Fall has finally reached the Columbia River Gorge, and happily so! With the change of season comes cooler weather, beautiful foliage with changing leaves, and fantastic events that are fall favorites.
A few events not to be missed this fall are the Sense of Place lecture and rafting series, Hood River’s Hops Fest, a trip to Rasmussen Farms’ Pumpkin Funland, and the peak of the season’s pear harvest. Join Wet Planet, Gorge Owned, and Jeanette Burkhardt for a guided float down the lower White Salmon River on September 21st. Learn about what has been happening on the river after the removal of the Condit Dam and see the results of this political and physical phenomenon firsthand. Don’t miss Hops Fest on the 26th! Join the masses in tasting Hood River County’s microbrews and some of the best beers from Northwestern brewers. Arts and crafts, live music, and more will be present – come and partake in the celebration and fun from 11am – 9pm! For family fun, check out Rasmussen Farms’ all-encompassing Pumpkin Funland – complete with a corn maze, pumpkin patch, and delicious seasonal fruit, gourds, and cider. Drive along the fruit-loop and enjoy the fall foliage while stopping at the local orchards for the season’s finest fruits and vegetables.
Fall hiking in the gorge, characterized by beautiful colors, golden leaves, and trails (mostly) to yourself, is one of the best times of the year for hiking. Lower Lewis Falls, Eagle Creek, and Tamanawas Falls are a few not to be missed while visiting or exploring the Columbia River Gorge.
Lower Lewis Falls is magnificently beautiful. This hike/waterfall is unique in that it can be enjoyed with a mere 200 yard walk, or fully explored by swimming and cliff-jumping into its frigid water, or by continuing on in a hike to the Lewis’ Middle Falls. As the perfect place to picnic, the sight here can be enjoyed for hours!
Eagle Creek is a gorge classic. With waterfalls at mile point 2, 3, and 6 – it can be made as mellow or as challenging as each hiker wishes. This trail lined with beautiful trees overlooks Eagle Creek. The exposed nature of the trail at several points adds an element of excitement. For those folks who jump in water regardless of the season and water temperature – the creek below Punchbowl Falls provides a beautiful swimming basin!
Tamanawas Falls is another personal favorite. This four mile hike follows a creek, eventually leading to the falls, which with a short scramble can be viewed from the inside, or the back-side of the waterfall! The drive to or from this hike provides the perfect opportunity to stop at one of the many fruit stands or wineries where all-things-fall can be admired.
Fall in the gorge is here and it is magnificent. Come enjoy the changing season, get out and explore, and enjoy the locally produced fall food and drink. (PS – the Wet Planet Cafe will be open until the end of this month)
Author Hayley Spear spends her summers in the Columbia River Gorge and enjoys paddling, hiking, and exploring as often as she can.