The Columbia Gorge is flanked north and south by two large National Forest areas offering a huge variety of world-class recreational activities, including hiking, camping, biking, skiing, boating, rafting, climbing, backpacking, horseback riding, fishing, and more. Whether you seek outdoor activities, solitude, scenic beauty, social activity, creative inspiration, wildlife, or forest products, you’ll find great opportunities in both these National Forests.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest to the north encompasses 1,312,000 acres including Mt. St. Helens and much of Mt. Adams, and is one of the oldest National Forests in the United States. It was included as part of the Mount Rainier Forest Reserve in 1897 and set aside as the Columbia National Forest in 1908. It was renamed the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in 1949. The local Mt. Adams Ranger District Office is located at 2455 Hwy 141 in beautiful Trout Lake, WA (509- 395-3400), on the SW slopes of the towering 12,281′ Mt. Adams stratovolcano.
Mt. Hood National Forest encompasses some 1,067,043 acres including all of the 11,250′ Mount Hood stratovolcano, and extends south from the Columbia River Gorge across more than 60 miles of forested mountains, lakes and streams to the Olallie Scenic Area, a high lake basin on the slopes of Mount Jefferson. It was first established as the Bull Run Forest Reserve in 1892, then merged with part of Cascade National Forest on July 1, 1908 and named Oregon National Forest. The name was changed again to Mount Hood National Forest in 1924. The local Hood River Ranger District Office is located at 6780 Highway 35 in Parkdale, OR (541-352-6002).