The abundant recreation potential within the Columbia River Gorge attracts rafters, kiters, bikers, kayakers, skiers and just about every other type of outdoor enthusiast. However, many of the remote wildflower meadows, sparkling waterfalls and sweeping vistas can only be reached with a sturdy pair of hiking boots and a packed lunch.
Helping to get more people out on the trail, Friends of the Columbia Gorge offers a competition for the intrepid hikers with a bit of whitewater from Wet Planet as a reward.
For over 30 years, Friends of the Columbia Gorge has worked to protect the stunning scenic, cultural, recreational and rural qualities of the Northwest’s biggest river gorge. While much of their time behind the scenes is spent advocating for the protection of the Gorge’s natural resources, Friends also educates the public with over a hundred free guided hikes every year.
This year, hikers are challenged to visit 25 of the Columbia River Gorge’s most spectacular waterfalls through the Waterfall Wanderlust Hiking Challenge.
From the three-tiered Falls Creek Falls to the thundering Wahclella Falls, each magnificent vista will get a checkmark on the trail log of participants. Competitors have from March 1st to October 31st to get them all in, averaging 2-3 waterfall hikes per month. Check out this Waterfall Google Map to start planning your attack.
After seeing 25 waterfalls throughout the Gorge, the winner of the competition will be able experience a waterfall in a different way. Wet Planet proudly donated a White Salmon River whitewater rafting trip for 6 people as the grand prize. The lucky winner will be drawn in November from participants who submit their waterfall checklist.
He or she will be able to let their legs rest from all that hiking, hopping in a raft to discover the beauty of the Gorge from the river’s perspective. If the time of year is right, they may even be able to raft over Husum Falls, the nation’s tallest commercially raftable waterfall.
Getting out to discover the magnificence of the Columbia River Gorge has been made easier by Friends of the Columbia River Gorge, both in offering outdoor trips for physical exploration and through advocacy work that has helped the gorge stay wild and beautiful. We are proud to help more people discover the incredible Columbia River Gorge recreation potential with this wonderful organization.
Author Susan Hollingsworth writes for Wet Planet Whitewater, Canoe & Kayak Magazine, American Whitewater, and any other river-related publication she can find.