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Joanel Feb 20th, 2008 06:25 PM

columbia river gorge, mt hood
Just starting to plan an oregon trip for late summer or early fall. one part would be from portland out on the gorge road to ? is dalles worth it?

and then loop around past mount hood and back to portland.

we don't take long hikes. but like scenery, photography and birding.

How long should we allow for this loop? one night or more?

any ideas where to stay over?

mms Feb 20th, 2008 06:48 PM

There are a few options. Head out of Portland on I-84, but then at Troutdale or Corbett (exits 17 and 22) get off and hop onto the old scenic highway. There are some great places along here to stop and take in the views, such as Portland Womens Forum, Vista House, and Multnomah Falls. There are lots of places for short hikes in this area as well. From here, continue on the old highway a bit more, and then hop back on I-84 still heading east. Hood River is a neat little town. If you want to check out Mt. Hood, then hop onto HWY 35 at Hood River and it will take you around to HWY 26 along the back side of Mt. Hood. Stop at Timberline Lodge and you can hike along the Timberline Trail for a bit as well. Then just continue on HWY 26 back into Portland.

Another option though is to head across to the WA side and drive that back towards Portland. You miss Mt. Hood by doing this, but it is pretty.

Places to stay in the gorge include The Edgefield in Troutdale, Bridal Veil Lodge, Columbia Gorge Hotel, and Timberline Lodge. My personal choice of all of these is Timberline Lodge.

This loop can be done in a day easily, but it just depends on how much time you want in the area. One night is usually ample for most people.

richbutnot Feb 20th, 2008 07:21 PM

We did the loop described in mms's first paragraph a couple of years ago in one day, starting and ending from the same hotel in Portland. Our interests were the same, short hikes at waterfalls and photography. Stop at the fruit stands along Hwy 35 and pick up some Ranier Cherries, the best cherries you will ever eat.

luster Mar 28th, 2008 12:17 AM

The loop from Portland to Mt Hood to Hood River/Gorge area is beautiful. You can do this all in one day, or be leisurely. I agree with staying either at Timberline (historical, beautiful, and fun) and explore or stay in Hood River at a B & B or another hotel/motel. From Hood River you can drive the scenic highway, see Multnomah Falls, and sight see. The time of year will be nice. The Edgefield can be fun, though that time of year can be a popular time for weddings. Depending how much time you have, crossing over to Washington and driving back to Portland can be nice and very different from the Oregn side.
Have fun trip!

happytrailstoyou Mar 28th, 2008 10:08 AM

Were I planning this trip I would drive east on 84 and as much of the Historic Columbia River Highway as possible, investigating waterfalls as I go.

I would spend the night in Hood River, from which in the afternoon and evening, I would take the bridge from Hood River or The Dalles for views of the gorge from WA 14. (I would prefer to cross the river at Biggs, but the bridge there is closed for replacement.)

In Hood River, I would book a room with a balcony overlooking the Columbia at the Best Western and I would have dinner at Celilo.

The next day I would return to Portland via 36 and 26, stopping at Timberline Lodge for lunch.

happytrailstoyou Mar 28th, 2008 10:16 AM

Update. The bridge at Biggs will be open during the summer. I found this:

January 2, 2008: The first bridge closure began. The bridge will reopen before Memorial Day weekend 2008; a second closure will begin after Labor Day 2008.

If I were visiting during this period, I would drive east on 84 to Biggs, cross the river, and return to Hood River via WA 14. The views of the gorge (and, on a clear day, Mt. Hood) are spectacular on this drive.

mapngo Mar 28th, 2008 11:41 AM

We splurged and took a private cessna plane and toured Mt. Hood from the air. It takes off at the Hood River airport and they will fly you over the gorge and around the mountain. The gorge was cloudy but we were still able to see a few more waterfalls that weren't accessible by road. We videotaped our flight which is still fun to watch. You will have a good time taking pictures, it is absolutely beautiful in the gorge.

Joanel Mar 29th, 2008 06:21 PM

will be there after labor day, so bridge will be closed? how would you get across.

also what is there between hood river and biggs that we will not have already seen? not trying to be hostile ( or whatever the word is, just curious - realize it must all be a beautiful drive, just trying to plan our time). anything at at the dalles?

happytrailstoyou Mar 29th, 2008 06:35 PM

I am so glad you asked.

There are bridges crossing the Columbia at Hood River and at The Dalles.

Major attractions on the Washington side are the Maryhill Museum and the Maryhill Winery:

For an extraordinarily interesting drive, cross the river at Hood River.
Drive east on WA 14 to WA 142 and take 142, which follows the Klicitat River, to Goldendale. You will pass through scenic, rural WA, and, on a clear day you will have great views of Mt. Adams. Take 97 south to Maryhill for visits to the museum and winery.

Then drive WA 14 back to Bingen for great views of the Columbia River Gorge and, on a clear day, Mt. Hood.


happytrailstoyou Mar 29th, 2008 06:36 PM

I should have mentioned that there is little of interest for tourists in The Dalles (IMHO).

ion1122 Mar 30th, 2008 08:24 AM

Driving down from Hood River to Mt. Hood, should I take 35, or should I take the "back road" that goes through Dee and Parkdale?

happytrailstoyou Mar 30th, 2008 08:50 AM

The back road you mention is part of the so-called "Fruit Loop"--it passes through farmland.

The views of Mt. Hood are just as spectacular from OR 35. My memory of seeing Mt. Hood from OR 35 is still vivid in my mind.

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