The Columbia River Gorge is the perfect spot for a girls getaway, with award-winning vineyards, lavender farms, great local restaurants and spas.
Active adventures include waterfall hikes, stand up paddleboarding, golfing and e-biking, and days are capped off with happy hour drinks down at the waterfront watching the kiteboarders or sampling suds at one of the popular breweries.
From wellness to wineries, here are some of the best things to do during a weekend escape to the Gorge.
Trails, wind and water combine to create countless ways to explore the Columbia River Gorge. Hit the water by heading out on a SUP, book a sunset kayaking experience, or get wet with a wild ride over Class IV rapids at Husum Falls which is the tallest commercially rafted waterfall route in the country.
Mountain bike through the woods, or e-bike to the vineyards which is a unique way to visit the area wineries. Get back to nature by exploring the old growth forests surrounding Skamania Lodge on the Creek Loop Trail and Lake Loop Trail, or spend the day hiking nearby trails in Washington like:
- Coyote Wall: The Syncline Trail is popular with mountain bikers, and is also one of the area’s best hikes thanks to the dramatic views from Coyote Wall. Follow Old Ranch Road to the Little Moab trail, and scamper up the ridge for a birds-eye view of the river, winding historic highways and across the water to Mosier, Oregon.
- Catherine Creek: There are a few quick, easy hikes at this spot just down the road from Coyote Wall, that take anywhere from 30-90 minutes. Particularly good in spring when the wildflowers are blooming, there are also waterfalls, a natural rock arch and sweeping views of the Gorge.
- Hamilton Mountain Trail: Located in Beacon Rock State Park, this 3.2 mile hike can be a bit of a grind on the way up, which is broken up with multiple waterfall stops. The effort pays off with an incredible view at the top of the river, Bonneville Dam, Table Mountain and Beacon Rock.
With more than a dozen vineyards along the Washington and Oregon sides of the Gorge, award-winning wines are just a quick drive or bike ride away. The arid landscape and favorable weather in this part of the PNW creates ideal growing conditions for grapes, and the Pinot Noirs are particularly good.
Some of the most popular Washington wineries are:
COR Cellars: The sun-soaked courtyard and sleek tasting room with a cozy fireplace make this the ultimate hangout spot, and there are also a handful of white canvas tents perched in the hillside behind the winery. Perfect for a luxe, private experience, the tasting tents fit up to six people and feature plush fur throws and comfy seats.
AniChe Cellars: AniChe is a local favorite, thanks to its spectacular location in Underwood overlooking the Columbia River and the vineyard-covered valleys. Lush gardens frame the outdoor seating, and the eclectic tasting room inside a rustic barn has vintage touches like reclaimed wood and antique typewriters.
Syncline Winery: This pretty spot on the southern slopes of the Coyote Wall Syncline makes the most of its scenic surroundings. Outdoor fire pits, benches and a large pergola provide plenty of space to gather, and the property is cleverly landscaped so that every table has a private feel.
A unique idea for a girl’s Gorge getaway is booking a Vine Gogh session at Skamania Lodge, which is a step-by-step painting class paired with wine and fun music. The experience is led by Skamania’s official Artist in Residence Jenny Schildan, and happens on the third Saturday of each month.
Enjoy an energizing escape at the Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa in Hood River, the hydrotherapy circuit at the Society Hotel in Bingen, or at the Waterleaf Spa located on-site at Skamania Lodge which offers restorative body treatments, hydrating facials and therapeutic massages.
Rejuvenate with only-in-the-Gorge treatments like a Columbia River Rock Massage which uses heated and chilled body rocks to loosen tense muscles, or a replenishing CBD facial which cleanses and hydrates skin.
After a busy day of activities, take a dip in the lodge’s heated indoor swimming pool or hot tub, heat up in a sauna, then cap off the day with a soak in the tranquil outdoor hot tub which has breathtaking views of the surrounding Gorge.
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Tamara Elliott is the travel editor and founder of The Gorge Guide, which highlights the best experiences in the Columbia River Gorge. She’s an award-winning writer based in Hood River, Oregon, who particularly loves the area wineries and waterfall hikes. Tamara is also the founder of Globe Guide, which offers savvy tips for exploring destinations around the world.