The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is the largest provider of water-based outdoor recreation in the nation. Around Bonneville Lock & Dam and along the shores of the Columbia River, Portland District's recreation sites allow visitors of all ages to enjoy picnicking, site seeing, wildlife viewing, fishing, windsurfing and more.
Located just 40 miles from downtown Portland, Bonneville Lock & Dam provides opportunities to connect with nature and create unforgettable memories.
Robins Island Recreation Area (Ore.): Open daily 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., this area's large picnic shelter accommodates up to 100 people, and has horseshoe pits, a playground and open grassy areas for outdoor recreation such as ball and disc games. Visitors also enjoy this area's bird-watching and scenic views of the Columbia Gorge. Directions: Once on the Oregon side of the Bonneville property, travel to the flag pole intersection and bear right. Cross the navigation lock and then turn left at the sign for Robins Island.
Bradford Island Recreation Area (Ore.): Open daily 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Located just below the fish ladders, this site affords spectacular spillway views of the surrounding Columbia River Gorge. Wildlife viewing includes views of osprey in the summer and bald eagles in the winter. Fishing for sturgeon, salmon, steelhead and shad are popular activities on the shoreline of this island recreation area however it should be noted that much of the bank is steep. Directions: Once on Bonneville property, go to the flag pole intersection and bear right. After stopping at the guard station, cross the navigation lock and the first powerhouse, then turn left at the sign for Bradford Island Recreation Area.
Hamilton Island (Wash.): Hamilton Island offers boat ramp water access, more than a mile of shoreline for fishing, and five miles of trail that offer scenic views of the gorge and wildlife viewing opportunities. The access road ends at a gravel parking lot with vault restrooms and the trailhead for the Hamilton Island trail. Hours are seasonal: March - October, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. / November - February, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Fort Cascades National Historic Site (Wash.): Fort Cascades, built in 1855, is one of several forts built to protect the portage around the Cascade Rapids. The site has a 1.5 mile interpretive trail where visitors may learn about the history of the site which was used by Native American Tribes, the Army in the 1850s, travelers on the Oregon Trail and the early fishing industry. Visitors also enjoy the trail for exercise, wildlife watching, and scenic views. There is little elevation change and most of the trail is shady, lush and green. Help preserve this unique area and also protect yourself, children, and pets from poison oak by staying on the established trail and keeping your pet on a leash. Spectacular views of the Columbia River and Bonneville Dam can be seen from here. Directions: Once on Bonneville property, turn right at the first stop sign, then an immediate left into the Fort Cascades Historical Site parking lot. Hours are seasonal: March - October, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. / November - February, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
North Shore Recreation Area (Wash.): This site provides spectacular views of the river, surrounding gorge and wildlife viewing. The open shoreline between the Fort Cascades Historic Site and the Washington Shore Visitor Complex is available for fishing with access to vault restrooms. Intermittent sections of gravel trail stretch along the shoreline for approximately one mile. Hours are seasonal: March - October, 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. / November - February, 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Tanner Creek Fishing Area (Ore.): In addition to fishing, this site provides great wildlife viewing of salmon spawning in the fall and several species of birds throughout the year. Two trails lead down from the parking lot for access to the fishing area. There are flush toilets available near the parking area. Hours are seasonal: March-September, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. / October, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. / November-February, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
GEOCACHES AT BONNEVILLE LOCK & DAM
Park rangers at Bonneville Lock and Dam maintain eight geocaches. Beginner and advanced geocachers will enjoy the hunt with five traditional caches and three multi-caches.
Five caches are on the Oregon side and three are on the Washington side, and each one helps geocachers learn about Bonneville.
- "Green Power" is about hydropower,
- "More Power to You" is about the Northwestern hydropower system,
- "Take Me to Lunch" is about sea lions,
- "Go with the Flow" is about the Juvenile Fish Bypass System, and
- "Ducks Float" is about water safety.
The last three are about history
- "BIH" is about Bradford Island history
- "Bonneville Landmark Cache" is about the history of Bonneville Dam, and
- "Hamilton or Strawberry Island?" is about Lewis and Clark's travels here.
Rangers and volunteers are available to help!
There are also several privately-owned caches at or near Bonneville Dam. While Bonneville Dam doesn't require permits for caches, other Portland District project locations might. In all cases, it's recommended you contact the project or public lands manager before placing any caches. Caches hidden in sensitive areas or pose a security/safety risk will be removed. For more information about hiding or finding geocaches, you can visit www.geocaching.com or www.opencaching.com.
PARTNER-OPERATED, CO-LOCATED SITES
Bonneville Fish Hatchery (Ore.): This chinook and coho salmon hatchery is operated by Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. Display ponds also offer a relaxing place to feed large rainbow trout and view adult white sturgeon measuring more than six feet long. A gift shop is open during summer months. Interpretive displays are inside buildings and outdoors, including a viewing area to watch fall spawning activities. Hours are seasonal: March-October, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. / October, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. / November-February, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Directions: At the flag pole intersection on Bonneville Dam property, bear left. Follow the road around to the large parking lot on the left. RV parking is available here.
Columbia River Gorge Historic Highway (Ore.): Operated jointly by the U.S. Forest Service and the State of Oregon, the nation’s first scenic highway was constructed between 1913 and 1922. This trail has reserved areas for pedestrian and bicycle use only, such as the section between Tanner Creek, Eagle Creek and Cascade Locks. Please note that if you are biking the trial, there is no bike/pedestrian access to the Bradford Island Visitor Center at Bonneville Dam (on the Oregon side of the river) due to restrictions across the powerhouse.