The recent Eagle Creek Fire and the resulting trail closures in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area have many people wondering where and how to get their Gorge fix. The answer is simple: They can come to The Dalles and the eastern end of the Gorge, where there is an abundance of beautiful hiking trails, plus unparalleled cycling routes, unique museums, world-class fishing and more. At the end of the day, visitors can relax at one of the new breweries and pubs, or enjoy a glass of wine at a local tasting room. And with 300 days of sun and only 14 inches of rain a year (compared to 37 inches in Portland), The Dalles is the perfect fall and winter escape.
Some Fun Gorge Escapes
Hike amongst petroglyphs. Head across The Dalles Bridge to Horsethief Butte. For age-old petroglyphs and stupendous views of the Gorge, this hike can’t be beat. Though the trail is just two miles long, the hike can take all day, given the seemingly endless rock labyrinths and basalt mazes within the butte.
The Friends of the Gorge website is a great resource for more hikes in the Eastern Gorge and beyond. For post-fire hiking suggestions, visit gorgefriends.org/hike-the-gorge/columbia-gorge-hiking-opportunities.html.
Hit the road on two wheels. The Dalles is a cyclist’s paradise, with rides ranging from the family-friendly Riverfront Trail to a gorgeous spin on the Historic Columbia River Highway (which is still open east of Hood River) to an all-day, 100-mile epic to Mount Hood and back. Winter is the perfect time to take advantage of the area’s dry climate, and the newly updated “Explore The Dalles Scenic Bikeways” bike map includes six of the most popular local routes, which vary in length and intensity. The map is available online and for free at The Dalles Chamber’s headquarters (404 W. Second St.), Dalles City Cyclery in downtown The Dalles and Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, which is located at the west end of the Riverfront Trail.
Explore downtown. Historic downtown The Dalles is beautifully preserved and offers a plethora of shopping experiences, including Klindt’s Booksellers & Stationers, Oregon’s oldest bookstore (founded in 1870); Yesterday & Today Records (vinyl, CDs, DVDs and an awesome collection of Beatles paraphernalia), clothing stores, antique and second-hand shops, great restaurants and cafes, Dalles City Cyclery, Flyfishing Strategies Fly Shop, wineries and more. For a complete overview, see the downtown shopping map. And don’t miss the unique historic mural artwork while strolling downtown.
We will feature three more east Gorge escapes soon.