Actually you can do the Gorge in a full day if you don't hike. Adding Mt Hood needs the extra day in my view. Unless you want to see Timberline Lodge I question doing Mt Hood, close to 100 miles of driving Hood River to Mt Hood to Portland, much of it not that great. You do get some great views of Mt Hood, but you can get those with short drive into Hood River Valley. very nice view over the orchards to Mt Hood.
Even given two days i would spend them in Gorge and Hood R Valley. Go to Discovery Center in The Dalles Take Rowena loops on Old Hwy.
And best way to see Gorge is on Hist Col R Hwy from Troutdale. Be sure to stop at Womens Forum. Doesn't look like much as you drive by, but maybe best view in Gorge from there. Many possible stops. Make several. One short hike that is worth it is Bridal Veil Falls.
With your number of posts assume you are a veteran to TA and have checked out how to visit Gorge so may not need to say more, but am willing to respond to questions.
Thanks for the info. This is our plan so far- please make suggestions-
Previous day- Portland- stay in Portland
Early risers so will head out the scenic Columbia River Gorge hwy and spend the day- stopping at lookouts, falls, etc.
Where is a good place to eat lunch?
Continue to Hood River, OR where we will spend the night.
Where is a good place to view Mt. Hood if we don't go to Timberline Lodge the next day?
Next day go to the Dalles Discovery Center or go to Timberline Lodge.
We will then make our way back to Portland and head north and stop somewhere for the night. Our next night will be in Seattle.
I recommend eating lunch in Hood River. There are many options so it depends on what you like. I love 6th St. Bistro for great sandwiches and a nice deck. Double Mt. Brewery has great food and beer. Really good Pizza! Kaze has great sushi!
Another option is to pack a picnic lunch, Head to Mt Hood Winery, grab a glass of wine and sit on their huge outdoor patio while gazing at Mt Hood. The view from there is incredible! I would choose this option. The wines don't rock my boat but the view makes up for it.
We don't eat out much, so not a lot of help there. Though we do like Charburger, not really a foodie place. Sometimes we pick up meal at Safeway deli. so you can see what kind of help I can be.
If you fiddle along old hwy and then Bonneville Dam, hard for me to believe you could make Hood River by lunch. Dinner or evening meal might be better. I like idea of dinner in the Valley.
Second best view in Gorge is Cape Horn on Wash side. And Mt Hood viewable from Wash side though can't remember where all
Thanks all for info and suggestions. Will continue to research the Columbia River Gorge scenic hwy site and Hood River.
I may have some information you might find helpful.
Hood River is a good place to spend the night. It's a small river town about half way into the CRGNSA. Many good places to eat there as many have mentioned. If you are a foodie, you may like Nora's Table. Good homemade food. right next to to Nora's is a bakery with sandwiches called Knead. Great pretzel bread and pecan sticky buns.
Marchesi's Vineyard is also a great place to have a picnic or just sample flights of wine and have his wonderful cheese and salami. Producing Italian wines mostly most people feel right at home there.
A great place also along the Fruit Loop in Hood River. It starts at exit 62 and 64, and is comprised of wineries and fruit orchards where you can pick your own or buy it fresh. Honeys for each crop are prevelant there as well. I like it for the great views of Mount Hood. Each time you turn you will fine another view.
There is also a rest stop on Oregon 35 just past Hood River too. It's on the left.
The Historic Columbia River Highway is just reopening after a winter of road construction. it's a nice drive where you see the waterfalls on the Oregon side. It starts in Troutdale and goes to and past Multnomah Falls. About 3 miles past the falls it opens up to I-84 either east or west.
Before you get to the Highway, there are a couple of places that serve good food. Tad's Chicken and Dumplings and Shirley's Tippy Canoe ( a pub style old place on the Sandy River.) good food and great people. Tad's doesn't open until 5PM and they serve family style. They have been around since WWI.
See the kite-boarders in the river and drive to the Bonneville Dam where you can see Herman the Sturgeon in his tank . They are prehistoric fish. The Dam is free to go to. You may see a boat in the Locks.
I would keep it open as to how long you want to stay. Many regret not planning on more time in the Gorge.
You mentioned The Dalles, there is a great Birds of Prey exhibit at the Interpretive Center there.
Enjoy your planning. Here are some links for you to check out.
Timberline Lodge is a WPA project built near to the war. They have Ranger led tours sometimes. It's up Highway 35.
MrsOEdited: 11:22 pm, May 05, 2013
sorry, to slow to edit
Thanks Mrs. O- great info. Will continue to read and plan!!