The beloved Columbia River Gorge has entered its seasonal time of transformation, and we invite you to join us in celebrating fall in the Gorge! As we shift from summer to fall, the temperatures are inviting us to dawn our favorite sweaters and enjoy a warm cup of fresh pressed apple cider, a new seasonal beer, or visit the wineries during harvest and grape crush time. While the smoke from the Eagle Creek fire has cleared, the bright yellow, orange and red fall colors are emerging everywhere. As most are not looking for whitewater rafting or kayaking in the Gorge this time of the year, this arguably is one of the best times of year to visit and leisurely explore the other wonders of the Gorge!
Take a Hike
There are countless hiking trails in the Gorge, from Cape Horn to the waterfalls in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, to the open views at Syncline and the lakes at the base of Mt. Hood. Many are open year round, and the fall foliage is bright and beautiful right now! Friends of the Columbia Gorge has put together a comprehensive list of 47 hikes in the Gorge not affected by the Eagle Creek fire. Find a new favorite and let us know about it!
Harvest Fest – October 13-15
This old-fashioned fall festival brings together more than 120 vendors offering local produce and food products, plus arts and crafts, wine, cider and beer tastings. Held along the scenic Hood River waterfront, this is the Columbia River Gorge’s biggest celebration of the region’s incredible fall bounty and full of fun for the whole family.
Bike racks adorn almost every local car in the Gorge, and for a good reason! Whether you want to ride around town, mountain bike through Post Canyon, or peddle along the Historic Columbia River Highway (closed to cars), a whole new side of the Columbia River Gorge opens when you hop on a bike. Visit Discover Bicycles in downtown Hood River to ask about their favorite trails or to rent a bike!
The Gorge is well known for the delicious fruit and charming orchards that grow here. Spend a day picking your own mouth-watering apples and pears before enjoying an afternoon picnic at Hood River U-Pick Organic Farm. This also makes for a great stop on the 35 mile scenic drive through the valley’s fruit orchards on the Hood River Fruit Loop Drive.
The Pacific Northwest has become quite infamous for its full flavored and hoppy beers. The Gorge is surrounded by some of the best hop growing regions in the world, giving breweries here access to local flavors for creating with spectacular brews that beer enthusiasts revel in. The Breweries in the Gorge organization features 10 of the local favorites in the Hood River and White Salmon area.
Make sure to stop by Everybody’s Brewing in downtown White Salmon for tasty beer, food, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood while you’re here!
While lesser known, but no less impressive, the Gorge is the perfect climate for wineries and mirrors that of Italian wine making. Forbes Magazine called Gorge wine “poised for greatness.” AniChe Cellars, COR Cellars, White Salmon Vineyards, and Syncline Winery all use Gorge grown grapes to create their various award-winning wines. Spend a day tasting and learning about their wines in their stunning tasting rooms.
Relax and enjoy the splendid scenery of the mountains, rivers, and orchards during a charming train ride. Scenic railroad rides offer brunch and dinner trips, sightseeing excursions, mock western train robberies, and even murder mystery dinner tours!
Experience History in our Local Museums
Fly back in time from the roads and from the sky with this extensive collection of antique aeroplanes, cars, and motorcycles. Look for special events and shows to see these historic vehicles in action.
Learn how the Gorge was formed and founded. From volcanic upheavals, raging floods, and theories of why the Ice Age occurred to Lewis and Clark’s expedition, everyone will find an exhibit here that will rouse their curiosity.
Visualize and participate in life of the Columbia River Gorge. You’ll learn about 15,000 years of human stories and natural history from a beautiful location nestled on right on the banks of the grand Columbia River.
Explore this world-class collection of art set in a castle-like chateau on a stunning 6,000 acre site overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. Special exhibits are often featured, and are well worth keeping an eye out for!
Learn about the Salmon
Salmon are a huge part of life in the Columbia River Gorge. A visit to the Bradford Island Visitor Center at the Bonneville Dam introduces you to the trip of a lifetime that salmon make each year. Cheer on the adult salmon as they climb the fish ladder, learn about the power of water as the free tour takes you inside the power house, watch boats travel through the locks, and make your way over to the Bonneville Fish Hatchery to meet Herman the Sturgeon. The Klickitat River gives you the opportunity to witness tribal dipnet fishing on Lyle Falls; an awe inspiring skill that is passed down through generations. Be a part of the historical Indian salmon harvest, and take some home with you to enjoy!
Our lodging partners will help make the most of your time here in the Gorge. Contact them to book your stay today!