The Best Columbia River Gorge Tours from Portland

by Allie d'Almo  |  Published August 4, 2022

Home to high waterfalls and spectacular sweeping landscapes, Columbia River Gorge has enthralled humans for thousands of years. With dozens of tours operating every day, Portland is the perfect gateway to the spectacular sight. 

Best Columbia River Gorge Tours from Portland

This half-day tour ticks off Columbia River Gorge’s most dazzling sights (Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

Columbia River Gorge was carved some 15,000 years ago by glaciers and floods. Splicing between the states of Oregon and Washington, the river meanders across roughly 2,000 km of rocky mountains, canyons and wildflower fields, making it the largest river in the Pacific Northwest. The gorge itself is located just 48 km east of Portland and offers up epic vistas, jaw-dropping waterfalls and miles of hiking trails. You could drive, but one of the easiest and most affordable ways to explore the area is on a tour. There are dozens to choose from, so we’ve scoured the internet for the best Columbia River Gorge tours from Portland based on itinerary, customer reviews and value for money. 

Portland: Half-Day Tour of Multnomah Falls and Columbia River 

This half-day coach tour is an excellent option for those looking to exchange the hustle and bustle of central Portland for the Columbia River Gorge. The itinerary follows the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the pair commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson to find a practical route across the western half of the continent before the Europeans could get there. Departing early in the morning, the tour stops off at key sights, including Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls and Lodge and Beacon Rock. From £53.53 per person

Book at GetYourGuide.com

From Portland: Columbia Gorge Waterfalls Tour

This half-day tour is ideal for those who prefer to travel in small groups (Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

If you like the sound of the first itinerary but prefer travelling in a smaller crowd, this small-group tour along Columbia Gorge’s most famous waterfalls is ideal. Departing from downtown Portland, the tour follows one of the country’s most scenic road routes, stopping at panoramic points along the way. Passengers can also hop off at Bonneville Fish Hatchery and take a short tour of the fascinating facility and viewing centre. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet local celeb “Herman the sturgeon” too. From £66.07 per person. 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Cascade Locks: Columbia Gorge Sunday Brunch Cruise 

If you don’t mind travelling out of town, this Sunday cruise is a good option for those looking to explore the iconic gorge by water. The cruise departs from Cascade Locks, where guests are shown to their private table and served a tasty brunch with coffee and champagne. As the boat sails along the river, the captain of the authentic sternwheeler will point out local landmarks and share insights into local history and stories. There’s live entertainment too, as well as a chance to take in panoramic views of the Gorge from the observation deck. From £78.62. 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Portland: Columbia Gorge Flight Tour 

Hit the heights for an alternative perspective (Photo: GetYourGuide.com)

Those with a head for heights and looking for an alternative perspective of the iconic river might want to consider this unusual Columbia Gorge Flight Tour. The 20-minute trip offers up jaw-dropping views over the gorge, Mount Hood and Portland from a small plane. Flights can accommodate a maximum of three participants at a time, ideal for small families, groups of friends and couples. Tours depart throughout the day, though it’s worth booking in advance for the prime spot at sunset. From £99 per person. 

Book at GetYourGuide.com

Portland: Mount Hood Wine and Waterfalls Full-Day Tour

Those looking to combine their gorge tour with another activity will be hard-pressed to find a better-rated activity than this. The full-day tour winds around Columbia Gorge and through the verdant landscapes of Willamette Valley and Hood River Valley, renowned for their hazelnuts, berries, Christmas trees and Pinot Noir Wine. Guests stop off for a full farm-to-table lunch experience, with wine tastings at two wineries in the region. The tour is available for private hire and small groups too. From £142.18 per person. 

Book at GetYourGuide.com