15 Best Things to Do in Cascade Locks, OR

Cascade Locks, OR
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Cascade Locks is a riverside city on the Columbia River Highway in Oregon.

Starting from its name, Cascade Locks would surely fascinate anyone who has not visited this city before.

This small Oregon City in Hood River County is a haven for outdoor adventurers.

Cascade Locks is home to some of the most breathtaking natural areas of Oregon and exciting activities you won't find anywhere else.

Whether you're visiting Cascade Locks for a quick trip or you want to explore the entire Hood River County, you will surely fall in love with Cascade Locks.

Admire its magical beauty, fantastic activities, and attractions.

Maybe you'll even consider moving there permanently.

Read this post about the best things to do in Cascade Locks, OR, if you want to know more about this city.

Check Out the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Welcome sign of Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
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There's no better way to start your Cascade Locks travel adventure than visiting the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Visiting this natural area 26 minutes east of Cascade Locks takes you to a front-row seat for the magical landscape of the Cascade Mountains.

This attraction in Cascade Locks is famous for its awe-inspiring basalt cliffs, waterfalls, and rolling mountains.

Emerald falls in Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
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As you stroll along the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area trails, the entire landscape grows bigger and grander, giving you a mesmerizing experience.

There are many ways to explore the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

You can either hike along the waterfront to discover its hidden waterfalls.

Otherwise, trek up to Dog Mountain for more scenic views of the canyon and the river itself.

Two people admiring the views from Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
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Cross the Bridge of the Gods

Aerial view of Bridge of the Gods
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From the name itself, the Bridge of the Gods would surely pique any tourist's curiosity.

You should also visit this famous bridge in Cascade Locks that crosses the famous Columbia River.

This famous bridge in Cascade Locks is famous for its beautiful architecture, size, and location.

The bridge instantly captivates anyone who would visit it.

The Bridge of the Gods earned its name through its structure and design.

It is a suspended steel truss cantilever bridge above the massive gorge.

Structure of Bridge of the Gods
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In addition, its name also comes from Native American lore, making this bridge more fascinating to explore.

The Port of Cascade Locks runs the famous infrastructure, spanning 1,127 feet in length and 44 feet high.

Finished in 1926, the bridge is still operational.

Crossing the famous Bridge of the Gods is a one-of-a-kind experience in Cascade Locks you shouldn't miss.

Don't forget to take lots of photos there for a souvenir.

The road of Bridge of the Gods
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Hike the Dry Creek Falls Trail

Cascades of Dry Creek Falls Trail
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Hiking through this scenic natural area in Cascade Locks takes you to a towering waterfall.

The Dry Creek Falls Trail is a famous hiking destination in Cascade Locks that is worth visiting.

The Dry Creek Falls Trail is part of a more extensive trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, which spans from Mexico to Canada, meandering the Colombia River Gorge.

Downstream of Dry Creek Falls Trail
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After you've conquered its 4.4-mile out-and-back nature trail within the Columbia River Gorge, you'll see the 74-foot-high waterfall.

In addition, hiking the Dry Creek Falls will surely test your mettle.

Its trail has an 885-feet elevation gain, which is challenging enough for hikers of all levels.

Hiking the Dry Creek Falls Trail is an excellent outdoor activity for your family or travel crew.

While hiking, you'll also see many scenic natural areas featuring Columbia River Gorge's flora and fauna.

Sip Excellent Craft Beer at the Thunder Island Brewing Co.

Cascade Locks' locals love to hang out and unwind, so you'll likely come across many breweries and wineries while exploring the city.

Take a break from exploring Cascade Locks' attractions and sip a mug of the finest beer from the Thunder Island Brewing Company.

Thunder Island Brewing is a local brewery dedicated to its city's renown in outdoor adventure.

Founded in 2013, this local brewery in Cascade Locks has grown, serving locals and visitors top-notch craft beer.

Visit its welcoming taproom for an afternoon of quality leisure time with your loved ones or travel buddies.

Enjoy the Outdoors at the Cascade Locks Marine Park

The grounds of Cascade Locks Marine Park
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For a quality outdoor activity in Cascade Locks, head to the Cascade Locks Marine Park.

This famous outdoor destination in Cascade Locks is a premier camping, fishing, picnicking, fishing, and sailing area in the city.

The Cascade Locks Marine Park is the best place to set up your camp and enjoy the breathtaking view of the city's natural scenery, especially the Columbia River Gorge.

The waters of Cascade Locks Marine Park
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This marine park has a top-notch children's playground, camping grounds, boat ramps, marina, open lawns, and picnic areas.

At the same time, Cascade Locks Marine Park is a stone's throw away from the city's famous attractions, making your stay or visit there extra convenient.

Visit the Bonneville Dam

Daytime view of Bonneville Dam
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Many people frequently visit the Bonneville Dam west of Cascade Locks for its exciting outdoor activities.

Bonneville Dam serves as a scenic outdoor destination in Hood River County.

Its massive wall of concrete cuts through the Columbia River Gorge.

This place is famous for its outdoor recreation and wildlife viewing at the Robins and Bradford Islands.

These small islands connect the entire Bonneville Dam.

Water spills through Bonneville Dam
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Still, they're more famous as outdoor destinations for locals and visitors to Columbia River Gorge.

Exploring these islands provides visitors a 360-degree view of the Columbia River Gorge through one of its observation decks.

Likewise, you can enjoy hiking, boating, and picnicking at Bonneville Dam.

At the same time, you'll come across local wildlife roaming the area while many visitors cast their lines beside the dam to catch some fish.

Bonneville Dam abounds in steelhead, coho, and sockeye salmon, which swim upstream during fall.

Water spilling through Bonneville Dam
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Take Another Hike at the Wahclella Falls

Scenic view of Wahclella Falls
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You're likely to find yourself hiking through Cascade Locks's picturesque trails.

So, you'll need to pack your hiking gear and boots when visiting Cascade Locks.

It has many trails to explore, taking you through various natural areas.

Close view of Wahclella Falls
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One of them is the Wachclella Falls' 3.1-kilometer trail, which is an easy route, perfect for beginners.

Nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts will have fun hiking through Wachclella Falls' trails because of its abundance of local wildlife such as birds and small mammals.

At the same time, you'll also see two beautiful waterfalls upon reaching the end of the Wachclella Falls' trail.

Downstream of Wahclella Falls
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Step inside the Cascade Locks Historical Museum

Exterior of Cascade Locks Historical Museum
Steven Pavlov, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A visit to the Cascade Locks Historical Museum is a fascinating experience, exploring the area's rich past.

This local museum in Cascade Locks Marine Park sits inside a 1905 house.

It opened in 1969 and remains a relevant place in history to this day.

The museum features Cascade Locks' historical artifacts, documents, photographs, artworks, and memorabilia from its past residents.

A few of the must-see historical artifacts inside the Cascade Locks Historical Museum are the River Locks, Columbia Gorge Native American History exhibit, and the Oregon Pony Locomotive.

The Oregon Pony steam locomotive is the most distinctive attraction in this museum, dating to the mid-1800s.

Get up close and take photos of this fantastic machine which transported products and passengers back in the day.

See Giant Sturgeons at Bonneville Hatchery

Daytime view of Bonneville Hatchery
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The Bonneville Hatchery adjacent to the Bonneville Dam is a must-visit place near Cascade Locks for its main attraction: the giant sturgeons.

Meet and greet the hatchery's "Herman the Sturgeon," a 400-pound, 60-year-old sturgeon that all guests love.

The Bonneville Hatchery has a dedicated sturgeon center that aims to improve the reproduction and repopulation of this magnificent fish in the region's waterways.

Rainbow trout in Bonneville Hatchery
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In addition, the Bonneville Hatchery has numerous exhibits featuring other fish species, making your visit there worthwhile.

Aside from sturgeons, you'll also see trouts, salmon, and catfish bred for repopulation.

Moreover, the Bonneville Hatchery is like a mini zoo, featuring other animals like birds of prey, wading birds, songbirds, and waterfowl.

Fish on the waters of Bonneville Hatchery
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Go on a River Cruise Aboard the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler

A docked Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler
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There's no better way to explore the scenic Columbia River Gorge than a river cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler.

The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler docks at the Cascade Locks Marine Park.

Hop on for a whole day of a river cruise along the famous waterway.

The Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler offers numerous sightseeing cruises along the Columbia River throughout the day, from May through October.

Aerial view of Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler
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During the two-hour river cruise, the boat will take the guests to the best spots of the Columbia River Gorge.

Listen to and see fascinating and fun narrated sightseeing excursions.

You'll pass the Native American Fishing Platforms, Bridge of the Gods, and Wind Mountain during the river cruise.

In addition, guests can also join weekend champagne brunch cruises and many other special events.

Play at the Locks Approach Disc Golf Course

Head to the Locks Approach Disc Golf Course for a relaxing but fun activity while in Cascade Locks.

Locks Approach Disc Golf Course features 18-holes, enough for a fun-filled morning activity.

On top of that, the Locks Approach Disc Golf Course in Cascade Locks offers free admission.

You'll have more reasons to try this unique sport while enjoying the idyllic view of the gorge.

This disc golf course is a popular place for locals to play this emerging sport, using the same mechanics as a conventional golf course.

However, you'll need a frisbee instead of the club and golf ball to play.

Take Gorgeous Photos at the Scenic Government Cove

Scenic view of Government Cove
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Go northeast of Cascade Locks to reach the scenic Government Cove.

The Columbia River Gorge surrounds this natural area, famous for visitors taking gorgeous photos of its natural scenery.

Government Cove features breathtaking views of the river, the craggy cliff sides, and rolling hills, making it an excellent location for photoshoots.

Mossy cliff of Government Cove
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Likewise, you can enjoy hiking, biking, and fishing are popular activities at the Government Cove.

For more outdoor adventure in Cascade Locks, the Government Cove is an excellent location that's not too far from the city.

The view from Government Cove
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Complete Your Hiking Experience at the Herman Creek Trailhead

If you have extra energy for one last hiking trip in Cascade Locks, head to the Herman Creek Trailhead.

The Herman Creek Trailhead is an excellent location for hiking in Cascade Locks that you must not miss.

This short hiking trail is famous for its massive basalt cliffs, which offer dramatic scenery while traversing the path.

In addition, you can also see several eroded remnants of the thick forest nearby, along with scenic vistas and waterfalls.

Sip a Glass of Fine Wine at the Landmass Wines

Reward yourself with a glass of wine at the Landmass Wines for completing your Cascade Locks travel adventure.

Landmass Wines is renowned for its top-notch sparkling, rose, and white wines from fruits harvested in Roge Valley and Underwood Mountain.

This winery in Cascade Locks produces over 1,800 cases of wine annually, with distribution throughout Oregon and Washington State.

Whether you're a wine connoisseur or an average tourist, you deserve to open a bottle of wine at this charming winery in Cascade Locks.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Browse the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum

This charming museum is in Stevenson, Washington, six minutes across Cascade Locks.

The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum is a fascinating place to explore, especially for those curious about the area's rich history.

The museum features exhibits, galleries, and artifacts that detail the natural history and human stories of the Columbia River Gorge.

Currently, the Skamania County Historical Society manages the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum.

It collects and preserves all relevant historical artifacts and memorabilia from locals.

Check out the famous time prints of the millennia and wall carvings found on Columbia Gorge dating back thousands of years.

Final Thoughts

Consider visiting Cascade Locks if you're looking for a memorable outdoor adventure.

You won't regret exploring this unassuming city's attractions because of its unspoiled natural beauty and fascinating backstories.

Cascade Locks is an excellent weekend destination for those coming in from Portland, Vancouver, and Seattle.

No matter where you come from, though, Cascade Locks is still a top-notch destination.

Book your trip today!