The Columbia River Gorge is surrounded by the amazing Missoula Floods. It has a unique landscape filled with stunning waterfall and rapids. There are also several glorious orchards and vineyards to enjoy. The combination of these delights can leave you feeling as if you have stepped into another world. It takes about one hour to get here from downtown Portland. In this article I will be guiding you through 5 different activities you could do while staying here for a weekend.
1. Historical Sights
A great start to the morning is driving east from Portland towards Interstate 84. The route will take you to the Columbia River Highway which holds an immense Historic significance. Here you’ll find Vista House at Crown Point, that has a scenic viewpoint. It was opened in the year 1918 and is home to an amazing view of the entire gorge. There is also has a museum, gift stores for souvenirs and an espresso stand to keep you alert for the rest of the day’s activities.
2. Multnomah Falls
As you drive in the east on the highway, you will be able to see magnificent waterfalls, streams and gorges. You will come across the mighty Multnomah Falls, which stands at around 620 foot tall. The drive to Hood River from here takes approximately 40 minutes’, which is our next stop.
3. Water Sports on Hood River
As you reach the Hood River, you can choose to explore the water in a variety of ways. If there is enough wind, and you’re feeling adventurous, you can take kite surfing lessons from Kite the George. However, if the air is still, you can still enjoy the water on a paddle board. It is a fun way to spend several hours on the river, especially if you are on vacation with your family as kids tend to love paddle boarding. Grab your own inflatable paddle board (from a reputable retailer) and bring it with you, or rent one from one of the local Hood River shops. You can also go to Full Sail Brewing, that is quite close to the river. There you can have your lunch, or sip on Session Lager under the sun. Before the day is over you can also head towards Columbia Gorge Hotel to enjoy the sunset view and have dinner.
4. Hotel exploring
The next activity you and your family can enjoy is to explore the hotel grounds. Here you’ll find beautiful gardens, filled with native Oregon plants. You can also view WahGwin Falls going into the river below. There is also a lot that you can see in the Hood River township. The small surf town has streets where you can stroll and visit plenty of shops, cafes and galleries.
5. Fruit Loop Drive
The fifth activity you can enjoy is exploring Fruit Loop. It is a 35-mile beautiful drive across the countryside, filled with fields and vineyards. You can stop at numerous places and take pictures to capture these memorable moments with your family. For example, the Cascade Alpaca Ranch is a great photo opportunity and is renowned for having a unique scent. The Hood River Lavender Farm is where you can pluck delicious fruits that you can either eat on the spot, or take them with you. As a souvenir, you can purchase bottles of wine. Locals and tourists alike rave about the quality of wine. Hood River Vineyards and Winery has been producing delicious red and white wines for over thirty years. At the risk of turning this into a wine trail, there is also the Cathedral Ridge Winery, which has bagged more than one hundred awards during its lifetime. After this, you can journey towards the Hood River and prepare yourself some dinner at Celilo. This restaurant has food from North West Pacific regions, and is best enjoyed whilst enjoying the glorious sunset view.
That’s a wrap
So there you have it. Some of the amazing activities the whole family can enjoy when visiting the Columbia River Gorge.