Mid-May is a fabulous time to visit the Columbia River Gorge. On a recent day trip out of Vancouver, a perfect weather day was in store for me as I headed up towards Hood River. The day was planned with a variety of stops along the way. There is so much to explore in this area, you can see something new every with every trip. With a knee giving me problems, there weren’t any long or strenuous hikes on this trip. This was an easy-does-it, one-day itinerary:
Rowena Crest Plateau
Driving past the exit for Crown Point and Vista House is hard to do – it is always tempting to stop there. But drive a little further past Hood River and you’ll be treated to another spectacular viewpoint. Heading east, you actually have to pass the viewpoint and double back. Exit at Rowena, but after you exit, do not follow the sign towards the town of Rowena – head the opposite direction back west. It takes you on a winding, double-back looping road up to the viewpoint. The famous view of that horseshoe bend in the road is easily seen from the parking area. The plateau viewpoint overlooks the river and is filled with wildflowers. In mid-May you’ll find yellow daisy-like balsamroot, purple lupine, bachelor buttons, among many others. There is a short hiking trail to wander among the flowers. Drive right up to the viewpoint with free, level parking. The hiking path is not paved.
Mosier Creek Falls
Starting in downtown Mosier, cross the single-lane white bridge and take a short hiking path that takes you up to see Mosier Creek Falls. Along the way you’ll pass the old, small cemetery where the city founding family is buried. The path is lined with bachelor buttons winding their way through the tall grasses that grows along the edge. The Falls are short, two-tiered falls best seen from the path, as the slope is steep if you try to get down to the water’s edge and not recommended. Look for an old tree limb stump that looks surprisingly like a gargoyle! Free parking. An easy hike, but not level and not paved.
Right on the edge of downtown Hood River you’ll find Evoke Winery ‘s tasting room – a funky, colorful, upscale, and comfortable wine tasting room. There are four different seating areas to choose from, with colorful, hip sofas, neon artwork, low tables, and is bright and light. You can choose your wine tasting from a set of either reds or whites. An enjoyable experience! Free parking in their parking lot.
Ani Che Cellars Winery
Cross over the Hood River bridge and head west. Just outside White Salmon on the Washington side you’ll find Ani Che Cellars set in a rural landscape overlooking the river below. The tasting room is a bit more rustic, and has a great collection of old vintage typewriters on display. Indoors is dark and moody in contrast to the outdoor space where you sit in adirondak chairs either around a fire pit or under the shade of a white flowering shrub next to a row of blueberry bushes and look out over the river. A lovely place to sit on a warm, spring day if you love a more casual, rustic wine tasting experience. A gravel driveway, but parking is close.
Clark and Lewie’s in Stevenson
On the way back towards Vancouver, stop in Stevenson for dinner at Clark and Lewie’s in Stevenson. Located in a historic old brothel on the edge of the river, it has a fairly casual vibe sitting out on the deck. The deck has clear glass walls to keep you protected on the frequent windy days. The deck overlooks the pier where cruise ships dock. The Caesar salad with salmon was huge and the reuben sandwich was the best I’ve ever had. Free parking is easy right in front.
** all photos by Best of the Northwest **