Parents & Teachers

The Columbia River Gorge has a lot of activities and learning opportunities that are perfect for parents and teachers.  Kids and adults alike will love some of the interpretive sites around the area like the Balfour Klickitat day use area and the St. Cloud and Sams Walker day use area. The Columbia River Gorge has a rich history displayed in the prehistoric and historic settlements in the area and the many geological formations. 

The wide range of elevation and precipitation in the gorge creates a diverse collection of ecosystems from the temperate rain forest at Oneonta Gorge (with an average annual precipitation of 75 inches (1,900 mm)) to the Celilo grasslands (with average annual precipitation 12 inches (300 mm), with a transitional dry woodland between Hood River and The Dalles.  Conifers such as, Bigleaf Maple, cottonwood, Oregon Ash, and Vine Maple dominate the western gorge.   The eastern gorge is home to Bigleaf Maple and Garry Oak.   A large variety of endemic wildflowers thrives throughout the gorge.

Atmospheric pressure differentials east and west of the Cascades create a wind tunnel effect in the deep cut of the gorge, generating 35 mph (56 km/h) winds that make it a popular windsurfing and kiteboarding location.

The gorge also contains a high concentration of waterfalls, with over 90 waterfalls on the Oregon side of the gorge alone. Many are along the Historic Columbia River Highway, including the notable 620-foot (190 m)-high Multnomah Falls.

It is important to get our kids involved with nature, both to keep kids active and learning about the world around them and to foster an appreciation in them that will continue throughout their lives.  


Columbia River Gorge Junior Ranger book (.pdf)

Log in to Nature Activity Book (.pdf) - Smartphones and the internet can be used to facilitate meaningful and fun outdoor experiences. This activity guidebook will help families do just that: get outside and play on our National Forests, all while harnessing the latest and greatest digital technology. Find out more at