Cascade Locks Trip Ideas

Where to play before or after your trip

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Thunder Island Stroll

[30 mins / 1 mile]

This is a short walk from downtown along the Marina park with breathtaking views of the river. 

From the Columbia Market, walk east.

Just past Eastwind Drive-In you’ll see a path going down the hill to the north.

This leads you under the train tracks and to the Port, where you can walk along the locks and cross the bridge over to Thunder Island.

Meander.

Then walk back the same way you came. 


TRAVEL DETAILS

OPTION 1

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 10am from Gateway.
  • Arrive 10:45am in front of Columbia Market.
  • Leave 11:30am in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 45 mins total in town.
    • Just enough time to breath in the fresh air.

OPTION 2

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 12:30pm from Gateway.
  • Arrive 1:15pm in front of Columbia Market.
  • Leave 3pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 1 hour and 45 mins total in town.
    • This timing gives you an extra hour to catch lunch at one of the great brewpubs or restaurants in town.

OPTION 3

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 4pm from Gateway.
  • Arrive 4:45pm in front of Columbia Market.
  • Leave 5:35pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 50 mins total in town.
    • Time to grab coffee to go for the way home. 

Historic Hwy Trail to the Gorge Trail Loop

[1 hour / 3 miles]

This is an easier walk and great for families.

From Columbia Market, follow the main street (Wa Pa Na) west for 0.3 miles to the Bridge of the Gods mural. (10 mins)

Then keep walking west along the Historic Columbia Gorge State Hwy Trail for 1 mile when you cross under the freeway. (20 mins)

Turn left onto the Gorge Trail #400 and follow it back east towards town for 1 mile until you reach Harvey Rd. (30 mins) 

Follow the road north under the freeway for 2 blocks turning left on Venture Street. The main street of Cascade Locks (and the bus stop for the Columbia Gorge Express) is just one block down.  (5 mins from Harvey Rd)

Add an extension to Mossy Grotto Falls for an additional 1 hour and 15 mins + 2.5 miles.

Note: No passes or permits are required if you arrive by bus!

TRAVEL DETAILS
  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 12:30pm from Gateway.
  • Arrive 1:15pm in front of Columbia Market.
  • Walk the loop. 
  • Leave at 3pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 1 hour and 45 mins total in town.
    • You should have an extra 45 minutes to wander or grab a foot-tall ice cream at Eastwind Drive-In.
    •  

PCT to Dry Creek Loop

[2 hours / 5 miles]

This hike leads to a gorgeous waterfall and through deep, large tree forests along the way. Some say sturdy boots are good for the parts that are muddy and rocky. 

  • Walk .5 miles from the bus stop at Columbia Market to the start of the PCT trail. (Head west on main street past Thirsty Coffee, turn left on Venture St and walk one block then turn right on Moody street and walk 3 blocks. Trailhead is on left just after crossing under the highway). (10 mins) 
  • Follow PCT trail 1.5 miles east until it reaches Dry Creek (45 mins)
  • Turn right (south) and follow the trail .2 miles to the waterfalls and viewpoint. 
  • Take it in. Have a snack.
  • Follow Dry Creek Falls Trail back north for 1 mile until it reaches Dry Creek Road. Follow Dry Creek Rd under the freeway and turn right on Benson Ave and walk 1 block to the main street of Cascade Locks (1 mile). The bus stop is another .5 miles west in front of Thunder Island Brewing. (50 mins from Dry Creek Falls)

Note: No passes or permits are required if you arrive by bus!

TRAVEL DETAILS

OPTION 1

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 10am from Gateway.
  • Arrive at 10:45am in front of Columbia Market.
  • Leave at 3:15pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 4.5 hours total in town.
    • This option gives you the chance to grab a coffee or breakfast before the hike and to enjoy a post-hike beer afterwards

OPTION 2

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 12:30pm from Gateway
  • Arrive at 1:15pm in front of Columbia Market, Leave 5:35pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 4 hours and 20 mins total in town.
    • This option gives you the chance to have a late lunch before the hike, and then a post-hike beer afterwards.

OPTION 3

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 10am from Gateway.
  • Arrive at 10:45pm in front of Columbia Market.
  • Leave at 5:35pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • 6 hours and 50 mins in town.
    • This option gives you all day to explore, do a couple of other hikes, build a house, and have all three meals.
  •  

Blackberry Beach

[1 hours / 1 - 2 miles / weekdays]

WALK & TRAVEL DETAILS

This is a quick little trip on the local bus from downtown Cascade Locks, for a unique view of the Columbia River. 

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express Eastbound at 12:30pm from Gateway.
  • Arrive at 1:15pm in front of Columbia Market.
  • Spend the next 2 hours enjoying Cascade Locks (eat lunch, walk around Thunder Island at the Port)
  • At 3:20, catch the purple CAT bus in front of Columbia Market.
  • Get off at the next stop at Forest Lane and Industrial Way.
  • Walk north .5 miles to Blackberry Beach. (10 mins)
  • From there you can spend 40 minutes walking along the Kite Launch Beach to the west or along the Easy Climb Trail to the east and south. 
  • Take a snack or meander until it’s time to head back to the bus stop. (10 mins to walk back)
  • Catch the 4:20pm bus back into downtown Cascade Locks.
    • Or you can walk the 3.5 miles back to the main street of Cascade Locks (which should take about 1 hour & 10 mins)
  • Back in town, you will have another hour to grab food or a drink at one of the great breweries along the main street.
  • Leave back to Portland by catching the Columbia Gorge Express at 5:50pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.
  • Enjoy the view on the way back.

Herman Creek Hike

[2.5 hours / 6 miles / weekdays]

HIKE DETAILS

This hike drops you at the Herman Creek site so you can walk back into Cascade Locks along the trail.

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express from Gateway at 10am.
  • Arrive in Cascade Locks at the Columbia Market at 10:45am.
  • Spend an hour grabbing breakfast or coffee (or walking along the port).
  • Then catch the 11:35am local CAT bus at the Columbia Market and take it to the Herman Creek camp site. (5 min away)
  • Walk up Herman Creek Road to the start of the Herman Creek Trail #406 and follow it for 1 mile until it meets Herman Creek Trail #406E. (30 mins)
  • Follow Herman Creek Trail #406E for 1.2 miles until it meets the Pacific Crest Trail. (30 mins)
  • Follow the PCT for another 2 miles until it reaches Dry Creek. (45 mins)
  • Here you can go two ways:
    • Continue along the PCT for another 1.7 miles until you reach Harvey Rd., then follow it north under the freeway for 2 blocks turning left on Venture Street. The main street of Cascade Locks (and the bus stop for the Columbia Gorge Express) is just one block down. (45 mins from Dry Creek)
    • Or turn right (north) on the Trail and follow it 1 mile until it reaches Dry Creek Road. Follow Dry Creek under the freeway and turn right on Benson Ave and walk 1 block to the main street of Cascade Locks (1 mile). The bus stop is another .5 miles West in front of Thunder Island Brewing. (40 mins from Dry Creek)
  • You will return with an extra hour to catch a post-hike beer or ice cream.
  • Take the Columbia Gorge Express back to Portland at 3pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.

Note: No passes or permits are requires if you arrive by bus!

Wyeth Campground Hike

[4 hours / 9.5 miles / weekdays]

HIKE DETAILS

This is similar to the Herman Creek hike only you get dropped off further east at the Wyeth Campground to add more trip to your trip. 

  • Catch the Columbia Gorge Express from Gateway at 10am.
  • Arrive in Cascade Locks at the Columbia Market at 10:45am.
  • Spend an hour grabbing breakfast or coffee (or walking along the port).
  • Then catch the local 11:35am CAT bus at the Columbia Market and take it to the Herman Creek camp site (15 mins away).
  • Follow Wyeth Trail #411 for .1 mile (3 mins) to Gorge Trail #400 and turn right (west).
  • Follow Gorge Trail #400 for 3.5 miles until it meets up with Herman Creek Trail #406. (1 hour and 40 mins)
  • Turn right (north) on Herman Creek Trail #406 and follow .7 miles until it meets Herman Creek Trail #406E. (20 mins)
  • Follow Herman Creek Trail #406E for 1.2 miles until it meets the Pacific Crest Trail. (30 mins)
  • Follow the PCT for another 2 miles until it reaches Dry Creek. (45 mins)
  • Here you can go two ways:
    • Continue along the PCT for another 1.7 miles until you reach Harvey Rd., then follow it north under the freeway for 2 blocks turning left on Venture Street. The main street of Cascade Locks (and the bus stop for the Columbia Gorge Express) is just one block down. (45 mins from Dry Creek)
    • Or turn right (north) on the trail and follow it 1 mile until it reaches Dry Creek Road. Follow Dry Creek under the freeway and turn right on Benson Ave and walk 1 block to the main street of Cascade Locks (1 mile). The bus stop is another .5 miles West in front of Thunder Island Brewing. (40 mins from Dry Creek)
  • You will return with an extra hour to catch a post-hike beer or ice cream. 
  • Take the Columbia Gorge Express back to Portland at 5:35pm in front of Thunder Island Brewing Co.

Note: No passes or permits required if you arrive by bus!