Wildlife of the Columbia River Gorge

Numerous animal and plant species live in the Columbia Gorge

In earlier times, wildlife was prevalent in the Columbia Gorge.  Although the area spans thousands of acres and appears to be mostly wilderness, man has left his mark on the area.  The ability of the Gorge to support large populations of wildlife has been drastically reduced, especially for salmon.  


Prior to modern-day settlement, the Columbia River housed nearly unimaginable numbers of salmon and steelhead trout.  Additionally, beaver, deer, elk, bears, and bighorn sheep were commonly seen in the mountain forests.  The river also supported large flocks of waterfowl, upland birds, birds of prey (eagles, ospreys, hawks, and falcons), songbirds, and birds of the forest.


To see wildlife in the Gorge, typically you need to stop your car and get into the mountains.  Many trails take you to quieter parts of the forest, where you might see birds, ground squirrels, sheep, and deer and elk.