What Cruises Are Available on the Columbia River Gorge?

The Columbia River Gorge, a magnificent geological wonder carved over millions of years, offers a plethora of breathtaking experiences, including the opportunity to embark on captivating cruises. Nestled between the states of Oregon and Washington, this alluring destination entices travelers with it’s striking landscapes, picturesque vineyards, and rich cultural heritage. Discover the hidden gems of this magnificent region as you sail along it’s meandering waters, immersing yourself in the natural wonders and captivating stories that define this vibrant part of the Pacific Northwest.

How Much Does a Columbia River Cruise Cost?

When planning a Columbia River cruise, it’s important to consider the cost. On average, a 7-9 day Columbia River cruise can cost between $4,000-5,000 per person.

It’s worth noting that these prices typically include accommodations, onboard meals, and various amenities and activities offered on the cruise ship. However, additional expenses such as gratuities, alcoholic beverages, optional shore excursions, and travel insurance aren’t always included and should be budgeted separately.

Options range from cozy staterooms to luxurious suites, each with it’s own price point. Additionally, some cruise lines offer all-inclusive packages that include excursions and extras, while others offer a more a la carte experience, where additional costs can add up.

To get the best price on a Columbia River cruise, it’s recommended to book early and take advantage of any early booking discounts or promotions that may be available. It’s also worth considering shoulder seasons or off-peak times, as prices tend to be lower during these periods.

It’s important to research different cruise lines and itineraries to find the best option that suits both interests and finances.

The Columbia River cruise sets sail from the vibrant city of Portland, Oregon, or concludes it’s journey at this scenic port depending on the direction of the cruise. Spanning a distance of 500 miles, the picturesque voyage takes travelers through contrasting landscapes, starting from the dry, golden hills of eastern Washington to the lush, moisture-rich slopes of western Oregon.

Where Does the Columbia River Cruise Start?

Columbia River cruises typically start in Portland, Oregon. This vibrant city serves as a gateway to the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, offering a perfect starting point for an unforgettable journey. From here, cruise ships navigate through the scenic waters of the Columbia River, showcasing the natural splendor and cultural heritage of the region.

A popular option is the Columbia and Snake River Cruise itinerary, which allows passengers to embark or disembark in Portland, depending on the direction of the voyage. This 500-mile journey takes travelers from the arid, golden hillsides of eastern Washington to the lush, moisture-rich western slopes of Oregon. Along the way, guests are treated to breathtaking vistas of stunning landscapes, charming small towns, and notable landmarks.

The Columbia and Snake Rivers provide a rich tapestry of experiences for cruisers. The itinerary often includes stops at iconic destinations such as Astoria, where the river meets the Pacific Ocean, and Hood River, known for it’s outdoor recreational opportunities and picturesque scenery. Port visits may also include The Dalles, Lewiston, and Clarkston, allowing guests to explore historic landmarks and immerse themselves in the fascinating history of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

During the cruise, passengers can savor the flavors of the Pacific Northwest, indulging in locally sourced cuisine and delicious wines from the renowned vineyards of the region. Onboard activities and amenities vary by cruise line, but guests can usually expect a comfortable and luxurious floating hotel with spacious staterooms, world-class dining, and enriching educational programs.

Source: Columbia River Cruise and Snake River Cruise Guide

However, the best time of year to cruise the Snake and Columbia River may not necessarily be the same as the peak summer season.

What Is the Best Time of Year to Cruise the Snake and Columbia River?

During the summer months, the Pacific Northwest and the Columbia River Gorge come alive with vibrant colors and breathtaking scenery. The temperatures are warm, averaging in the mid-70s to mid-80s, making it the perfect time to explore the regions natural splendor. The long sunny days also mean that you can take full advantage of outdoor activities and enjoy the stunning landscapes that line the Columbia River.

One of the highlights of cruising the Columbia River Gorge in summer is the opportunity to witness the blooming wildflowers and lush greenery. As you sail along the river, youll be treated to breathtaking views of steep cliffs, cascading waterfalls, and picturesque vineyards. The vibrant colors of the wildflowers create a visually stunning contrast against the deep blue waters of the river.

Additionally, summer is the prime season for spotting wildlife in the Columbia River Gorge. Keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles soaring overhead, ospreys diving into the river to catch fish, and herds of deer grazing along the riverbanks. If youre lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a black bear or elk.

Summer is also an ideal time for water-based activities on the Columbia River. You can go kayaking or paddleboarding, taking in the serene beauty of the surroundings from a different perspective. Or, if you prefer a more leisurely approach, you can simply relax on the deck of your cruise ship and soak up the warm sun while sipping on a refreshing drink.

The best time to cruise the Snake and Columbia River Gorge is during the summer months when the weather is warm, the skies are blue, and the landscapes come alive with vibrant colors. Whether youre a nature lover, a wildlife enthusiast, or simply someone who appreciates stunning scenery, cruising the Columbia River during summer will provide an unforgettable experience. So, grab your sunglasses and sunscreen, and get ready to embark on a memorable adventure through one of the most beautiful regions in the Pacific Northwest.

Must-See Attractions Along the Snake and Columbia River

The Snake and Columbia River offers a plethora of must-see attractions for tourists. One of the most popular ways to explore the stunning beauty of this region is through a cruise along the Columbia River Gorge. Various cruises are available and provide a remarkable opportunity to admire the breathtaking scenery, uncover fascinating history, and immerse oneself in the local culture. From cascading waterfalls like Multnomah Falls to iconic landmarks such as Hood River Bridge, the cruises showcase the diverse natural wonders and landmarks along the riverbanks. Visitors can also spot wildlife, including eagles and sea lions, in their natural habitats. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a chance to appreciate the picturesque surroundings, the cruises on the Columbia River Gorge won’t disappoint.


In conclusion, the Columbia River Gorge offers a diverse range of cruises that cater to various interests and preferences. From scenic sightseeing tours to educational excursions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you want to admire the breathtaking natural beauty, delve into the region's rich history, or simply relax and unwind on the river, these cruises provide a unique and immersive experience.

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