Gorge Towns to Trails: Making the Connection
Gorge Towns to Trails is a vision for a comprehensive trail system that wraps around the Columbia Gorge, linking communities with recreation, benefiting tourism, and highlighting and enhancing the beauty and wonder of the Columbia Gorge. Friends of the Columbia Gorge is leading this effort and seeks input and partnerships from Gorge communities, citizens and elected officials.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge launched the first phase of Gorge Towns to Trails in 2011, the 25th anniversary of passage of the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area Act. Our goal is to create nearly 60 miles of trail connecting Gorge urban areas to National Scenic Area lands.
TAKE THE BUS TO GORGE TRAILS: 7 days a week in spring and summer, you can take Gorge West End Transit (WET) buses from Vancouver to a number of trailheads and resorts in Skamania County! View the 2015 WET Bus weekend schedule.
GORGE TOWNS TO TRAILS IN THE NEWS: Tom Banse of Northwest News Network, a National Public Radio subsidiary, recently interviewed Gorge Towns to Trails Project Manager Renee Tkach and others involved in this long-term vision. Read and hear the report.
The goals of Gorge Towns to Trails:
- Create new trails, opening hidden vistas and waterfalls to Gorge recreation users
- Benefit Gorge economy by connecting trails to communities
- Support sustainable recreation through alternative transportation options
- Create contiguous parcels of protected lands that benefit wildlife
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The first phase of Gorge Towns to Trails will include the following trail segments:
- Washougal to Stevenson trail: An opportunity for a 34-mile trail connecting Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Horn, the Pacific Crest Trail and Beacon Rock State Park, as well as the communities of Stevenson, North Bonneville, and Washougal.
- Hood River to The Dalles trail: An opportunity for a 20-mile trail connecting the Historic Columbia River Highway, Mosier Plateau, Tom McCall Preserve, Seven Mile Hill and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, as well as the communities of The Dalles, Mosier, and Hood River. See a great new video featuring Mosier Plateau, the first completed town-to-trail segment!
- Lyle Cherry Orchard loop: An opportunity for a six-mile trail connecting the urban area of Lyle to the top of the 550-acre Cherry Orchard property owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust and long-term potential to connect to over 1,000 acres of land owned by the Washington Department of Natural Resources.
Watch an inspiring new video about how Mt. Ulka (a property held by the Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust, and a crucial segment of the eventual Hood River to The Dalles trail) is renewing itself after the 2014 Rowena Wildfire burned every acre.
A six-mile trail connecting the urban area of Lyle to the top of the Cherry Orchard. Long-term potential to eventually connect the trail to Dallesport and Columbia Hills State Park.
Hood River to The Dalles
A 20-mile trail vision connecting the Historic Columbia River Highway, Mosier Plateau, Tom McCall Plateau, Seven Mile Hill and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, as well as the communities of Hood River, Mosier, and The Dalles.
Washougal to Stevenson
A 34-mile trail vision connecting Steigerwald National Wildlife Refuge, Cape Horn (pictured at right), Pacific Crest Trail and Beacon Rock State Park, as well as the communities of Stevenson, North Bonneville and Washougal.
Articles about Gorge Towns to Trails
- The Trail Companion: A Newsletter of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Trail (see pp. 8-15)
- The Gorge magazine
- The Columbian newspaper
Gorge Towns to Trails Partner Organizations help create grassroots support by communicating the vision of a loop trail that encircles the entire Gorge.
Gorge Towns to Trails Supporter Organizations lend credibility and support to the project by listing their organizations’ name on Gorge Towns to Trails printed materials.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge is committed to working with public land managers and communities to realize the Gorge Towns to Trails vision.
For questions or comments, please contact Gorge Towns to Trails Project Manager Renee Tkach at email@example.com or 503-680-3119.