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What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

san francisco
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What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

I will be in Portland on July 15th heading to Mt. Hood. I arrive in the morning at the airport so we want to stop at any interesting spots along the Columbia River. We know about the Bonneville Dam and the fish hatchery. What about where to eat breakfast/lunch or should we wait and eat lunch at the Mt. Hood area. We love food and family run bakeries/cafes. Anything with some character. We would like to take a short hike along the way with a waterfall. We are in our 30's and active. this is a day trip as we are staying in the downtown Portland.

Thanks in advance!!

Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

I suggest just heading out the Old Columbia River Highway stopping wherever it looks interesting. Plan on the newly refurbished Vista House at Crown Point, and Multnomah Falls, where you can take the hike to the top if you'd like. There are several other falls along the way, most with some sort of hiking opportunity.

I've lived in the Portland area for most of my life and not yet felt like I needed to see Bonneville Dam or the hatchery. Given other options along the gorge, I don't feel like I've missed anything. But who knows....

Unless you want to gorge ((bad) pun intended?) on the huge breakfast at Columbia Gorge Hotel in Hood River, sorry, I can't be of much help with food.

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2. Re: What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

Mistletoe gave you great advice.

There are many hikes in the gorge, and Multnomah Falls would be perfect for that. If by chance you want another, then go down to Ponytail Falls up to Triple Falls.

One place that we like for both breakfast and lunch near Mt. Hood is called the Huckleberry Inn. It is in Government Camp, right on the main road. Their huckleberry milkshakes are heavenly (made with hard pack ice cream and fresh huckleberries). It definitely has character and you will find many hikers and snowboarders there. I have only had lunch and dinners there, but my husband has had breakfasts there after climbing and he said the breakfasts are even better.

Portland, Oregon
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3. Re: What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

Note that Government Camp is a long way from the Columbia Gorge!

For a really long day trip, you can go out the Gorge, take a hike (lots of waterfall hikes off the old highway as Mistletoe said), then go to Hood River, and take Hwy 35 (I think--check a map) around the eastern side of the mountain, and hit Government Camp and

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

Shoot...I guess you can't include links here! Sorry about the cut-off post.

Anyway, I would suggest that if you want to hike, concentrate on that and go hike in the Gorge. Lots of good waterfall hikes. Be prepared for elevation change and wear good shoes.

You might want to eat breakfast before you go hiking. On your way from the airport to I-84 you can easily stop at the Cameo Cafe. (www.cameocafe.com) Great place, lots of character, and wonderful pancakes.

Just take the 82nd Street exit from the airport and drive to Sandy Blvd--it's not far, maybe a mile or two. The Cameo will be on your right.

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5. Re: What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

The original poster said they were headed to the Mt. Hood area and asked for ideas there, which I provided.

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6. Re: What to do on the Columbia River towards Mt. Hood

Dear friend,

It sounds like there is a bit of confusion about your destination on the mountain, and which path you ultimately intend to take. It sounds like you mean the gorge, in which Interstate 84 passes north of the mountain but stays down along the Columbia River.

But "The Mt. Hood area" is really gigantic. In the Willamette Valley some people would distinguish it from the gorge and take it as a reference to the U.S. 26 corridor, which essentially ascends the mountain toward Timberline Lodge along the mountain's south flank.

If you are going into the gorge along the Columbia River, remember that the scenic act that protects the gorge also limits the kind of business possible there. You're not going to see little restaurants and tourists stops every few miles - the ones that are there are pretty much the ones that existed before the scenic act (was that in 1986?). But right before the gorge boundary is the town of Troutdale. If you are hungry at that point, you might want to try McMenamins Edgefield on Halsey for breakfast, or the Troutdale General Store on the Historic Columbia River Highway for lunch. Don't be fooled by all the chains you see from Interstate 84. Troutdale has a pretty downtown and a lot of independently owned stores, restaurants and galleries. You could also pick up some sandwiches or other picnic stuff at a grocery...

Or keep driving. Once you get to Multnomah Falls there's a nice old lodge that serves lunch (I'm not sure about breakfast), but it can be very crowded at times and a bit expensive. Some of our guests have loved the food, but I haven't eaten there enough to give an honest review. There are plenty of beautiful waterfall hikes in the gorge, and Multnomah Falls has a very well traveled hike that is paved part of the way. Most hikes are well marked, but if you need maps and directions for hikes in the gorge, you can get them in the forest office next to the gift shop at Multnomah Falls.

If you are continuing on to Hood River, there is a great hotel in downtown Hood River that has good Italian food. There are probably other good places there too, but that's the only one I've tried. If you are going this far, be sure to leave time to watch the windsurfers out on the river. It's as great as anything you'll see in the Olympics.