Set in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, the beautiful Skamania Lodge is a destination in itself. It was designed to evoke the history and charm of early National Park lodges such as the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park and the Ahwahnee Hotel in Yosemite National Park, yet it has all the modern amenities one would expect in an upscale resort. The stunning lobby has a soaring 85-foot-tall stone fireplace and floor-to-ceiling windows providing views of the expansive lawn and Columbia River Gorge. Whether you want to relax or experience high-energy adventures, the resort has an activity for you.
Skamania Lodge Adventures is located on the resort grounds and offers three different options for thrill seekers. The Zipline Tour includes seven ziplines ranging from 100 to 900 feet and is fully guided. If you like to be challenged by obstacles, the Aerial Park is for you. There are 19 platforms and 23 elements to test your skills including a canoe. If you’ve ever stood up in one while on the water, you can imagine how it feels to navigate across one hanging in the air. After a safety briefing and equipment training, you will be on your way. The course is self-guided, but park monitors are on the course to assist and provide encouragement as needed. One of the latest trends in group activities is Forged Axe Throwing. Razor-sharp forged axes are thrown at wood targets. It is similar to darts but with an axe and super fun. There is something so deeply satisfying about flinging an axe and hearing the thump when it hits the target. Skamania Lodge Adventures is open year round. Pet-Friendly to observe the course.
The grounds of the Skamania Lodge offer National Park worthy views with a golf course, tennis courts, a basketball court and indoor swimming pool; plenty of opportunities to stay active. The resort has four acres of hiking trails on 175 acres of wooded property with ample opportunities to see the Columbia River Gorge. There are also adult street bikes available for use.
When You are Ready to Slow Down
The Skamania Lodge’s art collection contains hundreds of pieces. Focusing on Native American and Northwest art, the collection is exhibited throughout the lodge’s public spaces and focuses on the history of the property and the area. For a self-guided tour, grab the Art of Discovery brochure from your room or stop by the front desk. There are numbered plaques next to the featured pieces to help you locate them. Insider Tip: Once you are done, stop by the River Rock restaurant and tell them your favorite piece to receive 10 percent off a bottle of Garnier Chardonnay or Pinot Noir.
The Waterleaf Spa and Fitness Center located on site will have you relaxing the minute you walk in the door, and with the later hours it is open you can even enjoy a spa treatment upon your arrival. A full line of day spa treatments are offered at the Waterleaf, and make sure to check the specials for seasonal offerings. Try the Glowing Autumn Facial which will have you thinking Thanksgiving Dinner with its use of pumpkin and yams. The Fall Escape is a bourbon-scented body wrap followed by a 25-minute massage and hair mask. To make it even more relaxing, this treatment includes a voucher to enjoy a Manhattan bourbon cocktail at the River Rock Lounge. Before you leave the spa make sure to visit the outdoor hot tub and sun deck. This gorgeous landscaped area’s hot tub looks like a natural hot springs surrounded by rocks and a waterfall. It is the epitome of relaxation. Insider Tip: Make sure to make reservations for spa treatments in advance as the spa is very popular.
Plop into an Adirondack chair on the resort’s expansive green lawn overlooking the Columbia River Gorge and read a book or visit with family. The deck has a large box of toys for anyone who wants to be more active. Later in the evening, enjoy the fire pit and cook some s’mores (kits are available at the gift shop).
Although there are plenty of activities to keep you busy at the resort, you are in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and there are some unique places to visit just a short walk or drive from the resort. Take the time to look at the resorts activity guide available on their website for ideas. You can also fill out a concierge request online for help planning and booking activities.
Head into town. Stevenson has a variety of restaurants and shops to visit. The Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is walking distance from the lodge. The center has a multistory exhibit area, a movie and artifacts that tell the story of the area’s history and the role the Columbia River plays in it. Well worth the time to visit. And don’t miss the outdoor exhibits of trains and farm equipment.
Beacon Rock State Park is a short drive to an epic hike to the top of Beacon Rock. The trail is 1.8 miles round trip, and when you look up to view some of the 52 switchbacks that make up the trail, it’s hard to believe it is rated easy or moderate. The switchbacks make it a gentle climb up to the top making it a great trail for family hiking. The trail is historic and was built between the years 1915 and 1918 by Henry Biddle, a local philanthropist, who wanted the public to always be able to enjoy this spot. From the top there are views of the Columbia River Gorge, the Bonneville Dam and Hamilton Mountain. Pet-Friendly.
Make sure to stop at the Bonneville Dam. The Washington Shore Visitor Complex has so much to see. The Visitor Orientation Building has exhibits that focus on the history of the dam and exhibits on how hydroelectric power works. You can take a powerhouse tour by signing up at the front desk or view the powerhouse from a viewing window from 85 feet above the floor. The Fish Viewing Building has exhibits on salmon as well as the natural and cultural history of the area. The highlight is the fish viewing windows where you can see fish and eels navigate the fish ladder from below the water level.
Venture out a little further and cross the Bridge of the Gods over the Columbia River to Oregon. Your destination is the Bonneville Fish Hatchery, which was built in 1909. This is a surprisingly cool place. It’s part botanical garden and part fish hatchery with a very eclectic gift shop. The highlight of any visit to the hatchery is the Sturgeon Viewing Center to see Herman the Sturgeon who is about 10-feet long, weighs 500 pounds and is 45 years old. Insider Tip: Fall is the best time to visit and see the Chinook and Coho salmon spawning.
The Skamania Lodge is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway or a family adventure. Its location in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area makes it convenient to all the activities the gorge has to offer. It is also very pet friendly. Some of the pet-friendly rooms offer a back door, making it convenient to take your pet out, and the pet fee includes a bag of goodies to make your pet’s stay more enjoyable.
For your next vacation consider the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area where you can do as much, or as little, as you like.
Where To Stay
Things to Do
Skamania Lodge Adventures
Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center
Beacon Rock State Park
Bonneville Fish Hatchery
Visit Skamania County