* Latourell & Multnomah
Falls (viewing bridges) hikes are typically automatically included
in your tour itinerary. Wahkeena (viewing bridge) & Bridal Veil Falls hikes are often included in the itinerary, and are
recommended. These are short hikes (15-30 minutes RT max.).
All other hikes ('extended hikes') are an option and must be pre-arranged before your tour;
otherwise they are not an option. NOTE: All hikes are self-guided hikes
and are optional; including the standard hikes, where your driver/guide will not be accompanying your group. To add the
Bonneville Dam, please notify us or your tour guide ahead of time; the 5-6 hour tour option
You do not have to participate in any hike as views of all of the
standard falls (except Bridal Veil) are all
had without hiking.
Trailhead Release Agreement
form is required from your group (see below *) to hike on any optional/extended hike.
This does not apply with the standard (viewing bridge) hikes. Be prepared for inclement
weather (rain, snow, cold, ice, wind etc.) during winter time tours. Be prepared for rainy weather during summer time tours,
and dress appropriately.
* ALL HIKES ARE SOLO 'SELF-SERVICE' HIKES;
your driver and/or tour guide WILL NOT be accompanying your group on your hike due
to Forest Service regulations. While we
consider our extended hikes to be completely safe; in wilderness areas, possible
wilderness dangers are always present, including Falling—Please stay on the maintained trail. A Trailhead Release Agreement form
exonerating My Chauffeur of any responsibility on the trails will be required for your tour. Hikes
are not recommended for children or pets. Trails are typically not near restrooms or running water, so you should plan on carrying
your own water supply. Cliff sections (if applicable) are exposed, so anyone subject
to vertigo should proceed carefully, and turn back if the first set of
cliffs are uncomfortable... If you
have any apprehensions about nature hiking and/or nature areas, you should
not do the extended hikes. The trail surfaces are often rocky and uneven, and anything less than
a good pair of hiking shoes or boots is not adequate. Also keep in mind that
the Columbia Gorge is home to
and it grows along some sections of the some trails. If you're
susceptible to it, keep an eye out in sunny, open cliff-tops and open oak
forests. Long pants are a good idea is you're particularly sensitive.
We are here to help plan your Gorge tour, answer questions and/or make
suggestions. Give us a call at 503-969-4370 (toll-free
EMAIL US. If you have already made a reservation,
** The options of Bonneville Dam and Upper Horsetail Falls require more
time than our standard stops. Please notify your guide ahead of
time to be able to accommodate this in your schedule (we will drop out
other stops) unless you want to extend your tour to the 5-6 hour option.
*** Mt. Hood tour option is
between 8-10 hours long.
Much more than a dam awaits visitors to
this historic site
A 'stones throw' from Multnomah Falls, this addition is convenient to
add or substitute for other stops. Visit the visitor center and see
salmon up close in the viewing windows and sturgeon & trout up close
in the fish hatchery and view the inner workings of this magnificent
dam with a free tour.
Built in the 1930s during the Great Depression, the lock & dam is the oldest
of about 14 federal dams built on the Columbia River. Enjoy watching
salmon and other fish swim up the ladders; take a tour and visit the
powerhouse and the navigation lock. The historic Bonneville Fish Hatchery
is located just below the dam (see below).
The Lewis and
Clark Expedition camped here on Bradford Island (right) on April 9, 1806.
During your visit to the Bradford Island Visitor Center you'll find displays
that cover Lewis and Clark's local activity.
It was a FDR New Deal project aimed at
providing hydropower production, fish and wildlife protection, recreation
and navigation. Inside the
visitors center you'll view the fish ladder, where fish return from the
ocean to their birthplace to spawn. You may take a guided tour through the
powerhouse, and watch the turbines at work. We will also visit the
neighboring historic sturgeon pond & viewing center (see below). And if we see a tugboat
or barge coming, we can hurry to the shipping canal to see them locked through to
the upper level of the river.
Take a guided
tour through the visitor's center & powerhouse and watch the turbines at
Washington Shore Facility (separate visitor center)offers something extra special. You can walk on top of an operating
generator and look inside the spinning shaft.
The Dam spans the Columbia River and links the two states.
The facility features a fascinating array of
interpretive hiking trails,
historical exhibits, a store, 2 educational theaters,
a guided tour of the powerhouse (see below), fish ladders and views of the
day-use picnic areas for up to 100, hatchery tours, a full-fledged educational
visitor's center, underwater fish-viewing windows, views of
Table Mountain and wildlife viewing.
visit to Bonneville Dam will not disappoint.
There are visitors' centers on both the Oregon and
Washington sides of the dam, and we typically visit the Bradford Island Center
on the Oregon side (see map above right). The hatchery is in a separate area
Guided Powerhouse Tour: The First Powerhouse Tour provides
an overview of Bonneville Dam and a
view of the generators. If you are
specifically interested in the production of electricity, you should
consider visiting the Second Powerhouse on the Washington shore, where
visitor areas have been created to allow you to safely walk on
top of a running generator. Guided powerhouse tours are by appointment.
About the Fish
It is best to visit the dam in the months of April
through September when the salmon are most
abundant, but you can view fish at any time of the year.
During the fall (September), when the Chinook
run is at its peak, thousands of these massive fish pass up the dam every
day. A highlight is where the underwater
fish viewing windows
give visitors a mesmerizing look at the fish inside
the fish ladder. Fish Count: 541-374-4011
Sturgeon in the Viewing Center
- Photo by Kathy Munse
Historic Hatchery: We also see the spectacular
historic fish hatchery and sturgeon pond & viewing center
(A Unique Experience;
video). In the beautiful park-like setting; you'll see Herman the
Sturgeon, the 11 foot long, 500 lb., 80 year old pre-historic fish lurking
among his huge pre-historic relatives in the Sturgeon pond (below).
80,000 Salmon return to this hatchery
every year to spawn (Sept, Oct & Nov) and can be viewed in the holding ponds. From watching
workers sort incoming salmon, to harvesting eggs and caring for young frys,
finglerings and smolts, each stage of the operation is on display, and
explained by either videos or audio explanations that can be played. This is really
about education here; learning about the salmon’s lifecycle and the
biology of the fish in the area.
built in 1909, continues to be the largest of Oregon’s 33 hatcheries and
was 1st named "central hatchery".
The first stop
should be a kiosk near the gift shop that has slick brochures that will
give you a step-by-step tour of the hatchery. Also, make sure you bring
quarters, because if you want to feed the fish at the hatchery – you will
need change. But do not throw coins in the
Lewis & Clark
camped here on April 9th, 1806.
self-guided and mostly outside, so make sure you glance at the weather
forecast before heading out. Oregon, and the gorge in particular, can have
rapidly changing weather, and if you want to enjoy the highlights of the
hatchery, be prepared to be outside.
Season: When to visit
really depends on what you want to see. From August through November salmon
that have returned are sorted into holding ponds for processing. During
these times it’s also good to visit the fish ladder. If you want to see the
spawning (reproduction) operation (at the Spawning Room), late summer or
early fall (Sept, Oct & Nov) is the time to visit. But they have something
for people to do all year long, because the operation is always working and
we have fish out for people to see. Spawning begins during the last week in
October and continues until the beginning of December. As part of their
natural life cycle all Pacific Northwest Salmon die after spawning.
For hatchery tours call 541-374-8393. Hatchery and dam are open year-round
from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
One of the
highlights is the Sturgeon Viewing Center. It is one of the few places on
the planet where people have the opportunity to gaze directly into the
eyes of a fish 200 million years old from the Jurassic period, a modern
day 'dinosaur with fins', the oldest fish on the planet. The
Columbia River has the largest population of white sturgeon on the planet,
about 1,000,000 below Bonneville Dam.
see “Herman” the sturgeon, a 80-year-old (as of 2018), 11-foot long, 500
pound sturgeon. People love Herman, especially kids.
Herman is an icon and something
of a pop-culture figure. He has a Facebook page, a line of Herman
memorabilia, recently starred in a National Geographic documentary, made a
music video with a famous rap musician Aesop Rock and for nearly 50 years
was the undisputed star attraction at the Oregon State Fair.
Herman has been kidnapped,
clobbered, mangled by thieves, survived the wildfire of 2018 and sadly,
even the story about the man who jumped into the pond with Herman and
repeatedly stabbed him with a knife … is true. Herman and his friends have
been assaulted on multiple occasions. After being nursed back to health
each time and in light of these attacks, hatchery workers responsible for
taking care of Herman are guarded about any attempts to disturb him
anymore. More about Herman
During summer months, the Sternwheeler,
operated by the Port of Cascade Locks may be boarded at the
dock near the Bradford Island Visitor Center parking lot. For schedules and
reservations contact the Port of Cascade Locks, Oregon at 541-374-8619
* Because of security concerns, visitors may
be required to show ID, and it is not possible to cross the entire dam.
During most of the year, more fish use the Washington shore fish ladders, so
fish viewing may be better on the Washington side of the dam. Guided
powerhouse walks (free; 45 minutes) on the Oregon side are scheduled hourly
or bi-hourly from 10-4 daily and on the Washington side they are scheduled
at 10:30, 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. every day. Call 541-374-8820 on the
morning of your tour to check on tour availability or schedule a private
tour for large groups. Self-guided tours of the facilities (9-5pm) are
For security reasons: Backpacks & purses are not allowed on the Powerhouse
tour. In addition, a COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF ALL ATTENDEES ON THE POWERHOUSE
TOUR IS REQUIRED. Give the list to your Bonneville Dam guide when you
arrive at the Dam visitor center.
* Wikipedia GNU Free
Documentation License applies.
After a lot
of searching under bridges, boulders and banks, he discovered what he was
searching for... People Entertainment!!
his stunningly gifted business acumen and apparently continuous stream of
acquaintances, set out to conquer the Bonneville Dam.
After an encounter with some Jesters and flute players, he was ready to set up
shop in the 'underbelly' of Bonneville Dam --- the Sturgeon Pond!!! There was
only one dilemma, Herman had never done viewing ponds before!
So he left
for the sunny Portland suburb of Salem Oregon where he met up with some fish
pond masters, and learned about viewing ponds from the ground up. These grisly
old sturgeon masters knew how to do it and were hardly agreeable to hand over
their secrets at first. But the charisma and tolerable looks of our champion in
time won over these masters, and the secrets were revealed to him. He was
surprised when one of them said, 'hey Herman, strap this one on' referring to
the 'exotic' carrying tote bag used to transfer the entertaining trinkets from
one local to another. Oh Salem... one of the secrets of the trade, and it was a
After returning from the Salem state Fair, Herman
learned a lot: like
how to tease, amuse and razzle-dazzle the spectators. Also the intricacies of
the gradual sturgeon pond turn and how to keep perfectly still, like he's a fake
Herman! And when and when not to use such phrases as 'Hedonistic and round,
characteristically developed' when referring to the visitors. He eventually
learned how to fend off repeating attackers without getting knifed, mangled,
clobbered or kidnapped and
countless other tricks of the trade were now in the brain, fins, and notepad of
Herman. He returned to Bonneville amusing the locals with tales of busting up an
intruder and saying 'If it bleeds, we can kill it." and 'I'll be back!!'; a
Banaban documentary on Hindu Television featuring Herman; and the foolish, crazy
times at the Fairgrounds--opera singers, ventriloquists, Burgundian Aristocrats,
a guy who somehow kept a bunch of plates spinning atop a wooden pole, Chinese
acrobats, and dogs who climbed ladders. Oh Salem... Bonneville learned of these
tricks and Herman soon became the best sturgeon in the world,
after flying in some 'Manchu’s bark/Cinchona' potions from down south and
attaining the 'bricks and mortar' of his trade, Herman started playing around
with his techniques that soon became known locally, nationally, and global!
Now 30 years later, folks are chatting about Herman in Somaliland and Samoa
Island. China has some trendy people wearing the latest Herman the Sturgeon
bikinis, and companions have shared a Herman tale or two off the Ivory Coast and
Senegal of all places! I'm sure some parts of the world have yet to be
infiltrated. Stay watching!
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