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Overview

The Columbia River cuts a mile-wide, 3000-foot-deep gorge through the volcanoes and basalt of the Cascade Range, and separates Oregon from Washington. The Oregon side of the river is especially lush, with a multitude of waterfalls, each with its own fern-lined trail. The river itself is busy with windsurfers and kite-boarders, especially around the vibrant town of Hood River. Once known mostly for its fruit orchards, it is now a good base camp, with a variety of lodgings and good restaurants. However, many people visit the Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood as a long day trip from Portland.

From Hood River, it's an easy drive up the ...

The Columbia River cuts a mile-wide, 3000-foot-deep gorge through the volcanoes and basalt of the Cascade Range, and separates Oregon from Washington. The Oregon side of the river is especially lush, with a multitude of waterfalls, each with its own fern-lined trail. The river itself is busy with windsurfers and kite-boarders, especially around the vibrant town of Hood River. Once known mostly for its fruit orchards, it is now a good base camp, with a variety of lodgings and good restaurants. However, many people visit the Columbia Gorge and Mount Hood as a long day trip from Portland.

From Hood River, it's an easy drive up the flanks of Mount Hood to more hiking and biking trails, and dramatic (and romantic) lodgings at Timberline Lodge, built by WPA artisans in the 1930s. During summer, skiers and snowboarders (including those in world-class training camps) head uphill from the lodge to find snow on Eliot Glacier. Climbers also set out from the lodge for the summit.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Springtime in the Gorge brings great wildflowers, but also rain.