Visit Destinations

Your national forests and grasslands are 193 million acres of vast, scenic beauty waiting for you to discover. Visitors who choose to recreate on these public lands find more than 150,000 miles of trails, 10,000 developed recreation sites, 57,000 miles of streams, 122 alpine ski areas, 338,000 heritage sites, and specially designated sites that include 9,100 miles of byways, 22 recreation areas, 11 scenic areas, 439 wilderness areas, 122 wild and scenic rivers, nine monuments, and one preserve. And remember, “It’s All Yours.”

Rec Area Description Status
Mt. Hood Scenic Byway

Visit two amazing Forest Service sites in one day on this scenic byway, which runs through Mt. Hood National Forest and ends in the Scenic Area. Explore the route with this printable map or visit the Travel Oregon's website for an extended write-up.

Rec area marker Catherine Creek Loop

This 1.9 mile loop, northeast of the Catherine Creek Trailhead, offers spectacular wildflower viewing during the spring and passes within sight of a natural arch. The vicinity surrounding the arch is closed to protect resources and is marked off by a fence. Please help keep it nice for the next generation, and do not enter the closed area. 

At the moment, the trail on the ground is still in the process of being rerouted from the original path of the user-created trail to its officially approved route (determined during a 2012 planning process). In 2019, a new bridge was built along one of the final stretches of trail, so hikers no longer have to walk along Old Highway 8. Please respect any signs that redirect you from sections that are being decommissioned and do your best to stay on the official trail as we continue to improve the trail network on site.

Watch for poison oak, ticks, and rattlesnakes. This trail is lightly used during summer and winter, moderately used during fall, and heavily congested during spring. 

Note: Horses are not permitted on this trail. Dogs must be on leash year round. 

Rec area marker Columbia River - Oregon Shoreline Access

The Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area is home to one of the most spectacular stretches of the Columbia River. These state, county, and local parks provide shoreline access from the Oregon side. Be sure to check the relevant website for applicable fees, current conditions, and restrictions:

    • Cascade Locks - Blackberry Beach. This Port of Cascade Locks site is popular with windsurfers and kiteboarders due to a rocky access point to the Columbia River. Visit Website >  
    • Celilo Park. A small, well established park with shoreline access to the Columbia River maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Visit website >
    • The Dalles – Riverfront Park. Managed by North Wasco County Parks and Recreation, this park has a swimming area and river access. Visit website >
    • Hood River – Waterfront. World-famous site for windsurfing and kiteboarding areas, this area has designated swimming areas and safety zonesView website >
    • Koberg Beach State Scenic Recreation Site. This Oregon State Park is home to a launch site hidden from the nearby busy freeway by a great rock. Visit website >
    • Lewis and Clark State Park. One of the most popular swimming spots on the Sandy River is adjacent to this Oregon State Park. Visit website >
    • Mosier -- Mayer State Park. This Oregon State Park’s rocky shore offers swimming, boating, fishing and picnicking. Visit website >
    • Rooster Rock State Park. This Oregon State Park features swimming, windsurfing and kiteboarding, and a clothing optional beach. Visit website >
    • Viento State Park. This Oregon State Park has a day-use area with easy access to the Columbia River and some of the best windsurfing in the Gorge. Visit website >
    Rec area marker Columbia River - Washington Shoreline Access

    The Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area is home to one of the most spectacular stretches of the Columbia River, and within our boundaries lie a variety of state, county, and local parks that provide shoreline access from the Washington side. Be sure to check their website for applicable fees, current conditions, and restrictions:

    • Beacon Rock State Park. This freshwater shoreline on the Columbia River, maintained by Washington State Parks has strong currents. Visit website >
    • Dougs Beach State Park. On the Columbia River, this undeveloped day-use site is a Washington State Park well-suited for advanced windsurfers. Visit website >
    • Maryhill State Park. The Columbia River provides opportunities for stand-up paddleboarding, kiteboarding, windsurfing, and other water fun at this Washington State Park. Visit website >
    • Spring Creek Fish Hatchery State Park. This Washington State Park offers premier windsurfing and kiteboarding opportunities, with views of Mount Hood. Visit website >
    • Stevenson – Bob’s Beach. The City of Stevenson bills this as one of the windiest spots in the Gorge, and a web cam makes it easy to check current conditions. Visit website >
    Rec area marker HCRH (US 30) - Hood River

    This remaining section of the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) can be explored from I-84 exits 62 and 64. It heads past historic hotels and quaint shops and restaurants of downtown Hood River, leading east of town to the Mark O. Hatfield East visitor's center. There, the car-free Twin Tunnels segment of the HCRH State Trail allows bikers and pedestrians to continue to Mosier.  

    Just west of the interstate, visitors can follow the historic highway past charming gardens of the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel to tiny Ruthon Park, just west of I-84 Exit 62, which offers a picnic spot with great westward view of the Gorge. Shortly afterwards, the old highway simply ends. The last section to be completed will pick up here, and planning is underway to determine the best route around Mitchell Point to connect to the bike/walk path, which picks up again at Viento State Park.

    While you are in Hood River, you are always welcome to visit the Forest Service's National Scenic Area office on 902 Wasco Street (open 9-5) to buy maps and passes, or get sightseeing tips. 

    Rec area marker HCRH (US 30) - Mosier to The Dalles

    Full of outstanding panoramas, this section of the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) is a delightful drive. The world-famous loops that descend from the Rowena plateau to The Dalles is even a joy to drive on weekends, as its distance from Portland has kept it one of the Gorge's less-discovered secrets. Situated on the east end of the Cascades Range, it looks over a grassland ecosystem and is often sunny when other parts of the Gorge are raining. 

    Touring cyclists can connect this section of the trail to other trails in the The Dalles region or can continue from Mosier to Hood River on the Twin Tunnels segment of the HCRH State Trail. 

    Rec area marker Historic Columbia River Highway

    Constructed between 1913 and 1922, the original Columbia River Highway was designed to bring travelers to the most breathtaking sights and scenes in the Gorge. From the amazing loops at Rowena plateau to Multnomah Falls, its iconic and innovative design included rock walls, bridges earned it the nicknames "King of Roads" and "A Poem in Stone." It was a new type of motorway bringing automobile adventurers to the Gorge's "beauty spots", and many consider it to be America's first scenic highway.  

    Structures such as Vista House and Forest Service recreation sites Multnomah Falls and Eagle Creek were developed in conjunction with the highway to connect motorists to the Gorge's natural wonders. Parts of the original roadway were replaced by Interstate 84 in the 1960s, so in 1986 the National Scenic Area designation began a process to reconnect this inspiring pathway. 

    Thanks to interagency collaboration, the Historic Columbia River Highway (HCRH) State Trail winds through state, federal, and other lands. Travelers can discover waterfalls, vistas, and beautiful bridges as they explore the length of the Gorge, enjoying scenic rest stops along the way. Today, visitors can explore segments of the historic route by driving, biking, or heading out on foot. 

    Rec area marker Upper Labyrinth (#4424)

    Located just south of Atwood Road in Klickitat County, Upper Labyrinth Trail connects to Desert Parsley Trail to the east, leading to the Catherine Creek Area. To the west, it links up with Labyrinth Trail, providing spectacular views of the eastern Gorge. 

    Rec area marker Northwestern Park

    This park was the site of a reservoir, before Condit Dam's removal from the White Salmon River in 2011. Today, it is a small park managed by Pacific Power that provides a key take-out locations for boaters on the Lower White Salmon River Wild & Scenic River.

    Rec area marker Bonneville Trailhead

    Provides access to Tamanous Trail #27, which connects hikers to the Pacific Crest Trail.

    The parking area has plenty of room for horse trailers.

    This is also a Northern Pikeminnow collections station in the summer.