Tuesday, May 26, 2015

America's Best Waterside Drives

Our lovely Historic Columbia River Highway has made it in USA Today's America's Best Waterside Drives. This Multnomah Falls photo was taken by Sumio Koizumi. Multnomah Falls is a massive highlight that is easy to view and visit from the Historic Columbia River Highway. Discover the remaining winners of America's Best Waterside Drives below.

  • Alaska's Seward Highway 
  • New York's Hudson River Valley 
  • Vermont's Mad River Scenic Byway
  • Colorado's Colorado River Headwaters Byway
  • Virginia's Maury River 
  • Minnesota to Louisiana, The Great River Road.

SRC: View amazing photos from each of America's Best Waterside Drives at: www.usatoday.com/media/cinematic/gallery/27711947/americas-best-waterside-drives/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

7 Bikes for 7 Wonders | Mt Hood

This summer's 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders is gearing up for an exciting ride. Seven of Oregon's best bike builders were asked to build a bike for their assigned wonder and they're wonderful. Each bike will be hidden in their corresponding wonder area for a lucky adventurer to find and keep. This beautiful Wolfhound Cycles Bike was built for Mt Hood. Read details about the Mt Hood Bike below.
“The first thing that went through my mind was that it needed to be able to handle anything, because around Mt. Hood there’s lift-assist, free rides, full downhill… everything, even including all-day single-track rides through the wilderness,” he recalls. And that was perfect for him. “The core principal behind my designs has
always been to make something that could do anything and everything, so this was the perfect opportunity to put that into practice.”
And that’s what he’s done. His single-speed mountain bike incorporates all his favorite features, and still comes in at an astonishingly light 28 pounds. There are beefy 25-inch tires, a suspension front fork with 5 to 6 inches of play, and an adjustable-height seatpost for riding in a bike park or other extreme terrain.
SRC: Learn more about the 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders: Mt Hood Bike at: rideoregonride.com/7-bikes-7-wonders-mt-hood-bike/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

7 Bikes for 7 Wonders | The Columbia River Gorge Bike

This summer's 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders is gearing up for an exciting ride. Seven of  Oregon's best bike builders were asked to build a bike for their assigned wonder and they are wonderful. Each bike will be hidden in their corresponding wonder area for a lucky adventurer to find and keep. This beautiful Argonaut Bike was built for the Columbia River Gorge. Read details about the Columbia River Gorge Bike below.
The bike, designed within a traditional road-bike framework, purposely doesn’t have a lot of specific elements that are only useful in one environment. It’s set up to accommodate 28cc tires and has disk brakes, but “there’s no compromise in any one direction – it’s not overbuilt for gravel so road riding isn’t fun, and it’s not too sketchy or unstable to take off the pavement,” Ben says. “It can take you to all the fantastic places in the Gorge, in a fast and fun way.”
The theme of variety extended to the bike’s finish, as well. The multi-color paint job on the bike accentuates the stark contrast of the landscape, going from the tan hues of the arid desert-like land out around The Dalles to the lush green of the Multnomah Falls area.
SRC: Learn more about the 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders: The Columbia River Gorge Bike at: rideoregonride.com/7-bikes-7-wonders-columbia-river-gorge-bike/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

New Release of "Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area" with Lecture and Book Signing

Peter Marbach and Janet Cook have joined together to publish a new photo essay project devoted to the Columbia River Gorge. They will introduce their new book release on Wednesday, May 27th at 6:30 p.m. during a lecture and signing program at the Columbia Center for Arts. Join this Columbia River Gorge Book Release tomorrow in downtown Hood River at the Columbia Center for Arts and learn more about this project below.
"Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area" reunites Marbach with The Gorge magazine editor Cook for their fourth joint book project.
"We are grateful to Peter for the opportunity to show the high end production values of the Columbia Gorge Press," said Tony Methvin, general manager, in a statement released with the announcement of the book.
Marbach and Cook collaborated in 2011 on a special commemorative book on the 25th anniversary of the legislation that created the national scenic area. The book sold out in its first year. When the previous publisher went out of business, Marbach began a search for a new publisher.
"It is wonderful to be working on a product that is truly 100 percent made in the gorge," Marbach said. "Partnering with the Columbia Gorge Press has been a blessing and Janet and I are thrilled to keep the legacy going of our work to celebrate and honor the gifts of the gorge."
SRC: Discover more about The Columbia River Gorge's Peter Marbach and Janet Cook at: www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/05/photographer_peter_marbach_rel.html

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paddling the Columbia River Gorge

Stand Up Paddle Boarding originated in Hawaii and has proven itself as a popular sport among all skill levels. In 2013 it was reported that Stand Up Paddle Boarding had the most first-time participants than any other outdoor sport in the United States. Watch Harmony and friends Paddle Board on the Columbia River in the video above and get inspired to embrace the Gorge yourself.

SRC: Learn more about Harmony and friends experience Paddle Boarding on the Columbia River at: www.supthemag.com/features/paddle-every-damn-day-columbia-river-gorge-harmony-dawn-and-co/ and learn more about Paddle Boarding at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Standup_paddleboarding

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Jaw-Dropping View of The Columbia River Gorge

Jonsrud's Viewpoint is off of Highway 26 in Sandy Oregon. Jonsrud's Viewpoint provides a location where all Oregonians or visitors can take in a view of beauty that will last a lifetime. This location provides a quiet private spot to take photographs and observe the natural beauty that surrounds you. Read more about Jonsrud's Viewpoint below.
On the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, pull over off Highway 26 for a scenic look at Mt. Hood and be rewarded with a spectacular view of the Barlow Trail route over the mountain. T. G. Jonsrud and his wife Kari settled west of Sandy in 1877. Interpretation provided for the Devil's Backbone section on the Oregon Trail Historic Trail, also part of the historic Barlow Road.
SRC: Check out Jonsrud's Viewpoint on a map and learn more about the area by visiting: www.mthoodterritory.com/jonsruds-viewpoint

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Monday, May 18, 2015

Set Sail on the Columbia River This Summer

Set sail the Columbia River aboard a pirate ship this summer for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure the whole family will enjoy. Enjoy the beauty of the ship while taking in the landscape of the Gorge from the view of the river. Learn details of when this Columbia River buccaneer experience can take place below.
One 18th century tall ship replica and one interpretation of a typical early 19th century trading vessel from the Grays Harbor Historical Seaport Authority, Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain, will set sail twice daily for two hour voyages on Thursday, July 16 and Friday, July 17, with pirate lovers on board. The ships will depart from the Port of Skamania County, which is just minutes from the Cascadian-style lodge and 45 miles east of Portland, Ore.
SRC: Learn details at: www.sys-con.com/node/3333030

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Oregon Zoo Returns Endangered Turtles to Columbia River Gorge

The turtles at The Oregon Zoo are raised so they don't go into hibernation, according to Dr. David Sheaperdson, the Oregon Zoo conservation scientist. Sheapersdson explains how providing a continuous summer experience allows the turtles to grow to the size of a 3-year-old wild turtle within eight months of time. Allowing these turtles to continuously grow provides a better chance of survival after being released in The Columbia River Gorge. Read more about the Oregon Zoo's efforts to safely return the endangered turtles to the Columbia Gorge below.
On Wednesday, with the help of conservation partners and local wildlife agencies, the turtles were returned to the wild in the Columbia River Gorge. In one study, scientists estimated that 95 percent of the turtles released back to sites in the Columbia Gorge survive annually.
Two decades ago, western pond turtles were on the verge of completely dying out in Washington, with fewer than 100 turtles left in the state. But since then, more than 1,500 turtles have been released thanks to the Western Pond Turtle Recovery Project.
SRC: Read more about the Oregon Zoo returning endangered turtles to the Columbia River Gorge at: http://www.kptv.com/story/29059846/oregon-zoo-returns-endangered-turtles-to-wild#ixzz3aVzzHsnf

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Monday, May 11, 2015

Explore the Best Hikes in The Columbia River Gorge

Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge allows you to walk into a world of nature, wildlife and tranquility. The Statesman Journal's Top 5 list of "just right" hikes includes the following hikes: Elowah / Upper McCord Falls, Horsetail / Triple Falls, Catherine Creek, Multnomah Falls Loop and the Eagle Creek Trail. Embrace the outdoors in our gorgeous Pacific Northwest by hiking it. Read details about the Eagle Creek Hiking Trail below.
Blasted through steep basalt walls, this spectacular trail leads to one of the Gorge's most iconic waterfalls — Punchbowl Falls — and through a dense, temperate rainforest literally dripping with water throughout the season. 
Even with the natural splendor, the highlight of trail might well be man-made. The recommended hike traverses the first 3.3 miles of Eagle Creek Trail to High Bridge, which spans a narrow rock chasm 120-feet deep and provides hikers a serous case of vertigo while staring into the churning water below. 
The trail is the second-most popular in the Gorge, so expect some company while hiking. Also, be weary of children and dogs because the trail follows some very steep and narrow cliffs. 
From the trailhead, the hike travels 2.1 miles to the first waterfall, Metlako Falls. Just beyond, a short side trail leads to a view of Punchbowl Falls. 
Enjoy lunch at a nice overlook just across High Bridge and turn back around to complete a 6.6-mile out-and-back hike. (Eagle Creek Trail continues another three miles past High Bridge to dramatic Tunnel Falls). 
Dogsmust be leashed. Steep cliffs make this a dangerous hike for dogs. 
Directions: Follow I-84 east to exit 41. At the bottom of the ramp turn right. Go about 0.5 miles to the end of the road. You will go past a footbridge (that takes hikers up to Wauna Viewpoint) as the road narrows to one lane. Continue a short ways to a large parking lot at the road's end. Coordinates: 45.63653, -121.91947
SRC: Learn about each of the Top 5 "just right" hikes at: www.statesmanjournal.com/story/travel/outdoors/hikes/2013/12/31/top-five-gorgeous-columbia-river-gorge-hikes/4264985/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Geology of the Columbia Gorge Fieldtrip

Learn about the history of the Gorge during the Ice Age Floods by joining the Geology of the Columbia Gorge field-trip in September. If you missed the May 9th field-trip, you'll want to ensure you attendance for September trip before it's too late. Read a summary about this Geology of the Columbia Gorge Field-trip below.
Join the Gorge Chapter of Ice Age Floods Institute for one of two remaining Geology of the Columbia Gorge fieldtrips being offered in  2015. These bus and walking trips cover the central portions of the Columbia Gorge, exploring many interesting geologic features of the Gorge with emphasis on the impact of the Ice Age Floods through this area.
We will meet-up and board the bus at the Cascade Locks Marine Park parking lot, and make a circuit covering both the Oregon and Washington sides of the Gorge with stops all the way east past The Dalles. There will be a number of drive-by and off-and-back-on the bus stops, as well as some stops with relatively short walks on good trails.
SRC: Find your September Geology of the Columbia Gorge Fieldtrip Registration Form and more at: gorgefloods.org/event/columbia-gorge-geology-fieldtrip-2/?instance_id=102

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

The Columbia Gorge River's Fishing Magician

Fishing on the beautiful Columbia Gorge River is a major attraction for any fisherman. Dave Graybill has fished in this region for over 50 years, earning his screen name as the Fishing Magician. If your wanting to stay informed on the best fishing spots check in regularly with Dave Graybill's AKA the Fishing Magician and his Fishing Report. Read about his fishing experience on Friday, May 8th below.
Spring salmon fishing has been keeping anglers busy on the lower Columbia River for some time now. Fishing has been very good this year both below Bonneville Dam and at locations above here, like off the mouth of the Wind River and at Drano Lake. It looks like the return is going to come in at over 200,000 fish, which is a very good run. Seasons have opened on two stretches of the Snake River. There is another area open to spring salmon fishing. The Yakima River is open to fishing for springer salmon through June 15th from the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser to below Prosser Dam. Another section of the Yakima, from the I-82 Bridge in Union Gap to below Roza Dam will open May 9th. Please refer to the news release on this season on the Department web site for the details and boundaries of this fishery. I just got word that we may see a spring salmon season on the Wenatchee River this year and the fishing could open on the Icicle River sometime in the third week of May.
SRC: Read the Fishing Magicians full Columbia Gorge River Fishin' Report at: fishingmagician.com/Reports/2015/May/Friday-08.aspx

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Oregon's One-of-a-Kind Scavenger Hunt

Travel Oregon and Portland Bikes have teamed up to celebrate the 7 Wonders of Oregon in a one-of-a-kind scavenger hunt. This fun scavenger hunt is a great motivator to those of us who love adventure and just need a little motivation to get out there and live it. There is a custom bike "hidden" in each of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, for you to find. Get ready, get set and go find the bikes described below in their assigned Oregon Wonder. 
  • Ahearne — Oregon Coast: This fat-tire beach cruiser will feel totally at home riding on wet or dry sand along the Oregon coast, especially if that ride ends at a beach bonfire party.
  • Argonaut — Columbia River Gorge: Built for climbing and able to handle its fair share of gravel roads, this is the ultimate bike for the varied landscape of the Columbia River Gorge.
  • Breadwinner Cycles — The Wallowas: This “29er” bike is custom-made to handle the wide open spaces of the Wallowas, with dual-purpose tires that can handle any surface as well as bags and gear designed for remoteness.
  • Ingleheart Custom Frames & Forks — Painted Hills: This bike can handle all the adventure the Painted Hills area has to offer: camping, fishing, riding and, well, looking at beautifully colored sedimentary rock.
  • Mike DeSalvo — Crater Lake: This lightweight road bike is built for one purpose: racing around the big elevation changes and varied road surfaces of the Crater Lake rim route.
  • Vulture Cycles — Smith Rock: The “Smith Rocket” is purpose-built for the challenging trails around Smith Rock. And hey, if you’re doing that other sport that is popular in the area, there’s a rope bag on the front.
  • Wolfhound — Mt. Hood: This mountain bike is good at exactly two types of riding that are found at Mt. Hood: remote back country single-track trails and lift assisted bike park riding.

SRC: Learn more about the 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders at: www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/2015/05/there-are-7-custom-bikes-stashed-all-over-oregon.html

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Riding The Gorge Sternwheeler

Take a ride into the 1800's by stepping aboard the Gorge Sternwheeler from the docks in Cascade Locks. The Gorge Sternwheeler functions as a paddlewheel boat did in the 1800's, providing you a historical experience. By joining the Sternwheeler for a ride on The Columbia River Gorge you'll enjoy the unique point of view of the Gorge reserved for the river's wildlife and fisherman. Don't deprive yourself the experience of riding the timeless Gorge Sternwheeler and enjoying beautiful views of this Oregon Wonder, that is The Columbia River Gorge. Learn details about the Sternwheeler below.
Folks come from all over to step aboard the Gorge Sternwheeler and "Capt. Tom" makes sure the experience is spectacular! As he likes to say, "It's the most important part of my job!" 
"There are no propellers, no bow thrusters so it's all about wind and current. The boat responds the way a paddlewheel boat would have in the 1800s," he said. 
Tom Gramblett stepped aboard the Gorge Sternwheeler in 1982 just after it was built and delivered to Cascade Locks. 
He worked his way up the ranks to become one of two skippers to guide the Sternwheeler on daily tours. 
He said that sternwheelers arrived on the Columbia River in 1850 during a time when shipping goods and people on the giant waterway was the only practical means of transportation.
SRC: Learn more about the History of Ships on the Columbia River at: www.kgw.com/story/travel/2015/05/08/grants-getaways-gorge-sternwheeler/27009289/

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Best of The Columbia River Gorge

The 7 Wonders of Oregon are back by Popular Demand. One of Oregon's wonders is The Columbia River Gorge. Learn the Best of's for The Columbia River Gorge below.
Best view: I supposed you could get cute and list the long hike to Nesmith Point or Indian Point, but really, does the view get any better than the one you can drive to at Crown Point. It's not a National Natural Landmark by accident.
Best who knew: You've seen it a million times, but have you ever ridden the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler? It's amazing how many locals haven't. The river cruise out of Cascade Locks is one of Oregon's best visitor attractions.
Best day to visit: May 1 is the peak of the spring wildflower bloom on the sunny easy side, around Mosier and Rowena. But cheat and go every day, from April 15 to May 15, if you can swing it.
Best buy this: Pick up a bottle of Cathedral Ridge barbera reserve and drink it in the winery's landscaped picnic area, with views across the gorge to Mount Adams (21 and over, please).
Best selfie spot: Kite surfing at Rowena, of course, though you may need special rigging for your Go Pro and a self timer.
Best hike: The Eagle Creek canyon not far from Bonneville Dam is best. Since  everyone knows this, expect crowds.
Best nearby: Duh, go to the Washington side of the gorge. It may even be more beautiful than the Oregon side, since the vegetation is open and its gets more sun because it faces south (though it doesn't have quite as much public land).  If you're looking to get out of the gorge but stay nearby in Oregon, head to the John Day River and the new Cottonwood Canyon State Park, but watch out for summer's heat.
SRC: Learn the best of's for the other 6 Wonders of Oregon at: www.oregonlive.com/travel/index.ssf/2015/05/seven_bests_for_each_of_7_wond.html

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

A Willamette University Student joins the Board of The Friends of the Columbia River Gorge

Martha Sonato, a Willamette University Student had many questions for The Friends of the Columbia Gorge when Kevin Gorman gave a presentation to her class about the non-profits efforts to preserve the Gorge. These questions quickly lead to Sonato's inquiring about the 30% of Latinos that populate Hood River and their representation in the environmental efforts in the gorge. Sonato's energy and interest lead to her involvement in a project with The Friends of the Columbia River Gorge. That project lead to Sonato becoming the youngest and only Latina to join The Friends of the Columbia River Gorge Board of Directors, at the age of 19. Read more about Sonato and her representation for Hood River Latina's below.
Redefining Environmentalism
The Friends of the Columbia Gorge formed in 1980, fueled by concerns that urban sprawl would destroy the area’s wild beauty. The organization pushed for federal protection of the region, and in 1986, Friends succeeded with passage of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Act — a complex plan that works to preserve the landscape while balancing the varying needs of everyone who lives, works and plays there.
When it comes to Hood River’s Latino community, which includes numerous farmworkers, Sonato says many are unfamiliar with the Scenic Act and its far-reaching impact. Language and cultural differences create barriers to awareness, Sonato says, but so does a narrow definition of environmentalism.
“The people I know in the Latino community may not be concerned about a wildflower going extinct because they have other, more pressing issues to deal with — bringing food to the table, working to provide for their children, paying for education,” Sonato says.
“But so many environmental decisions affect their daily lives. For instance, when coal trains pass through the gorge, the coal dust spreads out into in the air, and that air doesn’t discriminate in who it affects.”

SRC: For more information about Martha Sonato and The Friends of the Columbia visit: willamette.edu/people/archives/2015/04/martha_sonato.html

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here

Wahkeena Falls Hike

The Wahkeena Falls Hike in The Columbia River Gorge is a perfect start for warming up those hiking legs. The Wahkeena Falls Hike is moderate in difficulty, 1.4 miles round trip, family friendly and best of all it's paved. Hiking on paved trails makes it easier to keep the kids on track and is a great start to exposing the family to the great outdoors. Learn more about the Wahkeena Falls Hike in the Columbia River Gorge below.
Wahkeena Trail (#420) is also my favorite beginner trail. Even though there's a lot of climbing here, the surface is good, a lot of it recently paved. One of neat things about the Wahkeena Trail is that there's something cool every few hundred feet. It might be a Columbia River view, or it might be a cascading stream. Lots of rewards make it easier for people to challenge themselves. Every time I'm there, I talk to a new hiker and they tell me how tired they are. I encourage them to climb a bit further. Later in the day, I'm likely to find them 500-1000' higher, still tired, but happy and proud.
The trail starts with some beautiful stonework and a wooden bridge over Wahkeena Creek. Make sure you're headed right here. The trail to the left leads to Multnomah Falls. The trail climbs in one long switchback to a stone bridge at the base of Wahkeena Falls. Expect a bit of spray on the trail here year-round. In winter, things can get really icy. A large log here was cut away to clear the trail after it fell down the falls. After the falls, look across the valley at the trail you just traveled and you'll see old stonework that's slid from the trail. A bench makes a good resting spot, or a turnaround if you're pressed for time.
From here, the trail starts up a pretty steep section, climbing about 400' in about half a mile. I have several guidebooks that reference 10 switchbacks, but I counted 12. There are beautiful rock walls, another bench cemented into a wall and better views the higher you climb. The most alert hikers will find a Lego cemented into one of the walls. At the top of this first climb, you'll crest a ridge. Follow the pavement out to the point, called Lemmon's Viewpoint. A plaque here commemorates a firefighter who gave his life fighting forest fires near here. The views from the point are really good up and down the river. 
SRC: Find more details about the Wahkeena Falls Hike in the Columbia River Gorge at: www.oregonhikers.org/field_guide/Wahkeena_Falls_Hike

Looking for lodging near the Columbia River Gorge? Check out Lodging Here