Discover the Beauty of the Bridge of the Gods Half Marathon

A bridge crossing, magnificent views, slow-runner friendly and ending on an island. What more could you want? Experience all of this when running the Bridge of the Gods half marathon located in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.

The Town: Cascade Locks, OR

The race starts in the Cascade Locks, OR. This town is home to the Bridge of the Gods, which leads to the Columbia River crossing into Washington State. During the summertime, when this race is held you will have the opportunity to encounter Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) hikers making their way through the town. While in the town consider trying one of the local breweries; I really enjoyed dinner at Thunder Island Brewery. You can also enjoy a boat ride on a paddleboat before or after the race, take a walk along the George, or visit the very near by waterfall corridor, home to Multnomah Falls, the tallest in Oregon.

bridge of the gods from thunder island

Reaching the Venue

The closest airport is Portland, OR. The town is about a 45 minute drive east on I-84. Renting a car is the best mode of transportation for this one. 


Hotels within Cascade Locks can be difficult to come by especially in the peak of summer, so be sure to book your hotels as soon as possible. I’ve stayed on the Washington side without issues in the town of Carson. Please note it is $3 to cross the Bridge of the Gods each way. For those that are looking for a unique experience the race opens up Thunder Island for camping the night before the race; I did this the first year I ran this half and really enjoyed the unique experience.


Race Organization: A Class Apart

A hearty shoutout to Breakaway Promotions for their impeccable organization. From well-stocked aid stations to punctual starts and supportive staff, they ensure every runner feels valued and encouraged.

The Course: A Blend of Challenge and Beauty

This race is challenging, but I’ve completed it twice and will continue to participate. It sells out every year, so if you think this sounds like something appealing, register early. The run begins on the Washington side and crosses into Oregon via the Bridge of the Gods, immediately offering sweeping views of the Columbia River and Thunder Island. From there you briefly enter into the town of Cascade Locks, where you will meet many people to cheer you on. The course soon follows the old highway and turns to paved trails. Along the trail, several observation points offer views of the Gorge, the Bonneville Dam, and the Columbia River.


  • Participants enjoyed spectacular views throughout the run.
  • Very accommodating to those at the back of the pack and walker friendly.
  • Friendly race staff.
  • Fabulous post-race festivities.
  • 7-hour course limit.


  • Numerous hills and significant elevation gain.
  • Oregon in August can be hot , and humidity might be an issue.
  • Wildfires and smoke are a sad reality and possible this time of year.
Columbia River

The Post-Race Festivities

Breakaway promotions does an excellent after-party. They ensure food is available even for those finishing later. Finishers are greeted with a hearty meal. Local beer and cider are available to complement lunch. The after-party is a great place to meet fellow runners. With the race concluding on Thunder Island and the Bridge of the Gods as a backdrop, there are ample photo opportunities to showcase your well-deserved medal

Bonneville dam

Ideas to Enhance Your Trip Beyond the Run

• Marvel at the Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls.

• Visit the Bonneville Dam, one of the world’s largest hydroelectric systems.

• Embark on a winery tour in Hood River.

• Try zip-lining at Skamania Lodge Adventures.

• Explore Washington’s Stonehenge.

In Conclusion

Despite its challenges with hills and elevation, I highly recommend this race. The crowd and aide station support is on point. This race company ensures all participants, regardless of pace, finish and feel supported.  The area offers many spectacular things to see and do. The course has some of the best views I have seen; if you like an adventure and seeing more than a big city on your run this is one you should put on your list.