As the Portland region grows, so too has the popularity of the Columbia River Gorge. That’s a good thing; but not if too many people visit it by car.
Thankfully, Oregon’s tourism and transportation agencies understand this. Two summers ago, faced with congestion and overflowing parking lots, the Department of Transportation launched the Columbia Gorge Express bus service to encourage people to experience the Gorge without a car. That’s been such a huge success they’ve upgraded service and features each year.
Now comes another piece of the puzzle: ColumbiaGorgeCarfree.com, a website funded in part by a grant from Travel Oregon.
The site (still partly under construction) features carfree itineraries for popular Gorge destinations. As of now, there’s a turn-by-turn guide to hiking the popular Dog Mountain trail without a car. The itinerary comes with a detailed map and is based on biking and walking the four miles from Cascade Locks to the West End Transit (WET) shuttle bus stop on the Washington side of the river. If you can wait until May 25th, the Columbia Gorge Express will carry you and your bike from the Gateway Transit Center in east Portland to Cascade Locks.
There’s also a very helpful page that lists all the buses and transit options that serve the Gorge.
This new website is the work of Heidi Beirle and a, “geeky team of transportation professionals.” Beirle is a carfree tourism consultant who also works with the West Columbia Gorge Chamber of Commerce.
If you’re keen on going to the Gorge carfree this season, keep this website handy. And if you want to make bus service to the Gorge even better, please take the latest Columbia Gorge Express survey.
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