Car-free Columbia Gorge

July 18, 2018


New Transportation Options and Trip Planning Tools for the Columbia River Gorge

In Oregon and Washington, groups collaborating as the Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance are stewarding Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area resources by connecting people to recreation experiences using car-free means.

The Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, like National Parks and other highly visited federally managed public lands, suffers damage and congestion from too many cars. Too many cars similarly degrades visitor experiences when people are stuck in traffic, unable to find parking, and required to navigate unsafe road conditions.

To address these problems and deliver on the promise of recreation that visitors expect in the National Scenic Area, suggests trips that eliminate the need to use a car. The website also makes it easier for visitors to plan car-free experiences.

“A number of popular areas on the west end of the Gorge remain closed from the Eagle Creek fire, and we’re encouraging visitors to ‘go east’ to allow burned areas to recover,” says Renée Tkach, Friends of the Columbia Gorge’s Project Manager for Gorge Towns to Trails. “ makes it easier for people to visit hidden gems in the small, eastern Gorge towns of DufurMosier, and Lyle.”

New daily transit service between Portland and Hood River on the Columbia Gorge Express has improved visitors’ experience and created access to recreation. Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s most visited destination, and the recently re-opened Pacific Crest Trail that winds through Cascade Locks are both accessible via this transit service.

Between Hood River and Mosier, visitors of all ages and abilities can experience the Gorge’s scenic beauty on a 4.5-mile car-free section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. The car-free section recently opened to eBike use following an Oregon State Parks rule change.

With the summer heating up and the cool waters of Oneonta Gorge closed for recovery and restoration, The Dalles offers easy car-free options to get visitors in and on the water. Starting Saturday, July 21, and continuing every Saturday through September 15, Gray Line of Portland will be operating the Explore The Dalles bus, a connecting transit service that links visitors from Hood River to and around The Dalles. Whether visitors arrive in The Dalles car-free using bike or transit, several businesses offer watersports rentals, lessons and guided trips.

The Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance is a non-profit organization and bi-state network of partners representing the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Mount Adams to Mt. Hood and surrounding communities. We aim to develop and protect the region as a world-class, sustainable tourism destination for the benefit of visitors and residents alike.