Posts Tagged ‘Columbia River Gorge’

Columbia River Gorge: Waterfalls and Wineries

June 3, 2010

It looks like a tropical jungle, but it’s right here in the Pacific Northwest: the spring vegetation along the trail at Falls Creek Falls in Carson, Washington. This place feels wild.

Once we approached the halfway mark of the 3.4 mile roundtrip trail, which at times can be a bit treacherous (especially during the rainy season, with its slippery,  narrow paths and steep dropoffs), we began to hear the roar of water, and could see the upper cascade through the trees. Suddenly, the two lower cascades of Falls Creek appeared, almost close enough to touch:

The dizzying drop of the three tiers is about 210 feet in total. Falls Creek Falls can be found 15 miles north of Carson, off Wind River Road on FR 3062.

And if you simply love large cascades of plummeting water, Multnomah Falls, although more populated with tourists, is a not-to-miss gem. With its drop of 620 feet, it’s impressive. But what I enjoyed the most, after hiking about 1.5 miles to the top of the falls, was the trail that heads east–it’s more remote, the scenery is gorgeous, and around every turn is another dramatic view.

But waterfalls are not the only reason to come to the Columbia River Gorge; there are dozens of wineries, many with scenic views of Mt. Hood, that produce high-quality wines. Washington’s Maryhill Winery, across the river and about 15 minutes east of The Dalles, has great wines–try the 2007 Zinfandel Reserve–and terrific scenery from its lovely open-air patio, plus a small amphitheater for concerts. http://www.maryhillwinery.com/ourwine.asp

The vineyards:

and the view:

In the next post, I’ll tell you where to eat and drink in the area surrounding the Columbia River Gorge, especially in Hood River. Meanwhile, here’s a website that will tell you more about waterfalls in the Gorge: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/columbia/forest/

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