Autumn Escapes in the Pacific Northwest

Explore the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood


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Northwest TripFinder Columbia Gorge

Portlanders really do have it all – this is their quick and easy weekend getaway! Not that Portland folks have the place to themselves. Windsurfers from all over the world descend on the mighty Columbia River for–you guessed it–world-class windsurfing.

You don’t even have to get out of your car to marvel at the geologic wonder that is the Columbia River Gorge. What you’re seeing is ancient volcanic rock, carved into a gorge millions of years ago by the massive Missoula Floods. As you drive along the cliffs that overlook the second largest river in North America, though, you will want to get out of your car, a lot, for a picture of Mount Hood, to catch the spray from a gorgeous waterfall, or to stop for coffee or a microbrew in one of the Gorge’s small towns. In fact, you’ll probably want to spend a night or two at one of the wonderful B&Bs or nice inns along the way.

There are a dozen or so wineries on the Oregon side of the Gorge, most clustered just outside of Hood River or The Dalles. Expect to find a wide variety of wines here as climate conditions change dramatically in the span of a few miles. We like tasting in this area because the wineries we’ve encountered are small and family-run, and the winemaker is often pouring behind the counter.

Do you ski? You’re in luck. Mount Hood is host to four primo ski areas, and you can ski at Timberline almost year-round.

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Autumn Escapes in the Pacific Northwest