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June 27th, 2007 12:00 am WW Editorial Staff | Special Section Stories

Great Cascades/Columbia Gorge

With plenty of room to roam—and hot springs for your weary feet—it's the place to ramble and relax for the weekend.

Bagby Hot Springs
IMAGE: randy craig

Bike: Historic Columbia Highway

Why go: Pedal peacefully through the Gorge without dodging traffic. What to expect: Two sections of wide, paved trail (5.2 miles from Moffett Creek to Cascade Locks and 4.6 miles from Hood River to Mosier) that pass waterfalls, tall trees and the 350-foot Mosier Twin Tunnels, built in 1921. Pack this: Three dollars to park at the Hood River section. Google it: HCRH State Trail. (PG)

Camp: Alder Flat

Why go: Tell folks you wandered off to camp next to a mountain stream in an old-growth forest; you don't have to mention you were 20 minutes from the car and brought your cooler and grill. What to expect: An easy one-mile walk to six free tent sites along the Clackamas River. Pack this: Whatever you feel like carrying for a mile. Google it: Alder Flat Clackamas. (PG)

Climb: Broughton Bluff

Why go: A wealth of rock routes, ranging from bouldering in the Magma Zone to the three-pitch, 5.9-plus-rated Gandalf's Grip. What to expect: According to getbeta.com, "Lots of Trad, some multi pitch, a couple of top rope routes. Huge amounts of routes and good rock." Pack this: Rope, helmet, climbing shoes and somebody who knows what getbeta.com is talking about. Google it: Broughton Bluff climbing. (PG)

Climb: Carver Bridge Quarry

Why go: The property owner lets people access this former quarry because, so far, everybody has played nice. Sign a waiver at Portland Rock Gym, pay the $8 fee, and tackle routes like Rubicon, Rites of Passage and Notorious. What to expect: Fifty-seven rope routes (most from 5.9 to 5.12) and more than 100 bouldering problems. Pack this: Rope, helmet and your best land-use etiquette. Google it: Carver Quarry climbing. (PG)

Ski/Board: Mount Hood

Why go: Get there before the glacier melts. What to expect: Summer shred-heads migrate to the Palmer snowfield to butter their pipe moves or rock their gate transitions. The 11,249-foot mountain is where Shaun White spent many of his summers. Climbers frequent the peak, but it's tougher than it looks. Don't die. Pack this: Twin-tip skis, snowboards and locator unit. Google it: Mount Hood summer. (BC)

Drive: Hood River Loop

Why go: From blossoms in April to apples in October, bliss out on wholesome munchies, family fun and spectacular views at 32 locations around the Hood River Valley. What to expect: To have a big, stupid grin on your face as you binge on strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, wine.... Pack this: Wallet, Loop map, appetite. Google it: Hood River Fruit Loop. (PG)

Fish: North Umpqua River

Why go: Because the fish are out there, begging to be caught. Because people come from all over the world to chase steelhead, trout and salmon on this blue-ribbon river, where 34 of 100 miles are designated Wild and Scenic. What to expect: Canyons, waterfalls, deep forest and overlapping runs of salmon and steelhead. Pack this: Rod, reel, patience and a guide. Google it: North Umpqua River. (PG)

Hike: Eagle Creek

Why go: Because every time you turn a corner on this National Recreation Trail, you see another waterfall, another narrow canyon, another pleasant site of some sort. Put in two easy miles to Punchbowl Falls, 14 to Wahtum Lake, or anything in between, and you'll enjoy every bit of it. What to expect: Some high cliffs (with railings) and on summer weekends several throngs of hikers. Pack this: Good boots, water, $5 for parking, a leash for Fido, acceptance of others. Google it: Eagle Creek trail Oregon. (PG)

Hike: Multnomah Falls

Why go: Because it's the biggest damn waterfall in the state! Also, because the trails in the area can be challenging, magnificent and sometimes not even crowded. Go a paved mile (and 600 feet up) to the top of the falls, put in the five-mile loop that includes Wahkeena Falls, or tromp seven miles to the top of Larch Mountain. What to expect: A million tourists, a breakfast buffet in the lodge, espresso, ice cream. Pack this: Water, map, camera, cappuccino. Google it: Multnomah Falls trail. (PG)

Lake: Lake Harriet

Why go: To see where PGE stores water for its Oak Grove Hydroelectric Project. What to expect: A beautiful, 22-acre reservoir stocked with trout. At the head of the lake sits a 10-site campground. Pack this: Fishing pole, tent, PGE uniform. Google it: Lake Harriet Oregon. (NS)

Bike: Pioneer Bridle Trail

Why go: Oregon law "requires" residents to ride their bikes once a year. What to expect: As you ride from Government Camp to Rhododendron, you'll encounter dirt and rock tread and at one point you'll have to cross Highway 26. Pack this: Bike, water bottle and a crossing guard. Google it: Pioneer Bridle trail. (NS)

Look: Bonneville Dam

Why go: Your satellite dish isn't picking up Fish TV. What to expect: Nearly 4,000 fish swimming up one of the two ladders built for counting and natural migration assistance. Pack this: Camera, kids, fish net. Google it: Bonneville fish ladder. (NS)

Lake: Timothy Lake

Why go: Because your mom asked you to go play outside. What to expect: 1,500 acres of lake, 200 campsites and an incredible view of Mount Hood. The perfect place to camp, hike, fish, canoe or windsurf. Pack this: Picnic basket, tent and a pair of water wings. Google it: Timothy Lake Oregon. (NS)

Kite: Hood River

Why go: Give that old dinosaur of a kite in the garage the ride of its life. What to expect: Serious, kick-ass wind. One of the world's best sites for wind sports. Kiteboarding and windsurfing schools abound. Hundreds of multicolored sails float through water and sky. Otherworldly views from the Full Sail Brewery's deck. Pack this: An old-fashioned kite, a windbreaker and time to browse the Saturday market and Full Sail beer selection. Google it: Hood River marina. (LK)

Lake: Hideaway Lake

Why go: Fish and snooze while no one's watching. What to expect: A remote, high-elevation wonderland. Cast-off point for dozens of heavenly fishing spots. Nine lakeside campsites. Waterfalls within driving distance. Pack this: Bait, tackle, your favorite rod, a picnic blanket and a full-brimmed hat. Google it: Hideaway Lake Oregon. (LK)

Soak: Breitenbush Hot Springs

Why go: Meditate with naked people in a geothermal pool. What to expect: Mineral-rich hot springs surrounded by the Cascades. Oregon's premier natural destination for spiritual refuge. Nearby resort and retreat with extensive course offerings in holistic and New Age disciplines, 20 miles of trails, lots of nude hippies. Pack this: Bathing suit (though clothing is optional), hiking sandals and your chi (to harness). Google it: Breitenbush hot springs. (LK)

Play: Timber Park Disc Golf

Why go: Play Frisbee golf like the pros. What to expect: Tournament-quality course. Wooded atmosphere with plenty of elevation changes. Good mix of open and tight holes. People who take this game very seriously. Pack this: Tie-dyed collared shirt, a strong caddie and a six-pack for the 19th hole. Google it: Timber Park Disc Golf, PDGA. (LK)

Soak: Pansy Lake

Why go: Because pansy lakes have feelings, too. What to expect: Colorful flora, hungry mosquitoes and a pond passing itself off as a lake. Even though Pansy Lake is indeed pansy, it sits in a breathtaking glacial cirque—surrounded by a semicircle of steep bluffs and cliffs. Pack this: Water bottle, motivational quotes, bug repellent. Google it: Pansy Lake. (KSC)

Hike: Timberline Trail

Why go: Mount Kailash is too far away. What to expect: Four to five days circumnavigating Mount Hood, an 11,235-foot dormant volcano. The trail is a 40.7-mile loop with 9,000 feet of elevation change, spot ridges, glaciers, streams, falls, alpine meadows and ski lifts. Pack this: Tent, sleeping bag, food, sunscreen, brandy. Google it: Timberline Trail Mt. Hood (KSC).

Soak: Bagby Hot Springs

Why go: Rustic tranquility meets spa fantastic. What to expect: Absolute relaxation as your body absorbs mineral-rich water pouring into your cedar tub at up to 136 degrees. Though it's rustic, you can choose fro five private covered tub areas, or five more public covered tubs. Pack this: Towels, snacks and a spare tire for your car. Google it: Bagby Hot Springs. (WB)
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