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Overlooking the waters of the Columbia River, the Cascade Locks Marine Park Campground is a family-friendly RV park near Oregon’s border with Washington. It’s an idyllic base for exploring the Cascade Locks Historical Museum and the Columbia River Gorge, which can be enjoyed from the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler riverboat.
RV camping at the Cascade Locks Marine Park Campground includes access to 15 sites, 11 of which offer electric and water hookups. There’s a central bathroom and shower building for campers to utilize, as well as free public Wi-Fi and picnic tables available at each site. Fires are not permitted at the RV campground, with only clean-burning cooking stoves allowed.
A highlight of camping at the Cascade Locks Marine Park Campground is its access to the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, which encompasses dramatic landscapes that range from temperate rainforest to dry grassland. The canyon stretches for more than 80 miles and plunges to a depth of up to 4,000 feet as it forms the border between the states of Oregon and Washington. It’s renowned for its photogenic waterfalls, such as the 620-foot Multnomah Falls, which can be accessed along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Hiking and mountain biking are both possible in the scenic area, as is fishing and a range of water sports.
Directly south of the Cascade Locks Marine Park Campground is the Mount Hood National Forest, which encompasses a dormant stratovolcano capped by glaciers. It was first established in 1892 as the Bull Run Forest Reserve before becoming the Oregon National Forest in 1908 and eventually the Mount Hood National Forest in 1924. Stretch your legs on the Timberline Trail that circles the peak, taking in scenic meadows, glacial creeks, and impressive waterfalls along the way. Also of note is Barlow Road near the village of Government Camp, which once formed part of the long-distance Oregon Trail. In addition to hiking, the Mount Hood National Forest is a popular setting for horseback riding, rafting, and mountain biking, as well as berry-picking and mushroom collecting.
Drive in the other direction from the Cascade Locks Marine Park Campground, and you’ll arrive at the Silver Star Scenic Area, which centers around an extinct volcanic peak. Follow the five-mile Silver Star Trail along the west side of the mountain or the short Silver Star Summit Trail, with spectacular views of Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, and Mount Saint Helens on clear days. While exploring the lower elevation trails, keep your eyes peeled for the region’s stunning wildflower displays that include star tulips, tiger lilies, and wooly sunflowers.
Cascade Locks campers can pick up grocery supplies at one of the local supermarkets or shop for fresh seafood at the fish market. There are also gas stations in Cascade Locks if you need to fill up your motorhome rental and a handful of eateries that include grills, inns, and breweries.
If you’re interested in the local history, don’t miss a visit to the Cascade Locks Historical Museum, which occupies one of three original lock tender’s houses built in 1905 within the Port of Cascade Locks Marine Park. It overlooks the original lock and canal built at the end of the 19th century, with a historic steam locomotive, the Oregon Pony Engine, also on display. Browse the old photographs and artifacts that detail the region’s past, including its Native American communities and most significant industries.
The Cascade Locks Marine Park Campground is a good base for exploring Portland, which lies less than an hour’s drive to the west. It’s renowned for its urban parks and a plethora of microbreweries, as well as vibrant art, theater, and music scenes. Browse the interactive and hands-on exhibits at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, which was originally established in the home of Ralph Lloyd and features several exhibition halls and a planetarium. Get up close to the USS Blueback and see the Van de Graaff generator in the Physics Lab, then watch as dinosaur bones are excavated at the Paleontology Laboratory.
To the west of Portland’s downtown area is Washington Park, which is home to a Japanese garden, a rose garden, and several children’s play areas. If you’re traveling with kids, don’t miss a visit to the Portland Children’s Museum, or you can get up close to elephants and tigers at the Oregon Zoo. Also within Washington Park is the Oregon Holocaust Memorial and the Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as well as the World Forestry Center Discovery Museum that details the characteristics of forests around the globe.
Whether you want to explore the Columbia River Gorge or discover the cultural sights of Cascade Locks and Portland, book an RV rental in Hood River County and start planning your next vacation.