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  • Writer's pictureTim Robinson

A Gorgeous Trip to the Columbia River Gorge

In late September Christine's dad and his wife Cathy were planning to make their first trip out since the pandemic started, so we decided to use their visit as an opportunity to check another item off our Pacific Northwest travel list with a trip to the Columbia River Gorge. The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River which forms the border between Washington and Oregon. The canyon is up to 4,000 feet deep and 80 miles long. The Columbia River Gorge is a popular recreational destination for hiking, biking, sightseeing, fishing, and water sports.

On our way south to the Columbia River Gorge, we decided to take a slight detour to stop at Mt. St. Helens. Mt. St. Helens is famous for its massive eruption in May of 1980. More than 50 people were killed and hundreds of homes were destroyed. The eruption was so massive that the top of the volcano collapsed into an enormous landslide reducing the height of the mountain by more than 1300 feet. Visiting the volcano has always been a "bucket list" item for Tim and the weather the day we were there was spectacular.

Day One:

Our first full day looked to be the best weather day, so we made our way across the river from our home base, a modern, 3 bedroom retreat with breathtaking Gorge views, in Carson, Washington to do the "Fruit Loop". The "Fruit Loop" is a 35 mile scenic route in the shadow of Mt. Hood in the Hood River Valley with 29 member "stands" along the route offering a variety of wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, and food. We made stops at The Gorge White House Fruit Stand and Winery, Fox-Tail Cider and Distillery, Draper Girls Country Farm and U-pick Orchards, Apple Valley Country Store & Bakery, and Marchesi Vineyards and Winery.

Day Two:

On day two we drove east along the Columbia River Gorge. As we drove the scenery changed dramatically from lush evergreen forest to a dry, barren terrain. Our eastern most stop for the day was the Stonehenge Memorial. The Stonehenge Memorial is exactly what it sounds like, a full-scale replica of its namesake that sits in the county of Wiltshire, in England. The Stonehenge Memorial, located in Maryhill, Washington, was built and dedicated in 1918 to the the men of Klickitat County, Washington, who died serving their country during WWI. A replica of the original Stonehenge in England was chosen as the design for the memorial, as Sam Hill, the founder, believed (falsely) that the original Stonehenge was constructed as a place of human sacrifice. After a drizzly visit to the Stonehenge Memorial we stopped into Maryhill Winery for lunch and a wine tasting before crossing over into The Dalles, Oregon and heading to The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum. The museum features several exhibits that introduce visitors to the geology, flora, fauna, and history of the Columbia River Gorge. We concluded day two driving the eastern most stretch of the Columbia River Historic Highway from The Dalles, Oregon to Hood River, Oregon before crossing back over into Washington and calling it a day.

Day Three:

On day three, we set out to continue our drive along the Columbia River Historic Highway, this time starting in Hood River, Oregon and heading west. This stretch of the Columbia River Historic Highway features waterfall after waterfall. We made stops at Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls (the tallest in Oregon at 624 ft.), Wahkeena Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Latourell Falls before stopping at The Vista House. The Vista House was built in 1917 as a place for travelers to rest on their journey up the Gorge and sits on one of the most picturesque view points along the Columbia River Historic Highway. We ended the day with a few beers, and dinosaur play at Thunder Island Brewing Company.

Day Four:

The weather on our last full day in the Gorge looked to be a little nicer, so we decided to head into Hood River and explore the shops before making a couple stops at some of the areas renowned breweries, Pfriem and Everybody's.

We had a great time exploring yet another fabulous Pacific Northwest destination with our visiting family and can't wait for our next adventure!


The Mob

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