Special Places

While we like to think the entire Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a special place, within its boundaries lie several specially designated areas. These include a Wilderness, two Wild & Scenic Rivers, and a National Scenic Trail. We can also recommend some special getaways for those looking for facilities that meet requirements for accessibility.

National Scenic Area

A wide river flows between hills and bluffs.The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area has a unique set of protections to preserve the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources of the Gorge. Although we are managed by the Forest Service, we are slightly different from a National Forest. Learn more about what makes us special in the historic National Scenic Area Act. 

Wild and Scenic Rivers

The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress in 1968 (Public Law 90-542; 16 U.S.C. 1271 et seq.) to preserve certain rivers with outstanding natural, cultural, and recreational values in a free-flowing condition for the enjoyment of present and future generations. The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area manages the Klickitat and White Salmon Wild & Scenic Rivers.

Accessible Recreation in the National Scenic Area

Accessible Recreation Video SeriesFrom spectacular overlooks to stunning waterfalls, and riverside picnics to paved promenades, there are easy-to-access Gorge adventures to suit everyone's style!

Plan your trip with our interactive map or get new ideas by watching short videos of our best accessible adventures and facilities.


Mark O Hatfield WildernessOne of our nation's greatest treasures is the National Wilderness Preservation System established by the Wilderness Act of 1964. Wildernesses are lands designated by Congress to be protected and preserved in their natural condition, without permanent improvements or habitation. 

Many trails in the Columbia River Gorge provide access to Mark O Hatfield Wilderness. Please view the special regulations associated with Wilderness areas and always use Leave No Trace techniques to help keep these areas wild, clean, and pristine.

Pacific Crest Trail

View from Herman Creek TrailThe Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail #2000 crosses the Columbia River National Scenic Area and runs through Mark O Hatfield Wilderness. Find maps, conditions, information about the Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail here: www.pcta.org.