The Columbia River Gorge, known just as ‘The Gorge’ to Washington residents is a powerful force of nature that pierces the Cascade Mountain Range. Draped with dramatic scenery varying from rain forest vegetation to monumental cliffs and arid semi-desert ridges, the Gorge provides areas of spectacular hiking and outcrops that bestow glorious vistas of the river and wildlife below.
Along the river places like Beacon Rock and Columbia Hills beckon you to visit. Beacon Rock is an awe-inspiring geographical landmark, standing 840-feet high, this basalt plug is a remnant from the last ice age. At Columbia Hills tubing and hiking are popular activities along the fresh water shoreline. The most commanding feature here is Horsethief Butte which dominates the skyline over the state park. Located on the Lewis and Clark Trail, Columbia Hills once served as a campsite for the famous explorers.
Nearby, in Maryhill, Washington you may want to visit the full-scale replica of Stonehenge that stands as a memorial to local soldiers who died in WWI. Every Memorial Day sees a renewed dedication to the monolithic man-made stone structure near The Gorge.
The Gorge Amphitheater is one of the places that The Gorge is most well-known for. With seating for 27,500, taking in a concert at this outdoor venue is on the top of many music fans’ lists. Over the years The Gorge has been the site of large music festivals like the annual Sasquatch! Music Festival, Lollapalooza and Vans Warped Tour.
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Columbia Hills Historic State Park provides superb access to the Columbia River Gorge and outdoor recreation. Once the site of a Wishram village and a camping ground for Lewis and Clark, the rich history of the park can be found preserved in artifacts in rock ledges. Among these Horsethief Butte is a favorite for rock climbers while water buffs delight in activities like swimming and boating in Horsethief Lake below.