15 Best Things to Do in Carson, WA

Carson, WA
Danita Delimont / shutterstock.com

Best visited during summer, Carson offers a charming countryside feel that captivates visitors from various places.

Situated north of the Columbia River, this Washington town is rich in scenic natural wonders and historical sites.

Settlements in this town began in the 1870s and 1880s.

These communities were called Ash because of the Oregon Ash trees that grew in the place at the time.

The town was later named Carson, after a creek in the same location.

Though the town's population is considerably low at just more than 2,700, the economy remains good, and its culture, education, and arts continue to draw tourist attention.

Attractions offering experiences with nature are a hit in this locality.

Here are the best things to do in Carson, Washington:

Set up Camp at Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Panther creek falls at Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Mark A Lee / Shutterstock.com

Serving as an entry point to Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Carson offers numerous activities to thrill seekers looking to explore part of the 1.32 million acres of mountains, forests, and watersheds.

The national forest was named after politician and forester Gifford Pinchot, whose advocacy is for the protection and management of forests.

You can set up camp in the forest or near the mountains and enjoy the beauty and sound of nature with your travel companions.

People hiking at Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Bob Pool / Shutterstock.com

Aside from this, you can also discover other areas in the expansive national forest, including the wilderness where wildlife is abundant and the valley area where three volcanoes are located.

Fishing, hunting, and horse riding are your other options for activities when you visit Gifford Pinchot National Forest.

Scenic view from Gifford Pinchot National Forest hiking trail
Dee Browning / Shutterstock.com

Relax and Rejuvenate at Carson Mineral Hot Springs Resort

Located along St. Martins Springs Road, Carson Mineral Hot Springs Resort is a hidden gem among tall trees in the Columbia River Gorge.

The quaint bath house is known for its hot spring bath experience, which started in the 1930s.

Unlike other spas that offer high-end amenities, the Carson Mineral Hot Springs Resort provides guests with an old-fashioned way of reconnecting with nature and a temporary escape from busy life.

It also prides itself on the healing mineral water utilized in its bathhouse.

This is said to benefit your health, especially in reducing stress and easing body pains.

If you are looking for a place to relax, Carson Mineral Hot Springs Resort is a must-visit during your trip.

Chug Draft Beer at Backwoods Brewing Company

Known for its draft beers, Backwoods Brewing Company offers various beer flavors to suit the tastes of different customers.

A drive towards Wind River Highway will take you to the brewery owned by the Waters family, who brewed beers from the comfort of their homes.

Some of their draft beer offerings include the aromatic Blueberry Wheat, malty Winchester Brown, citrus-flavored Logyard Ipa, and the orange and grapefruit-flavored Hazy in the Gorge.

These beverages are also complemented by a food menu that offers salads, grilled sandwiches, pizza, and smoked meat.

Live band performances are also done at Backwoods Brewing Company on weekends.

If you like the mix of music and beer, head to this Carson brewery.

Reserve Tee Time at Elk Ridge Golf Course

If you love playing golf and are looking for a vast and luscious green course, Elk Ridge Golf Course on St. Martins Springs Road is a promising destination.

The golf course is highly rated by golf players because of the well-maintained play area, gorgeous nature views, and friendly staff.

The mountain and river views are stunning and incomparable.

This par 71 golf facility also offers food and refreshments to visitors, so you will surely not go hungry when you play here.

Elk Ridge Golf Course also hosts birthdays, weddings, trips with friends or family, and other celebrations.

Try Fish Viewing at Carson National Fish Hatchery

To preserve fish and other aquatic resources, Carson National Fish Hatchery was established in the 1930s.

This hatchery aims to release more than a million of a specific fish variety to the Columbia River every year in hopes of recovering fish losses due to natural or man-made causes.

When you visit this hatchery along Wind River Highway, you can see how a fish nursery filled with salmon eggs and fingerlings is maintained.

During your visit, a detailed explanation of the stages of hatching will also be given.

Aside from fish viewing, you can also try hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography of animals in the wild at Carson National Fish Hatchery.

Walk the Whistle Punk Trailhead Loop

The 1.5-mile stretch of the Whistle Punk Trailhead along the Wind River Highway in Carson promises a worthwhile and educating journey.

From a vintage railroad to metal and wood artifacts, the loop will surely feed your curious mind with historical information about the place.

History is not all there is about the Whistle Punk Trailhead since it is surrounded by scenic landscapes, including a forest and wetlands.

You can stop for a rest and enjoy the beauty of the scenery along the trail.

If you want to extend your adventure here, you can book a cabin near Carson Ridge Luxury Cabins and enjoy a night's stay.

Accommodations are complete with amenities to ensure that you are well rested and ready for another adventure the following day.

Climb the Wind Mountain Trail

A stunning view of the mountain and river is assured when you climb the Wind Mountain Trail.

The uphill and sometimes rocky trail is mostly through a forest of very tall trees.

You may need an estimated two hours to reach the summit, where you can marvel at the beauty of Dog Mountain.

According to a marker near the Wind Mountain Trail summit, early settlers built rock piles, walls, and pits, forming a significant part of the trail.

People belonging to tribes in Carson consider this a sacred area because of its history.

If you want an adventure with nature, try hiking this excellent trail.

It may be challenging, but you will surely appreciate the beauty when you reach the top.

Snap a Photo at the High Bridge

True to its name, the High Bridge near Wind River Highway is indeed high.

This 260-foot-tall structure is considered an architectural wonder.

Constructed in the 1950s, the bridge has undergone rebuilding and renovation to keep it open for vehicles going in and out of Carson.

Because of its towering beauty, the High Bridge is an Instagrammable destination you should not miss during your trip.

Its top view is breathtaking, while a photo from the river going up the bridge is also a beauty to appreciate and preserve.

Other Things to Do Nearby

During your trip to Carson, you can also head to nearby attractions that offer exciting activities for you and your group.

A few minutes' drive from the town will already take you to these destinations.

Hike to the Falls Creek Falls

Scenic view of the beautiful Falls Creek Falls
Mr. James Kelley / Shutterstock.com

For adventure seekers, the Falls Creek Falls along NF-3062 will be a challenging experience.

This attraction is a 26-minute drive from Carson.

The breathtaking three-level waterfall is worth the long hike and difficult trail.

Lush greenery surrounding Falls Creek Falls
Stephen Moehle / Shutterstock.com

Estimated to be completed in around three hours, the trail to the Falls Creek Falls involves steep paths with rocks, trees, big branches, and water streams.

A hike to the edge of the falls is recommended for more daring hikers, especially if you want to get splashed by water.

If you would like a better view, climb to the middle of the Falls Creek Falls and enjoy the scene of the trail leading up to it.

Suspension bridge at Falls Creek Falls
JPL Designs / Shutterstock.com

If you are a lover of the arts, visit The River House Art Gallery and Studio III in Stevenson, which is around six minutes from Carson.

This modest art gallery features the work of many local artists, including owner and Stevenson artist Marilyn Bolles.

Known for her watercolor paintings, Bolles exhibits her painting at The River House Art Gallery and Studio III to showcase how she views the world on her own canvas and how she utilizes every detail to give life to her art.

Aside from her watercolor paintings, the gallery also features paintings on glass and woven baskets, among others.

Bolles also offers art workshops and classes in the community.

When you visit Carson, make time for this small yet captivating art gallery where you can maybe find an art piece worth taking home.

Fall in Love with Charming Alpacas at Cedar Creek Alpacas

Situated on Mcnichols Road in the Columbia River Gorge, the Cedar Creek Alpacas farm offers tours and interactions with charming and cute alpacas.

This livestock farm is around 20 minutes from Carson via private car.

Cedar Creek Alpacas started its operations in 2009 and presently has more than 30 alpacas roaming around the farm.

Tours are available for visitors who wish to see and feed the alpacas.

A Fiber Studio is also open and features spinning and weaving blankets and scarves.

If you fall in love with these alpacas and may want to take them home, the farm allows visitors to adopt them.

Those in charge of the farm also offer guidance and training to new owners on growing and breeding alpacas.

Visit and Cross the Bridge of the Gods

Daytime view of the Bridge of the Gods
Mariusz S. Jurgielewicz / Shutterstock.com

Connecting Washington and Oregon, the Bridge of the Gods is the gateway to your adventure in Oregon and is just a 13-minute drive from Carson.

Imagine crossing the Columbia River to reach another state in just a few minutes using this picturesque toll bridge.

Established at Cascade Locks in the 1920s, the Bridge of the Gods traces its history as early as 1100 AD, when a bridge in the same location was formed after a landslide.

The structure of the Bridge of the Gods
jejim / Shutterstock.com

It is said to have collapsed around the 1690s.

You can pass through the bridge anytime since it is open 24 hours.

Bicycles and pedestrians can also use and access the Bridge of the Gods.

Truss of the Bridge of the Gods
Vitpho / Shutterstock.com

Score a Novel at North Bank Books

For bibliophiles looking to score their next book, North Bank Books in Stevenson has a great collection of titles for various readers.

Positioned along Russell Avenue, this bookstore is a small yet comprehensive shop offering books on culture, outdoors, mythology, plants, and even birds.

Take a seven-minute drive from Carson to Stevenson to explore this wonder and check its collection of books, gifts, and cards for all occasions.

Book reading and signing events with authors are also done at North Bank Books.

If you love to read, this nearby place is a must-visit when you take a trip to Carson.

Final Thoughts

Carson's history and natural beauty are the top reasons why this place is a must-see destination.

The town promises a worthwhile learning experience for tourists.

If you are eager to learn more about it, prepare your itinerary and enjoy the best things to do in Carson, Washington!

Spotted a mistake, have some feedback, or just want to chat with our editorial team? Click here to get in touch.
Find out more about Travel Lens and read our editorial guidelines here.