Being back in the Pacific Northwest this week has been nothing short of wonderful. With five days spent around Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, Clay and I made the most of our visit. Undoubtedly, this place that I used to call home looks a little different this time because it is covered in SNOW! Nonetheless, we took to the slopes and hit the trails. My blog post, Add it to Your List: The Columbia River Gorge, urges travelers and outdoor enthusiasts to check this place out – but if you haven’t been to the PNW in the winter, you’re missing out!
On day one, we headed to the mountain. With Clay’s cousin Shannon and his girlfriend Caitlyn being the ski-lovers that they are, they had plenty of winter gear for sharing! We headed to Timberline for a fun day on the slopes. It was a bluebird weekday, making for uncrowded trails and a beautiful day spent winding down the mountain.
Silver Falls State Park
The second day, we headed to Silver Falls State Park. Just an hour and 15 minute drive from southeast Portland, we arrived to be one of four cars in the parking lot. A beautiful place with great trails that are otherwise over-crowded in the warmer months, we nearly had the trail to ourselves.
The Trail of Ten Falls Loop Hike is amazing! For every mile you walk, you see a new waterfall. And they are some the most exotic, impressive waterfalls in the gorge. This is a mellow seven mile hike as the terrain is flat and well-groomed. It doesn’t get more PNW than this!
Although I have hiked Tamanawas once before, hiking it in this year’s snowpocalypse was an entirely different experience. Starting at the trail head, this is a 3.5 mile out-and-back walk. With snow blanketing the terrain, most walkers were in snowshoes, but our hiking boots got the job done. Tamanawas Falls is breathtakingly beautiful regardless of when you hike it, but the winter wonderland conditions made it especially so. These ladies undoubtedly make it that much better!
During our visit to the PNW we drove along the White Salmon River, stopping to look at our old stomping grounds. We visited Wet Planet Whitewater to say hello to our friends and former coworkers, and to our favorite river pup Tika! Although rafting isn’t in-season during the winter months, April is just around the corner! I am excited to be collaborating with Wet Planet Whitewater to offer readers a 10% discount on your next Wet Planet Whitewater adventure!!
Enter the code “hayleypaddles17” when you book online!
Enjoy a stunning whitewater trip down the White Salmon: a half-day or full-day adventure, or take a whitewater kayak course and study hydraulics and the fundamentals of whitewater paddling. With all of the snow the gorge has seen this winter, is it going to be a great season for paddling!
Mt. St. Helens
The plethora of volcanoes in the Pacific Northwest is perhaps the best part of the PNW. The volcanoes provide views for days, unlimited hiking, and great skiing and snowboarding for the experienced. Clay and the boys headed to Mt. St. Helens one day with the goal of summiting.
For anyone lacking backcountry gear including beacons, skins, and more, you can easily rent it at one of Portland’s outdoor shops. The boys were prepared, but due to road closures at the base of Mt. St. Helens and afternoon weather, they didn’t reach the summit. About a mile below the summit, they turned around and skied down bowls and smooth terrain.
With all of this adventuring, you are bound to get hungry. My all-time favorite gorge restaurant is Everybody’s Brewing. Don’t miss out on the best nachos you’ll ever have!!
Pfriem brews great beers and serves the best Clam Chowder I have had to date.
The Pacific Northwest is a stunningly, different place in the winter months! Plan your visit and get after the endless skiing and snowboarding terrain, the uncrowded, quintessential PNW hikes, and of course, the great company. ‘Til next time, Columbia River Gorge!