Located about 13 miles north of the little community of Carson just off the Wind River Highway, are the natural mineral springs of Government Mineral Springs, bubbling up beneath ancient cedars as they have for eons. The early 20th century forest guard station hasbeen recently restored here and the picnic grounds occupy the site of an old hotel that was built up to give locals the chance to emulate European royalty taking the waters of Spa, Baden Baden or Vichy. Here, guests can imbibe the waters - a little sulphur, a little iron and plenty of CO2 - in an effort to find a youth that has retreated. There are several glorious hiking options taking off from here into the neighboring Trapper Creek Wilderness and Observation Peak, high above, hidden by the dense forest giants all around. See the website below for information on renting the restored Guard Station in lieu of camping.
This is a very small, but VERY good winery in the middle of the country side - not quite that easy to find.If you're on the Freeway to Portland (1-84) take exit # 62 and follow Country Club Road for about 1.6 miles. Then you come to a small junction where you turn right into Westwood Drive. follow W.-Drive for about 0.8 miles and you will reach Hood River Vineyards :o)
Free Wine Tasting - open daily 11-5pp (March-Dec 24th)
Large selection of Award winning wines!
Relaxed & friendly atmosphere - bring the whole family :o)
High on the ridge from Dog Mt near the Collumbia River, north in to the high lakes and peaks of Indian Heaven, is the old forest lookout of Grassy Knoll at 3648 feet high. The hike up from the trailhead is reasonably short - just over two miles and some 1200 vertical feet. As the name implies, much of the little peak's top is treeless, covered instead with grasses and flowers, offering views over much of the southern Washington and northern Oregon Cascade Range. The deep gash carved by the Columbia dominates the foreground to the south. Mt Adams and its glaciers punctuate the horizon to the northeast with Mt Hood on the south. The trail continues to the north towards the next abandoned lookout atop Big Huckleberry Mt some 3.2 miles away - the trail continues into the Indian Heaven from there. See the picture of a certain tired corgi on my homepage for a view towards Mt Adams from that peak.
Lying a few miles west of the small town of Lyle, in the heart of the Columbia Gorge area known as the Syncline is the little valley of Catherine Creek. It is a perfect spot for a spring-time hike that will give you a better appreciation for both the geology and the ecology of this transition zone between the desert of the Columbia Plateau and the forests of the Cascade Mountains. The hike is a pleasant 2.4 mile ramble that takes you up through the oaks and meadows along the creek to a natural rock arch that lies along the wall of lava cliffs making up the east side of the valley. Best time of year is mid-spring when the flowers come out in force and the summer heat has not arrived yet. From the trailhead to reach the lava arch you bend right on a faint abandoned road - there is also a road going to the left or more straight up the hill and the paths are not signposted. The way becomes more apparent as it turns up into the valley. You come to the arch in about a half mile, but the trail/road continues up into the valley leading to a junction at 0.8 miles where you bend right and gain the top of the east wall of the valley. In another 0.4 miles across open meadows, you reach the top of the arch which is solid enough to walk out on - if you aren't afraid of heights.
One other option is to head out on the left road at the trailhead
To reach the trailhead, turn off WA 14 onto Old Highway 8 at Rowland Lake - 5.8 miles west of the Hood River Bridge. The trailhead is 1.2 miles farther. Continuing on the road takes you back to WA 14 just west of Lyle.. The way becomes a faint bootpath quickly and takes you along the west wall of the valley giving you an excellent view of the lava arch and the Gorge terrain from near Hood River to The Dalles.
Tamanawas Falls is a short 3.8 mile (6.1 km) round trip hike. I would consider them a block from waterfall even though they do completely come away from the face of the cliff. In fact if you were inclined you could likely traverse behind the waterfall.
I traveled to the falls in early May and found that their was quite a bit of snow to be found. The hike begins at about 3,000 feet (914 m) in elevation and gains only 500 feet over the course of the trail. The trail can be a bit tricky in the winter but the footpaths should be somewhat helpful. For better directions see the link below.
As for the falls they are about 100 feet (31 m) and take on a fairly large volume. I did not experience a large amount of overspray from the falls but I also did not get all that close to them. Overall this falls is certainly worth the drive and short hike.
From Hood River take exit 64 from Hwy 84. Travel south on Hwy 35 for approximately 25 miles. The turnoff for the trailhead is about 1.5 miles after the Polallie Creek Campground.