Our odyssey down the Columbia River Gorge began from Hood River. During our first night in this small tourist town we “sampled” a couple of the award-winning beers at the Full Sail Brewery, so I was feeling my absolute best as we ventured onto the Fruit Loop the next day. Fittingly, there was a bit of fog and rain in the area as we started out that morning.
The Fruit Loop is a 35-mile scenic drive through the orchards and farmlands of the Hood River valley. Many of the farms sell their own produce, or products made from their own produce. We purchased a few of the items that were in season at that time, including some apples, peaches and pears.
Bonneville Lock and Dam. At the gate we were greeted by an armed guard who asked if we had any guns or weapons, and then proceeded to check our trunk for bombs or any other contraband before allowing us onto the Federal property.
The first powerhouse, spillway and lock at Bonneville were completed in 1938 in order to improve navigation on the Columbia River, and to provide hydropower to the Pacific Northwest. At that time, Bonneville’s first lock was the largest single-lift lock in the world. In 1986 the entire lock and dam district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. My brother-in-law, an engineer for a power company in Ohio, was in heaven as we toured the power room.
Horsetail Falls plunges 176 feet into a pool next to the Historic Columbia River Highway:
hiked to the top of falls.
There are also more than 1000 historic buildings and archaeological sites within the CRGNSA, including the Vista House at Crown Point, our next stop.
Crown Point, a National Natural Landmark, also offers sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge.
Moon Spotlight Columbia River Gorge is a compact 60-page guide covering the best of this spectacular geological wonder. Award-winning travel writer Ericka Chickowski offers firsthand advice on must-see attractions. This lightweight guide is packed with recommendations on entertainment, shopping, recreation, accommodations, food, and transportation, making navigating this region of incredible wilderness and artistic attractions uncomplicated and enjoyable.