By Renee Tkach
Exploring the Columbia Gorge without a personal vehicle is getting easier this fall with the expansion of the Columbia Gorge Express connecting from Portland to The Dalles, seven days a week, starting in early November. Consider skipping the parking hassle and lessening your carbon footprint by having Columbia Gorge Express do the driving! It is an affordable and convenient option for traveling between Portland and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.
Originating at Gateway Transit Center in Portland (eastbound) and Lewis & Clark Festival Park in The Dalles (westbound), the expanded service will make stops in Hood River, Cascade Locks, and Multnomah Falls.
Hop on the bus and enjoy your comfortable seat and views as you’re taken into the heart of the Gorge. It’s a wonderful time to take in the vivid colors of the landscape, enjoy a peaceful hike, or attend one of several festivals in Hood River. The Columbia Gorge Express stops near several trails and paths that will be particularly scenic in October and November.
At Multnomah Falls, hikers can access several trails along the waterfall corridor, including the popular Multnomah-Wahkeena Falls Loop.
Cascade Locks is home to Dry Creek Falls (either going to Herman Creek or on the Herman Creek Pinnacles extension), which is part of the Pacific Crest Trail and a must-see for hikers and waterfall enthusiasts.
The bus accommodates bikes! From Hood River, ride the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail to Mosier and visit a winery or hike on Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust’s Mosier Plateau trail.
The Dalles hosts the Riverfront Trail, connecting downtown to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum, a beautiful walking or biking experience on the sunny side of the Gorge.
For more car-free options and itineraries for hiking, biking and visiting other Gorge locations check out Columbia Gorge Carfree, which offers step-by-step instructions on how to use different transit options.