MT. HOOD AND
Which cities are in our sub-region?
Dufur, a farming community steeped in history, is nestled in the foothills along the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The city was incorporated in 1893 and lies between Mt. Hood and the Deschutes River. Vistas include rolling hills covered with “Amber Waves of Grain” and breathtaking views the mountain.
The City of Rufus, Oregon, is a beautiful recreational community located off Interstate 84, in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Rufus is 100 miles east of Portland and west of Pendleton. The community is primarily residential, with a current population of about 255, featuring a range of small businesses that cater to residents and travelers. The nearby rivers offer a variety of recreational opportunities such as camping, fishing, wind surfing, parasailing, rafting, and boating.
Mosier is just 5 miles east of Hood River and an hour from Portland on the Columbia River. With a population of 485, this town has possibly the highest number of entrepreneurs and cherry orchards in the region as well as over 200 days of sun per year.
- Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Wasco County Historical Museum. The eye-catching museum tells the story of the Gorge’s natural and cultural histories; from the Ice Age through the Lewis & Clark Expedition and beyond. This museum is great for visitors of all ages and be sure to not miss the daily Raptor Interpretive Program.
- Sunshine Mill – Located in the former Sunshine Flour Mill, this tasting room for Quenett Winery is like none other in Oregon! The Sunshine Biscuit Company once owned this property and the wheat milled here was used to make America’s favorite cracker, the Cheez-It. With much of the milling machinery still intact and the concrete grain silos looming overhead, this is the Gorge’s most distinctive wine tasting room. Sunshine Mill is owned by The Dalles natives James & Molli Martin, who also started and own Copa di Vino. Sunshine Mill shows a free, family (and pet!)-friendly movie on the lawn every Friday evening during the summer and on other evenings you might be able to catch a live music performance.
- Klindt’s Booksellers -This classic independent bookstore in downtown The Dalles has a great claim to fame: it’s the oldest bookstore in Oregon. Klindt’s was first opened in 1870 by German immigrant Inwer Nickelsen. It has since had a location change (due to a fire in 1891) and two owners, but it has never closed its doors! It remains a thriving community hub and has an amazing selection of books (don’t miss their Pacific Northwest section) and eye-catching gift items.
- Road cycling – With breathtaking rides that wind along the cliffs of the Columbia River, through the lush Hood River Valley, along the Historic Columbia River Highway, into the high desert in the south or to the heights of Mount Hood the area has something for all levels of cyclists. In addition to their varied terrain, the cycling routes surrounding The Dalles offer a veritable tour of Oregon history, leading cyclists past a camp of Lewis and Clark, turn-of-the-20th-century schoolhouses and by a monument to the Pioneer Woman as they pedal through history on paved portions of the old Oregon Trail.
- Fishing – The eastern end of the Gorge is an angler’s paradise. It hosts some of the greatest fishing around with easy access to several major rivers such as the Klickitat, Deschutes, John Day, and the Columbia. The Dalles Pool, which stretches from The Dalles Dam upstream to the John Day Dam is home to the Pacific Northwest’s best walleye fishery. If your angling for Cohoe and Chinook salmon, then the Spring and Fall runs on the Columbia will not disappoint but if you are looking for a River Monster Adventure then you need to try your luck with the allusive Sturgeon that reside on the bottom of the Columbia River.
- Tom McCall Nature Preserve / Rowena Plateau – A Great family-friendly hike with spectacular views. This hike, which has an easy 2.2-mile loop to the edge of the bluff high above the Columbia, is a wildflower wonderland in the spring, with balsamroot, lupine, and many other native plants. Don’t miss the view of the famed “Rowena Loops” (seen in many a car ad!) from the lookout point at the parking lot. As you traverse to The Dalles down the famed Rowena Loops you will take a step back in time and experience traveling on the original highway of the Columbia Gorge and is known as the Columbia Historic Hwy 30.
Top 5 Springtime Activities
Springtime in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is a place of natural wonder and fun for the whole family. Here are six diverse ways to experience spring in and around The Dalles:
- Experience authentic Oregon at the Northwest Cherry Festival (April 22-24, 2016). Now in its 37th year, this popular festival showcases The Dalles’ deep agricultural roots and Western roots. This year’s theme, “Highway to Cherrytown”, is a nod to the Historic Columbia River Highway’s Centennial celebration. Festivities include the Gorge’s biggest parade, classic car, a 10k running race, pony rides, Davis Show’s Carnival, and lots of local music. And of course, there’s also cherry sampling with the Oregon Cherry Growers. The festival culminates with the crowning of Festival King Bing and Queen Anne. More information available at: thedalleschamber.com/northwest-cherry-festival/
- Immerse yourselves in wildflowers. Head out right now to see the spectacular wildflowers that are painting the Gorge, which is home to 15 wildflowers found nowhere else and to over 800 species overall. Don’t miss the fantastic display at Tom McCall Preserve, a Nature Conservancy site with two short (one- and two-miles) hikes and spectacular views of the Gorge.
- Take on the Historic Columbia River Highway during its centennial year. The Historic Columbia River Highway was America’s first scenic highway, and 2016 marks 100 years since it was dedicated at Multnomah Falls in 1916. Motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists will love the final, iconic section of the 73-mile long Historic Highway, between Mosier and The Dalles. It includes amazing views and spring wildflowers at Rowena Crest’s Tom McCall Preserve, and memorable descent into The Dalles via the Rowena Loops, featured in numerous car commercials.
- Go fish. The Columbia River is the Pacific Northwest’s best walleye fishery, and one of the best fishing spots is The Dalles Pool, which stretches from The Dalles Dam upstream to the John Day Dam. Walleye season is year-round, but most anglers get serious during March, with pre-spawn fishing best through April. For a guided tour, contact one of the numerous area outfitters, including Upper Columbia Guide Service (firstname.lastname@example.org), Fly By Nite Guide Service (541.296-2770), River Bend Outfitters (541.296-5949), legendary angler Ed Iman (541.298.3753) and Young’s Fishing Service, Inc. (www.fishyfs.com).
- Discover why The Dalles is Oregon’s best kept secret for discovering our fine feathered friends. From the east side of Mount Hood to The Dalles is where you will find tree-lined trails providing the best riverside birding in the county. Species seen here include Greater White-fronted Geese, Wood Duck, Canvasback, Grebes, Osprey, shorebirds, many species of gulls, Common Tern, Caspian Tern, Western Kingbird, American Pipit, and Cedar Waxwing, to name a few. A great activity for all ages! Don’t forget the amazing Raptor Shows at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Wasco County Museum for an up close encounter with the birds of prey of the Gorge.
Don’t forget to visit The Dalles Chamber of Commerce for more information about the region’s attractions and lodging before your vacation or road trip to The Dalles, OR.