Trails 

My goal here is to feature trails that offer many scenic miles on a variety of surfaces and are less technical than others in the Gorge. (I haven't learned to glide over rocks yet like my ultra-runner friends, but I'm working on it.) If you're visiting Hood River or nearby, I hope these help you get your miles in! 

Surveyor's Ridge Trail #688
33 miles round trip

With 16.4 miles one way, you can log lots of miles here. It starts at 2,200 feet and climbs to 4,280 feet. The terrain is mostly rolling on both single and double track. There's plenty of smooth dirt, but there are a few rocky sections, too. It's also a popular mountain bike ride, but I've noticed that the cyclists tend to start later in the day than the runners. The trail offers views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Ranier. 


Getting there:  To start on the north side, from Hood River head south on HWY 35 for 10 miles until you reach Pinemont Drive. Turn left and follow it until you see big power lines (you can't miss them). Drive past the power lines and look for Forest Road 630 on your right. Take Road 630 to the trailhead, which is marked. 


To start on the South side, from Hood River go 31 miles south on Hwy. 35 to Forest Road 44. Turn left on road 44 and go 3.5 miles to the Surveyor’s Ridge trailhead on the left.

Deschutes River Railbed Trail
22 miles round trip

This is an 11-mile rails-to-trails path out to Harris Ranch that winds along the beautiful Deschutes River just east of The Dalles. It's my go-to spot for runs longer than 10 miles except during July and August when it's really too hot and dry (that's when we head to Mt. Hood). The trail is a mix of compact gravel and sand bordered by copper canyon walls and grassy rolling hills. It's pancake flat except for one hill around mile 3. Miles are marked. Often when it’s raining or snowing in Hood River, the Deschutes is dry. Watch for rattlesnakes sunning themselves in warmer months. 

Getting there: It's about 40 minutes east of Hood River. Off I-84, take exit 97. Follow OR 206 E for 3 miles to the parking lot and trailhead at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area.

Klickitat Trail
Up to 62 miles round trip

While the entire trail is 31 miles, I've only run the first 10-mile section. The trail starts in Lyle, Wash., and follows the scenic Klickitat River. Like most rail trails, it's flat. Miles are marked. The first 1.5 miles are on a fine gravel path which is really nice, but after you cross the bridge, the trail gets rockier--I hope they grade it at some point which would be ideal for running. If you plan to run this section, wear sturdy trail shoes. If you want to add hills and run on a smoother surface, take the primitive dirt road to the left of the trail just after you cross the bridge. I think it goes for about 4 or 5 miles. Also, check out the wonderful wineries of Lyle nearby. Run then sip...

Getting there: It's about 20 minutes from Hood River. Cross the Hood River Bridge to Washington and head east on Highway 14 to Lyle. Turn left onto highway 142 (across from Memaloose Winery) and you’ll see the trailhead parking lot.

 

Twin Tunnels Trail
9 miles round trip

Of the three sections of the Columbia Gorge State Trail closed to cars, the Twin Tunnels is my favorite. It's a paved 4.5-mile section from Hood River to Mosier with spectacular views of the Gorge. It's hilly--you'll definitely fire up your glutes and quads. Check out The Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon here in October.

Getting there: From downtown Hood River, take State Street east through the four-way stop at State St. and HWY 35. Wind up Old Columbia River Drive about 1.5 miles to the trailhead and visitor’s center. You’ll need to purchase a daily use or yearly pass.

Columbia Gorge State Trail - Cascade Locks
13 miles round trip

This is another great section of the Columbia Gorge State Trail closed to cars. It's 6.5 miles from the trailhead in Cascade Locks to the John B. Yeon State Scenic Corridor. It's paved, hilly,  and mostly winds through the forest, which makes it a cooler run in the summer. Check out the Bridge of the Gods half marathon here in August. 

Getting there:  From Hood River, head west on I-84 to the Cascade Locks exit. Park under the Bridge of the Gods. You'll see the trailhead at the west side of the parking lot.

 

The Dalles Riverfront Trail
12 miles round trip

With a mix of rolling and flat terrain, this asphalt trail along the Columbia River is ideal for both running and family-friendly biking. While the total distance will be 20 miles round trip once completed, after mile 8, the trail is unfinished for a stretch. During the winter months, access beyond mile 6 is closed. Miles are marked. You’ll likely see osprey, bald eagles, and other birds of prey.

Getting there: The trail starts at the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. From Hood River take I-84 east to exit #82, turn right at the off-ramp, turn right again onto highway 30 for about two miles until you come to Discovery Drive. Turn right on Discovery Drive and follow it to the trailhead, which you’ll see on the right at the entrance of the parking lot.