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  The Columbia River Gorge   

Getting There:

The town of Hood River is a good "base camp" to begin your exploration of the Gorge, an hour’s drive from Portland, Oregon. If you are flying, the Portland Airport is serviced by all major airline carriers. From the airport, head east to the on-ramp to I-205 and head southwest for 2 miles. Bear right onto the on-ramp to the Banfield Expressway (I84, US 30, Columbia River Highway) heading east for 54 miles to Hood River.

Staying There:

A number of cities provide good housing options both on the Washington and Oregon sides of the Columbia. These include Carson, Cascade Locks, Stevenson, and The Dalles. The following are some examples of what Hood River has to offer. More lodging choices are mentioned in some of the web-links.

The Columbia River Gorge Hotel, located on Westcliff Drive in Hood River, features 40 rooms with antique furnishings; larger suites offer fireplaces. All rooms include the "World Famous Farm Breakfast", morning newspaper, complimentary coffee service, and nightly turn down service including gourmet chocolates and a rose on your pillow. Nightly entertainment is available in The Valentino Lounge, a piano bar adjacent to the lobby. Phone: 800/345-1921

The Hood River Hotel, a fully restored vintage hotel, is located in downtown Hood River on Oak Street. It offers romantic riverview rooms and suites. Jacuzzi, sauna and a fitness facility are available. Pasquale’s Ristorante provides fine Italian dining and Pacific Northwest Cuisine. 541/386-1900.

The Best Western Hood River Inn, located at Exit 64 on I-84, has river front rooms and fine dining. Phone: 541/386-2200.

Fast Facts:

In 1986, the Columbia River Gorge was designated as a National Scenic Area and is today the only such area in the United States. It includes 30 state parks, and parts of two national forests. A land of magnificent scenery of vertical cliffs, hanging waterfalls, mossy forests, plateaus and grasslands, it stretches from west to east along the Columbia River; from Troutdale on the Oregon side of the river (Camas on the Washington side) to the John Day River and Dam.

Some activities: Tour Bonneville Dam; raft the White Salmon and Klickitat Rivers; ride the Mount Hood Railroad, enjoy a tour of the Gorge wineries; hike trails such as Beacon Rock or the Pacific Crest Trail; visit the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center; enjoy the views from Crown Point Vista House; cruise the river on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler; tour Maryhill Museum; enjoy a day of windsurfing.

The following short article, Backpacking at Columbia Gorge, published by Michael Hofferber through Outrider News Service describes an excellent 4-5 day backpacking trek in the Columbia River Gorge.

Useful WWW sites for the Hood River region:

Hood River: Lodging, dining, recreation, shopping, events, links to area maps
Community Info: Complete resource for recreation, activities, business in Hood River
Bed & Breakfast Directory: includes B&B’s in Hood River and vicinity
Scenic Loop: Over 100 miles-circling Hood River County comprises this scenic loop tour

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