of sweet whites and luscious reds.

For Wine Aficionados & Amateurs Alike

No matter if you’re a dedicated wine enthusiast or you’re just looking to enjoy local blends as you relax in a beautiful vineyard, you’ll find wine tasting is one of the top things to do in the Columbia River Gorge. Stop by the office and we’ll share Hood River and White Salmon wine tour maps, along with our favorite Washington winery stories! Here’s a few of our preferred locations to get you started.

Try the Local Craft Brews

Washington and Oregon have become increasingly well-known for their microbreweries. The craft beer here is truly unique, with one-of-a-kind notes of rich, fresh, and fruity flavors you just won’t quite find anywhere else. Each local brewery has a different style, both of beer and experience, much like the wineries.

Depending upon when you’re here, you can also sample some regionals suds at local festivals. The jovial atmospheres and community involvement make them some of the most favorite things to do in the Columbia River Gorge for locals. Here’s some Gorge Breweries and Beer Festivals:

Sports for the Thrill-Seekers

If you’re looking for thrilling adventure, try out the many water sport activities here. Whether you’re a seasoned expert or you’re just getting your feet wet for the first time, there’s something for everyone. Paddle out on your own or learn from a pro. You’ll no doubt take home some great memories. Here are some of our favorite water sports you can try:

Snow Sports

With all the snowfall Mt. Hood gets, there’s plenty of opportunity for snowplay if you’re here in the winter! Ski and snowboard down the mountain or enjoy a day of snowshoeing or hiking.

Come stay in a winter wonderland, then cozy up in front of the fire in your private cabin. Here are some of our favorite local snow sports:

Relaxing in the Gorge

Some vacations just call for a more relaxed pace, and the Gorge has you covered there too. Here are a few relaxing things to do in the Columbia River Gorge that’ll surround you with 360 degrees of PNW beauty.


If you ‘re looking for slower-paced, and even quieter, things to do in the Columbia River Gorge, the fishing here is off the charts. The Gorge offers an endless number of Washington State fishing opportunities for all levels of fishermen.

Whether you want to cast your line from the shore or embark on a boat escapade, you’ll find prime opportunities for reeling in amazing catches. Get ready to marvel at breathtaking canyon, cliff, and mountain views while you relax and get a catch!

Golf the Day Away

The natural oasis of the Columbia River Gorge has provided a stunning backdrop for the golf courses in the area. Our lush, green courses, many with river and mountain views, beckon all skill levels to get out and enjoy a day outdoors. Play a round of golf at courses like Beacon Rock, Skamania Lodge or Elk Ridge Golf Course.

Tour the Hood River Fruit Loop

A unique and scenic Hood River County Fruit Loop winds through the valley’s orchards, forests and farmlands. Sample delicious fruits and jams, visit Hood River wineries, and savor delicious baked goods. The Gorge boasts the title of the nation’s largest pear-growing region and is one of the few places that offers the complete experience of growing, producing, and then enjoying fruit and wine!

Education During Vacation

You may enjoy exercising your brain as much as your muscles. If you like to learn something new every day, why not learn something on vacation?

Learn about the night sky when you visit one of the United State’s largest telescopes at Goldendale Observatory State Park. Hear about the area’s history at the Bonneville Dam. Then, make your way to the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery. Here, you can get up close and personal with underwater wildlife and discover all there is to know about fish spawning. With so many fantastic things to do in the Columbia River Gorge, there’s also so much to learn. So, join us. Education awaits!

Romantic Things to Do in the Columbia River Gorge

If you’re planning a romantic getaway to the Gorge, is it possible you’ve got an unexpected surprise in mind for your travel partner?

With the many breath-taking waterfalls, exhilarating hikes and just the all-around Pacific Northwest beauty of the area, ‘popping the question’ to your sweetheart is one of the most romantic things to do in the Columbia River Gorge.

Or, perhaps you’re looking for a wedding venue, to celebrate an anniversary or maybe even savor some alone time in anticipation of a little bundle of joy?

No matter what kind of special, romantic moment you’re looking to share with your partner, this area has the perfect backdrop for all of it. With the magic, beauty and awe the region offers, it’s no wonder that planning a romantic getaway here is one of the most popular things to do in the Columbia River Gorge. Come see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

Ideas for Magical Gorge Moments with Your Partner

Make Our Cabins Your Base Camp

Now that you’ve discovered some of the most captivating things to do in the Gorge, book a stay in our cabins to enjoy after your day of adventure! Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins offers private, luxurious cabins in Carson, Washington. Deluxe amenities, delicious breakfasts and gorgeous views of the surroundings await you.

Located just 30 minutes from Hood River, an hour from Portland and just moments from countless adventures, our cabins make the perfect base camp for all the fun things to do in the Gorge!

Bringing your dog on your Gorge adventure? Great! We also offer dog-friendly cabins so you can visit this stunning region with Barkley at your side.

No matter what time of year, you’ll find our cabins are perfect for all the things you want to do in the Columbia River Gorge. Treat yourself to a vacation you and your partner won’t soon forget!

My wife & I have stayed at Carson Luxury Cabins for the past three years. The hosts, Richard & Theresa, do a fantastic job of making you feel so welcome in this beautiful chilled out environment that is so close to all of activities the Gorge & Columbia River provide. We'll be back again.

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