Adventures Along the Washington Side of Columbia River Gorge

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The Washington side of the Gorge always has fantastic adventures. After all, what’s not to love about proximity, variety in terrain and totally unique options for food and fresh air? Any day is a true getaway in this breathtaking expanse of our Pacific Northwest home. So we’ve narrowed down a few humble suggestions for fab family hikes, threw in the must-visit (a pirate café that floats) and found you a kid-friendly low-key winery with amazing vino.

horse their falls


Hit the Trails
The Gorge is chock full of amazing hikes. Waterfalls, views, and this time of year – wildflowers – abound. On the Washington side, we are partial to these three hikes for their family-friendly locations, short durations (about two miles), not too crazy elevation changes and relative easy parking: Horsethief Butte Park (petroglyphs, rock climbers), Catherine Creek Arch Loop Hike (out and back or a loop option) and depending on your little amblers along for the trek either Beacon Rock or Little Beacon Rock Loop Hike (closest to home). As always keep an eagle eye out for poison oak.

catherine creek

The Happiest Hour(s)
Once you’ve gotten your legs stretched and your eyes deluged with amazing views, it’s time to move onto our new fave winery. Complete with hammocks, bocce and juice boxes (another type of grape juice after all) kindly distributed from the winery staff of Syncline Wine Cellars. All the amazing Rhone varietals are truly delightful, but we especially loved the Cinsault, Rose and the Mourvedre. The wee-est of your clan won’t be bored either – there’s little trikes and tractors that are a-ok for supervised climbing.

Syncline Wine Cellars
111 Balch Rd. 
Lyle, Wa 98635
Online: Syncline Wine Cellars

syncline 2

Ahoy Mateys!
After a fun filled day of hiking and wine tasting, now’s the time for much needed sustenance. On the way back to Portland, in Washougal, is The Puffin Café. This pirate-themed and floating cafe on the Columbia is just off of Highway 14 and nothing short of rad. Their menu is large with Caribbean fare and all the typical pub salads and sandwiches you and your buccaneers could want. Plus, after they’re done munching on octopus dogs and smiley fries, the kiddos get a trinket from the treasure chest and a sno-cone. Indoor and outdoor seating await, pirate decor keeps all eyes busy, but walking the plank (or the docks) to arrive is the coolest of all. Check out the boats moored across the way and if you’re lucky maybe some will have docked out front as well.

14S A St.
at the Port of Camas
Washougal, Wa 98671
Online: Puffin Cafe

puffin cafe 1

Photo: Puffin Café

Last Stop Shop
The Pendleton store is right here in Washougal as well. National Parks inspired blankets and classic wool gear? You may lose a few more hours browsing the racks, and your kid may never want to leave if they get inside one of their tepee tents!

2 Pendleton Way
Washougal, Wa 98671


Ready for an adventure in neighborly Washington and the always stunning Columbia River Gorge? Seriously, you’ll be thanking us by the end of the day! 

— Liz Overson

Photo credits to Justin Smith and Liz Overson unless indicated otherwise.


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