Do you want to see the sights on some of the scenic drives in the Gorge but stay close to the car? By using a combination of state, county and forest roads, one can enjoy the awesome and beautiful scenery found in the Columbia River Gorge and surrounding area. For a better look at the region, try one of these Oregon or Washington scenic tours.
For assistance on your next scenic drive, refer to the Columbia River Gorge map, click here.
NOTE: Drive times listed below are dependent upon sight-seeing and traffic.
Mt. St. Helens
Drive time: 2.5 hours
The quickest way to see Mt. St. Helens is via the Carson route. Follow Hwy 14 to Carson, head north on Hwy 30 (Wind River Highway). Just beyond the Carson National Fish Hatchery, turn right towards the Wind River Recreation Area. At the top of Oldman Pass, turn left at FS 51 Curly Creek, look for the McClellan Viewpoint for an outstanding distant view of the mountain. Continue on FS 90, head north on FS 25, and left on FS 99 which will take you to Windy Ridge and Spirit Lake, offering amazingly close views of this spectacular volcano.
NOTE: This scenic drive from Carson to Windy Ridge is 2.5 hours. This route is seasonal and closed during the winter.
Mt. Adams Country Tour
Drive time: 2 hours
Take Hwy 141 from Bingen, Washington to BZ Corners and head east on The Goldendale/Glenwood Road towards Glenwood. Continue west towards Trout Lake returning to Hwy 141 south to Hwy 14. This is a two hour trip with spectacular views of Mt. Adams.
Klickitat River Trail
Drive time: 2 hours
Explore this two-hour adventure on the wild and scenic Klickitat River north of Lyle on Hwy 142, then continue to Goldendale. Travel south on Hwy 97 returning to Hwy 14, then head west back to Lyle.
Highway 14 West Loop
Drive time: 1.5 hours
Running beside the Columbia River through the entire county, State Route 14 is a Scenic Byway known as the Lewis and Clark Trail. Although it stretches from the Idaho border to the Pacific Ocean, the route’s 47-mile traverse through Skamania County is often called its most scenic section. The highway crosses the Cascade Mountains near sea level, allowing year-round transit and easy access to four seasons of outdoor beauty and activity. Starting in Stevenson, travel west on State Route 14 passing by Bridge of the Gods, Bonneville Dam and Beacon Rock. Make sure to pull off on top of Cape Horn for the majestic view looking east down the Columbia River. End your trip in Washougal and Camas and back track east to Stevenson via State Route 14.
Historic Columbia River Highway
Drive time: 1-2 hours
This is one of Oregon’s favorite scenic drives. Traveling along the historic highway you will be able to view waterfalls and amazing Gorge scenery. Follow the signs through the charming town of Troutdale and over the Sandy River to the Historic Columbia River Highway. The road follows the Sandy River, then climbs past orchards through the communities of Springdale and Corbett, offering views of Mt. Hood. At the Portland Women’s Forum State Scenic overlook, you will see a jaw-dropping view of the Columbia River and the Cascade Mountains. The Vista House is the next stop at Crown Point, a must-see rest area. A 12-mile section of the Historic Highway is open to John Yeon State Park.
Larch Mountain Viewpoint
Drive time: 1.5 hours from Larch Mountain Road
Travel along the Historic Columbia River Highway east of Corbett, until you see a fork in the road with a sign for Larch Mountain on the right. If you get to Vista House you have gone too far. The drive up Larch Mountain is 14 miles from the highway. Once there, a short trail leads from a picnic area to a panoramic viewpoint. From this 4,000-foot-high extinct volcano, visitors enjoy a sweeping view of the Columbia River Gorge and many of the major peaks including Mt. Hood, Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Jefferson.
NOTE: The road to the summit is closed in the winter.
Rowena Crest Lookout Drive
Drive time: 30 minutes from Mosier
From the town of Mosier, continue east along the Historic Columbia River Highway climbing gradually for seven miles to the top of Rowena Crest Lookout. The scenery will take your breath away from this popular viewpoint. Continue down the long winding road known as the Rowena Loops, to the town of The Dalles.
Drive time: Varies
This 35-mile scenic drive known as the Fruit Loop has something for everyone. As you drive along the Loop past gorgeous pear, cherry, apple, nectarine and peach orchards, you’ll find farm stands, wineries, breweries, cideries, alpaca ranches, lavender farms, plus great jams, jellies, pies, wines, beer and more. Visit 29 unique attractions as you travel the scenic Hood River Valley with outstanding views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams.
NOTE: Maps for this route are available at Hood River Chamber visitor center or online at www.hoodriverfruitloop.com.
Historic Desert Loop
Drive time: 2.5 hours
Escape the rain by heading to the southeastern section of Wasco County. From The Dalles, head straight on Hwy 197 towards Maupin and Dufur. Travel through the farmlands and wheat ﬁelds and visit the ghost town of Shaniko. When you reach Hwy 97, head north through Shaniko and Moro to connect back to Interstate 84 at Biggs. Return via I-84 to The Dalles.
Mt. Hood Scenic Byway
Drive time: 2-3 hours
This is a day trip that is absolutely worth your time! Loop around 11,245 foot Mt. Hood and take in the countless panoramic viewpoints and natural wonders along the way. The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway takes visitors on a majestic route around the edge of this iconic landmark, being exposed to some of the state’s most stunning scenery and sought after recreation destinations. From Hood River travel south on Hwy 35 and from Gresham travel west on Hwy 26. You can venture back on Hwy 14 on the Washington side of the Columbia River or I-84 in Oregon.
West Cascades Scenic Byway
Drive time: 4-6 hours
Leaving Estacada, this scenic drive follows the Clackamas River for the next several miles and you will enter the Mt. Hood National Forest, where you will find many opportunities for hiking and picnicking. The West Cascades mountain range bursts with lush old-growth forest scenery, mountain lakes and rushing rivers. This is a bike-friendly route as it doubles as the Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway between Estacada and Detroit.
Featured Scenic Drive
Two States Bridge Tour
Drive time: 2-3.5 hours
Travel on both sides of the river and experience the majestic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge in both Washington and Oregon. A scenic drive on Interstate 84 on the Oregon side to Hwy 14 on the Washington side will take you on a beautiful tour along the Columbia River. You will have options to cross the Hood River Bridge, The Dalles Bridge, the Biggs Bridge or the Bridge of the Gods. Views of Mt. Hood, Dog Mountain, Drano Lake and Coyote Wall are sites along the way.
Don’t feel like driving? Sit back, relax and avoid parking hassles.
See below websites to take advantage of several car-free options and guided tours.
Leave your car in Portland, hop on the train! Trips each day, eastbound and westbound, from the Bingen and Wishram stations.
Bridge of the Gods Shuttle
Columbia Area Transit (CAT)
Providing a fixed schedule, Monday through Friday with service between Hood River and Portland; along with Monday–Friday service between Hood River, Cascade Locks, The Dalles, Parkdale and Odell. / ridecatbus.org
Columbia Gorge Car-free
Visit website: columbiagorgecarfree.com
Columbia Gorge Express
Columbia Gorge Expresses daily service will take you from Portland’s Gateway Transit Center to Rooster Rock State Park, Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River and The Dalles.
Explore The Gorge
Scenic tours and shuttle services for any occasion. / explorethegorge.com
Explore The Dalles’ Saturday Explorer Shuttle
Catch the shuttle in Hood River and spend the day in The Dalles. Summers only and only on Saturdays.
Transportation in the Mt. Hood area.
541-399-5060 / gorgetaxi.com
Gorge to Mt. Hood Express
Skip the parking and visit Mt. Hood car-free. Serving Hood River, Parkdale, Odell and Mt. Hood Meadows. / ridecatbus.org
Service from Portland to Hood River and The Dalles. / greyhound.com
Hood River Pedicab and Taxi Service
Solar powered pedal transport and taxi van service. / hoodriverpedicab.com
Martin’s Gorge Tours
Guided tours of all kinds! Wildflowers, waterfalls, hiking, wineries, breweries and shuttle services. / martinsgorgetours.com
Travel and transport services.
Mt. Adams Transportation
Fixed bus route that goes from White Salmon to Bingen to Hood River, to The Dalles. 7 am–7 pm, Monday–Friday.
509-493-4662 / gorgetranslink.com
Mt. Hood Express
Runs from Sandy all the way up to Timberline with stops at Sandy Ridge Trail System, Mt. Hood Villages, Government Camp and Timberline Lodge. / mthoodexpress.com
Jump on the open-air Pink Trolley with a fixed route between Hood River’s waterfront, downtown and The Heights. Weekends only, no winter service. / ridecatbus.org/pink-trolley
Sherman County Transit
The Link in Wasco County
Explore the Gorge
CUSTOM TOURS AND SHUTTLE SERVICES
EXPLORE THE GORGE is a local transportation company specializing in small groups and families. We offer an intimate experience you are sure to enjoy. We offer a variety of vehicles to fit most, if not all your transportation needs. From anniversary parties to wine tasting, brewery tours to weddings, and everything in between. Your satisfaction, safety and comfort are our top priorities. If you are looking for a hassle free excursion, please contact us!
541-386-2384 visit website
EXPLORE THE HOOD RIVER VALLEY
Visit all twenty-six of our member farm stands. Enjoy their seasonal bounty of award-winning wines, cider, fruit, vegetables, flowers, delicious food, and artisan gifts. Experience spectacular scenery and breathtaking views of majestic Mt. Hood! Pick up a map along the way, or visit our website.
541-490-7713 visit website
Martin’s Gorge Tours
SHUTTLE SERVICES and GUIDED TOURS
Explore the Columbia River Gorge like a local. With Martin’s Gorge Tours you enjoy custom experiences. Discover area attractions from waterfalls to wineries, breweries, cideries, historical sites, scenic drives, invigorating hikes and interpretive nature walks. Our local premier guides are experts in all things “Gorge” and they want to share their passion for The National Scenic Area. Individuals, couples, groups, weddings, reunions and more — we have you covered. Shuttles also available.
503-349-1323 visit website