Columbia River Gorge

Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 11:48 AM
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Columbia River Gorge

My brother and family are visiting me in Olympia WA. We plan to visit Columbia River Gorge, but just don't know where to start. We only have two days there. Question: What highlights to see, both on Oregon and Washington side of Columbia? Where to stay overnight? Would appreciate any suggestions. BTW, leaving for the Gorge 9/13. Ben
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 12:27 PM
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When we show friends the Columbia River Gorge, we take I-84 to Corbett to access the Historic Columbia River Highway for Vista House and the waterfalls. After enjoying Maltnomah Falls, we return to I-84 and drive to Hood River--a delightful town to visit.

We stay at the Best Western Hood River Inn, in one of the recently remodeled rooms in the east wing of the hotel. The included breakfast has several options, and it is served in a cheerful dining room.

(Last week, while in the area, we bought a big bag of Gravenstine apples at Rasmussen Farms--a few miles from downtown Hood River.)

Timerberline Lodge on Mt. Hood is a good side trip from Hood River. The drive on OR-35 includes great views of Mt. Hood going and Mt. Adams returning.

The drive on WA-14 from Maryhill to Bridge of the Gods, offers sweeping views of the river and Mt. Hood. There are several wineries and an intriguing museum on the Washington side of the river.


PS We enjoy eating a meal at Mekong Thai followed by cones from Mike's Ice Cream.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 12:51 PM
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The Edgefield is not exactly in the Gorge, but at the beginning and not a far drive. It is a fun place to stay with several restaurants, a movie theatre, brew pub and winery- not far from PDX either if you are flying in

In the past it has been a poor farm and a nursing home- now a destination resort.

Stop at all the waterfalls along the old highway- actually walk some of the trails- for sure walk to the top of Multnomah Falls - I think Vista House has a tourist center with maps of the falls and trails.

On the Washington side- Maryhill winery has amazing views, you can taste some wine and I believe you can have light lunch there- not 100% sure of that. There is an outdoor amphitheater with live concerts-
A little farther down the road is a replica of Stonehenge- kind of interesting if you have never seen the real one.

Hood River is world famous for its windsurfing so go out and watch the windsurfers if its a good day.

And of course Timberline lodge is a must for a visit-
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 01:50 PM
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Also along the gorge highway is Cascade Locks, where the Columbia Sternwheeler is docked. You can take a ride on the river in this paddlewheel boat, and they have a special half-price deal on Sundays. We found it interesting.

In Hood River, we stayed at Vagabond Lodge in a riverside room. Not fancy, but just neat. They have a nice visitors center in Hood River that helped us a lot.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 03:50 PM
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Wow, I'm new to Fodor's and wasn't expecting such immediate responses to my inquiry. You all have such great suggestions that I need to consider and incorporate into our itinerary. I'll let you guys know how things went when we return. Thank you so much! Aloha.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 04:05 PM
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use gmaps street walk to look it over.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2013, 05:42 PM
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Don't expect there to be a lot of water coming over the waterfalls - it's far from the wettest time of the year in the mountains.

Two days is enough time to run up to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood (around an hour from Hood River.) If you haven't been it's well worth it. The drive up and back the Hood River Valley (Mount Hood at one end, views of Mount Adams going the other way) are superb, and there might be some fruit harvesting in progress (big orchard area.)

Also, while Stonehenge was mentioned, I don't think Maryhill Museum was. It's a very interesting little place, full of some surprising exhibits, e.g. many of Rodin's plaster working models for his famous bronzes, and a terrific collection of Native American arts and crafts. Well worth the hour to get there. Take the Washington side of the river (SR 14) east of Cascade Locks for better views (including Mount Hood.)

We like both the BW Hood River and the Edgefield. The Gorge is major beer country - there are 4 or 5 pubs at the Edgefield and several brewpubs in Hood River, of which the one at the Full Sail brewery is our fave.
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