What’s the most scenic route to take from Kelso to Columbia River Gorge?
Where in the gorge are you looking to go? Are you headed there to stay the night or just wanting to take in the sights and then move on? It makes a difference in what I would suggest:)
The route MrsO describes is one that visitors might spend a week or more on, overnighting in various towns along the coast, in central Oregon, and on Mt. Hood. But it’s only 65 miles +/- from Kelso to the western end of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, so if your primary objective is to just get from one place to the other, I-5 is the only reasonable route. Exit onto I-205 north of Vancouver WA, cross the Columbia, then get onto I-84 east. A few miles after Troutdale is where the scenic section of the Gorge begins. Alternatively, you could get off I-205 onto SR 14 in Vancouver and drive the WA side of the Columbia, crossing at Cascade Locks or Hood River.