The 80 miles of the Columbia River Gorge's steep rocky sides offer some of the most spectacular hiking in the world, complete with pounding waterfalls, eagles, century-old trees, ferns, flowers, and ancient rocks. Join us for a day of exploring with 2-3 hikes aimed at pushing you to new heights both physical and experiential. Based on your group's fitness level and the season, hikes could include Hamilton Mountain, Rowena Crest, Beacon Rock, Dog Mountain, Falls Creek Falls, and many others. Coffee, vegetarian picnic lunch and snacks included; your naturalist guide will accompany you on most of the day's hikes, introducing you to the many native plants, ferns, lichens, mosses, animals and birds, teaching you trail practices and breathing techniques, and helping you see past the next footfall to the way volcanoes and ice age floods have each in their turn shaped this place. Expect 4-12 miles of hiking; elevation gain dependent on group. Pickup and drop-off in or near downtown Portland.Description
Your guide will pick you up at your hotel, or a central meeting point, in Portland by 8 a.m., and will greet you with coffee to set the plan for the day. After reviewing your hiking experience, goals and fitness level, your guide will devise the ideal itinerary for your group -- taking into account differing levels among your group members (many hikes have multiple options).
You will be driven in a comfortable Sprinter van or SUV to your morning hike, 35 minutes to an hour away, with a scenic stop on the way to introduce you to the geology and microclimates into which you'll shortly be immersed. Next you and your guide will begin a hike at a trailhead in the Western Columbia River Gorge, such as Latourell Falls or Hamilton Mountain, with stops for snacks. Expect to be introduced to trail etiquette and practices if you are not already familiar, as well as exploring the detailed world of native plant, lichen, fungus and wild life. Your guide has experience observing (and nibbling on) plant life throughout the year, and you might be offered a taste of your guide's favorite roadside snack; bring your sense of adventure! By lunchtime, your first hike will be completed, and your group will share a vegetarian picnic lunch.
After lunch, you and your group will visit another scenic stop with a short hike further to the east in the Columbia River Gorge, viewing at least one waterfall up close, before proceeding to a hiking destination such as Rowena Crest. You'll get an opportunity to observe the very different plant life in this much more arid region, as well as see the shape of landscape exposed far more clearly without the lush forests and ferns of the Western Gorge. At the end of this hike, you and your group will drive back to Portland, with a stop at a brewery in the central Columbia Gorge on the return trip if time and interest allows.
Your professional guide will provide naturalist commentary and conversation throughout the day, as well as telling you stories about native legends and introducing you to a wide variety of spiritual approaches to the oldest, most essential meditative exercise: a walk in the woods. You'll be returned to your hotel at the end of the journey, between 2 and 3 p.m.
Hiking shoes that can handle mud and some running water are recommended -- for most hikes in July, August, and September, trail running shoes can suffice, but the rest of the year is subject to frequent downpours that leave trails muddy and with occasional small streams running across trails. If you don't have footwear you're comfortable in, feel free to contact us for recommendations prior to departure.Highlights
: Portland, United States of AmericaDuration
: 6 to 7 hrs Voucher Redembtion
: You can present either a paper or an electronic voucher for this activity.