Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail

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I spend much of my off time volunteering with a local non-profit, working with people disabilities to help get them active in the outdoors. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to be able to tag along for a ride with the Wounded Warrior Project down in Oregon in exchange for my homegrown “mechanical” skills.

We took a drive a 4 hour drive to scenic Hood River, which would serve as our basecamp for the weekend. While Hood River has long been known as a mecca for windsurfing and kite boarding, it’s also home to some fantastic mountain biking and road cycling.

And breweries.

Lots and lots of breweries. Of you like adult beverages, Hood River will not disappoint.

The Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail is an actual old highway that runs parallel to the current highway 84/ Oregon 30 along the banks of the mighty Columbia river like a watery Mason-Dixon line separating the states of Washington and Oregon so they don’t battle it out for Pacific NW supremacy. The complete route, which includes sections where you ride along the highway shoulder as well as fully protected sections, runs the distance between Troutdale and the Dalles.  Total distance is just over 80 miles each way.

For this particular ride, we stuck to the sections of the trail that were fully protected, for safety sake.

The trail runs along a ridge line high above the current highway, so you get great views and very little road noise. 13 or so miles are completely closed to motorized vehicles, giving riders a chance to ride at their own pace and stop when they want for photos.

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Along the way are numerous parks to rest or camp at, as well as plenty of things to see. The Bonneville Dam is on the route, as is the Bridge of the Gods  and one of the PCT trail heads (for you “Wild” enthusiasts).

Even though over 300,000 people a day use this trail, the path never seemed congested, and is very family friendly. The parking at the trailheads, however, paint a different picture, so get there early.

I’m planning a trip for later in the summer where I can experience the 160 mile out and back in its entirety, so stay tuned. I’m just waiting for my brother to get settled into his new place in the Portland area, so I don’t have to pay for parking!

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