10 Reasons to Visit the Gorge in Winter

The Columbia Gorge is a popular year-round destination, but there’s something special about visiting this beautiful area in the winter. Getting here is easier than ever with the Columbia Gorge Express bus, which runs several times a day from Portland to Multnomah Falls, Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles.

Here are 10 of many reasons to come see the Gorge during wintertime.

1. Stunning Scenery
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most picturesque areas in the Pacific Northwest. As you follow the mighty Columbia River, you’ll see the snow-capped peaks of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood, the rolling hills along the Oregon/Washington border, and lush forests that frame the scenic highway.

2. Skiing, Snowboarding, & Playing at Mt. Hood Meadows
Mt. Hood offers fantastic opportunities for snow sports, including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, inner tubing, and more. Take the free Gorge-to-Mountain Express bus from Hood River to Mt. Hood Meadows for an easy, car-free ride. skihood.com

3. Wine Tasting
You’ll find 15 varietals and more than 90 vineyards in the Gorge. Many of these boutique wineries are open to the public and offer tastings in lovely settings. gorgewine.com

4. Shopping
Local shops in Cascade Locks, Hood River, and The Dalles offer small-time charm and local crafts and products for a unique shopping experience.

5. Dining Out
The Hood River Valley is a rich agricultural region, and area restaurants offer a variety of locally grown fare.

6. Multnomah Falls
The most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest, the 620-foot-high Multnomah Falls is spectacular to see in the winter. Avoid the busy parking lot by riding the Columbia Gorge Express directly to the Falls.

7. Books, Books, Books
Winter is the best time to kick back and enjoy a good book. It’s easy to find a warm coffee shop or cozy hotel or vacation rental where you can relax and read. The friendly folks at locally owed bookstores Waucoma Bookstore, Artifacts: Good Books, Bad Art and Klindt Books will help you find the perfect winter read. Be sure to check out the beautiful Carnegie Public Library in Hood River too.

8. Great Breweries & Cider Bars
The Gorge is famous for its myriad of local breweries and cideries. Check out the list here.

9. Museums & Galleries
When you’re looking for some fun indoor activities, you’ll want to visit some of the great local museums, like the Discovery Center, WAAAM (Western Auto & Airplane Museum), and the History Museum of Hood River. If art’s your thing, check out the Columbia Center for the Arts, and The Dalles Art Center—and stroll the downtown streets to see the many small independent art stores and galleries.

10. Relaxing
The Gorge is famous as a place to relax in a beautiful setting. Stroll the waterfront, take in a movie, watch the snow fall, and let this place of immense beauty rejuvenate you.

For more on transportation options to and from the Gorge visit rideCATbus.org