The Columbia Gorge

Portland, Oregon

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1 Review
4 out of 5
Over millions of years, lava floods, glaciers and the river’s timeless carving have created the spectacular Columbia Gorge. This paddle offers some of its best scenery, including steep basalt cliffs, a rock island, sandy beaches, stunning waterfalls, and Lewis and Clark encampments. The Great River of the West, the Columbia River, forms the state boundary between Washington and Oregon, and is renowned for its power and immensity, its mysterious beauty and its fascinating human history. By volume, it is the second-largest river in North America, its tributaries draining nearly 673,400 square km (260,000 sq. mi.). Its shores are lined with glacier-carved cliffs, golden sand beaches and views of magnificent volcanoes. Along this liquid highway have traveled finely crafted Native American canoes, the high-prowed bateaux of the French fur-trading voyageurs, the rough dugouts of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery, steamboats transporting gold seekers and gamblers, and today’s international cargo ships. A journey along the lower Columbia River is spectacular and fascinating, a rich melange of gorgeous landscapes, historical sites and working ports of call.

The Columbia Gorge Professional Review and Guide

"Over millions of years, lava floods, glaciers and the river’s timeless carving have created the spectacular Columbia Gorge. This paddle offers some of its best scenery, including steep basalt cliffs, a rock island, sandy beaches, stunning waterfalls, and Lewis and Clark encampments. The Great River of the West, the Columbia River, forms the state boundary between Washington and Oregon, and is renowned for its power and immensity, its mysterious beauty and its fascinating human history. By volume, it is the second-largest river in North America, its tributaries draining nearly 673,400 square km (260,000 sq. mi.).

Its shores are lined with glacier-carved cliffs, golden sand beaches and views of magnificent volcanoes. Along this liquid highway have traveled finely crafted Native American canoes, the high-prowed bateaux of the French fur-trading voyageurs, the rough dugouts of Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery, steamboats transporting gold seekers and gamblers, and today’s international cargo ships. A journey along the lower Columbia River is spectacular and fascinating, a rich melange of gorgeous landscapes, historical sites and working ports of call."

Activity Type: Sea Kayaking
Nearby City: Portland
Skill Level: Moderate to Difficult
Duration: 1 - 2 days
Season: Best spring through fall
Local Maps: 18531: Vancouver, WA to Bonneville Dam
Driving Directions: Directions to The Columbia Gorge

Recent Trail Reviews

4/7/2006
0

The Columbia Gorge is a national scenic area. http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/forest/ tells you what recreational activities are available and what The Gorge is. Bonneville Dam segments the river and The Gorge is long enough that paddle trips need to be planned accordingly. Sometimes this canyon provides a gentle paddle, however paddlers should be prepared for more challenging conditions. The river has commercial boat traffic from barges to tour boats. Make yourself familiar with the shipping channel. Water temperatures range from 40 F from January to March and reach the low 70s in late July or early August. The other hazard is that The Gorge channels wind. Typically east wind effects the downstream portion of the river while west wind effects the upstream portion. Wind is channeled through The Gorge at 25 mph or greater and can generate swells to 6 feet in select locations. This is a world destination for windsurfers for a reason. Respect this river and you'll do fine. I recommend the 20+ mile route from Hamilton Island in Bonneville to Steamboat Landing near the Washougal River along the Washington Shore. You'll get to view the basalt features of Beacon Rock, Phoca Rock and Cape Horn, view wildlife (bald eagles, salmon, sometimes even sea lions) and a park with Lewis and Clark era replica canoes (cement). If you want more information about Portland area paddling go to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PDXseakayaker/?yguid=192342472 the paddling community here loves to share.



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May 2018