The Dalles: Top 6 Springtime Activities
Springtime in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a place of natural wonder and fun for the whole family. Here are six diverse ways to experience spring in and around The Dalles:
Northwest Cherry Festival at The Dalles
Experience authentic Oregon at the Northwest Cherry Festival (April 22-24, 2016). Now in its 37thyear, this popular festival showcases The Dalles’ deep agricultural roots and Western roots. This year’s theme, “Highway to Cherrytown,” is a nod to the Historic Columbia River Highway’s Centennial celebration. Festivities include the Gorge’s biggest parade, classic car, a 10k running race, pony rides, Davis Show’s Carnival, and lots of local music. And of course, there’s also cherry sampling with the Oregon Cherry Growers. The festival culminates with the crowning of Festival King Bing and Queen Anne.
Immerse yourselves in wildflowers. Head out right now to see the spectacular wildflowers that are painting the Gorge, which is home to 15 wildflowers found nowhere else and to over 800 species overall. Don’t miss the fantastic display at Tom McCall Preserve, a Nature Conservancy site with two short (one- and two-miles) hikes and spectacular views of the Gorge.
Historic Columbia River Highway
Take on the Historic Columbia River Highway during its centennial year. The Historic Columbia River Highway was America’s first scenic highway, and 2016 marks 100 years since it was dedicated at Multnomah Falls in 1916. Motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists will love the final, iconic section of the 73-mile long Historic Highway, between Mosier and The Dalles. It includes amazing views and spring wildflowers at Rowena Crest’s Tom McCall Preserve, and memorable descent into The Dalles via the Rowena Curves – featured in numerous car commercials.
The eastern end of the Gorge is an angler’s paradise. It hosts some of the greatest fishing around with easy access to several major rivers such as the Klickitat, Deschutes, John Day, and the Columbia. The Dalles Pool, which stretches from The Dalles Dam upstream to the John Day Dam is home to the Pacific Northwest’s best walleye fishery. If your angling for Cohoe and Chinook salmon, then the Spring and Fall runs on the Columbia will not disappoint but if you are looking for a River Monster Adventure then you need to try your luck with the allusive Sturgeon that reside on the bottom of the Columbia River.
Explore Winery Scene
Explore the Gorge’s winery scene during Gorge Wine Experience (April 29-May 1, 2016). This three-day Gorge wine immersion experience brings together wine lovers, winemakers, vignerons and local cuisine and celebrates everything that makes Gorge wine exceptional. More than 25 themed wine activities throughout the Gorge over one weekend will let wine enthusiasts to see all sides of Gorge wine and meet the faces behind the labels. The Dalles area includes many award-winning wineries, including Maryhill Winery and Jacob Williams Winery. For full details and tickets, go to columbiagorgewine.com.
Discover why The Dalles is Oregon’s best kept secret for discovering our fine feathered friends. From the east side of Mount Hood to The Dalles is where you will find tree-lined trails providing the best riverside birding in the county. Species seen here include Greater White-fronted Geese, Wood Duck, Canvasback, Grebes, Osprey, shorebirds, many species of gulls, Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Western Kingbird, American Pipit, and Cedar Waxwing, to name a few. A great activity for all ages! Don’t forget the amazing Raptor Shows at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Wasco County Museum for an up-close encounter with the birds of prey of the Gorge.
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