Head from Portland to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area for an educational private day trip. Follow a naturalist guide on several short walks to view wildlife and stunning waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls. Admire the diverse scenery, including high desert landscapes, rivers and basalt cliffs. You'll learn about the Columbia River's early pioneer history at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center or see exhibits on American Indians of the Pacific Northwest at the Maryhill Museum of Art. Lunch and round-trip downtown Portland hotel transport by private vehicle are included.
After pickup from your downtown Portland hotel in the morning, you'll be driven by Mercedes van or luxury SUV to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, located just 20 minutes outside the city. Travel along the mighty Columbia River and admire the towering basalt cliffs, formed from the river cutting through the Cascade Mountains.
When you arrive, your naturalist guide leads your private party on a series of short walks to view some of the more than 90 gorgeous waterfalls here, including the second-tallest perennial waterfall in the US: Multnomah Falls. Enjoy morning tea and snacks as you admire the sights and ask your guide any questions you have.
Continue farther up the river to the town of Hood River, where breathtaking natural beauty and high winds create a paradise for windsurfers, kite boarders and sightseers. You'll stop here for lunch (see below for a sample menu) and then continue driving east across the Cascade Divide, where the landscape changes suddenly and dramatically to high desert. Take out your provided binoculars and spot wildlife such as bald eagles soaring above the basalt cliffs and among the sagebrush and pine trees. Finish your tour in the town of The Dalles, where you can visit one of two museums with your guide. At the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, learn how the early pioneers made their way west along the difficult and often deadly Oregon Trail. Hear stories about the American Indian tribes along the Columbia River and the treacherous journey of Lewis and Clark through this region in 1805. If you visit the Maryhill Museum of Art (open March 15 through November 15), you'll encounter an impressive collection of art from around the world, including more than 80 works by French sculptor Auguste Rodin. View an array of artifacts like petroglyphs, intricate baskets and beadwork from the Pacific Northwest’s indigenous groups. After a full day at the Columbia River Gorge, travel back to Portland in your private vehicle with drop-off at your downtown Portland hotel. Sample Menu:
Local organic chicken
Frittata or lasagna
Selection of soups
Selection of cold salads: pasta, corn, mixed greens, beets and other seasonal items