7 Natural Wonders on the Columbia River

Waterfalls, volcanoes, and wildlife to amaze you on a river cruise

The Bonneville Lock and Dam is a manmade marvel not to be missed on a river cruise along the Columbia River.
From thundering waterfalls to towering volcanoes, the Columbia River’s natural wonders never cease to amaze. Here are seven of Mother Nature’s masterpieces along this Pacific Northwest cruise route.

Columbia River Gorge: The border between Oregon and Washington is marked by this spectacular river canyon, home to 292,500 acres of mighty waterfalls, sweeping forest, wild rivers, and abundant wildlife. Ways to bask in all the gorge’s splendor include hiking, fishing, horseback riding, cycling, and more.

Mount St. Helens:America’s most famous volcano is spectacular to behold, 30 years after its historic eruption. The nearby observatory and interpretive center offers views of the active volcano’s blasted crater, for an amazing glimpse of nature’s incredible power.

Multnomah Falls: This is perhaps the most stunning waterfall inside the Columbia River Gorge. More than double the height of Niagara and one of the highest falls in the nation, this impressive, multi-tiered cascade is particularly beautiful during the colorful fall season.

Mount Hood: This active volcano is the highest point in Oregon, topped by a snowy peak with 11 glaciers. Adding to its beauty are the many lakes, rivers, and exotic wildflowers that make it beg to be explored.

Lewis and Clark Wildlife Refuge: Spanning 27 miles of the Columbia River and some 20 islands, this little-known refuge is a hidden gem for animal lovers. A few of the species that can be seen here include bald eagles, swans, harbor seals, sea lions, beavers, raccoons, and river otters.

Parks of Portland: Though helped along by man, it’s Mother Nature who is celebrated in Portland’s many vast parks and gardens. The 5,000-acre Forest Park will make you forget you’re in a city, while the International Rose Test Garden provides an idyllic oasis of some 8,000 rose bushes.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest:One of the United States’ oldest National Forests, Gifford Pinchot encompasses more than one million acres, including the 110,000-acred Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Special points of interest within the sprawling forest include Silver Star Mountain, Ape Cave – the longest known lava tube in the continental U.S. – and Packwood Lake.

Ready to sail the Columbia River? Start planning your river cruise here.

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