The Columbia River Gorge separating Oregon and Washington is visually stunning—surreal even. It is also an outdoor lover’s Elysium. Waterfalls, swimming holes, trails, and more are abundant on both the Oregon and Washing sides of the river; and, the Columbia River itself boasts international acclaim for its windsurfing.
One of my favorite ‘gorge’ activities is hiking “Dog Mountain.” Its landscape is breathtaking, and it offers one of the more challenging trails within its region given its near three-thousand-foot elevation gain. Every time I have hiked Dog Mountain it has been an adventure. From encountering a misanthropic mountain goat that vaguely resembled Billy Bob Thornton, to running out of water on a ninety-degree day, to capturing the perfect shot of a Phantom Orchid, I have always left with a story. Perhaps next time I will find a Leprechaun or the Holy Grail.
The next time you are in the Pacific Northwest and want to take in fresh air and burn a couple thousand calories, pack yourself a lunch and lots of water, grab the family and the dogs, lace-up, and drive to milepost-53 on Hwy 14, in Washington. Plan on about a four and one-half hour adventure!