Towns to Trails: Creating a 200-mile loop trail in the Columbia River Gorge

In the not too distant future, visitors to the Columbia River Gorge will be able to do all or part of a 200-mile loop trail that connects wineries, breweries, lodging and restaurants.

It’s called Towns to Trails. One of the gateway communities on the Washington side of the Gorge is Washougal, where a shiny new trail will be a departure point.

Day hiking is already a very popular activity in the Gorge, but the nonprofit group Friends of the Gorge decided about 6 years ago to link existing and new trails together. The recently completed Washougal Waterfront Park will be an anchor point for the trail at the Gorge’s west end.

“The opportunity for international and world class traveling is to be able to land at Portland International Airport and to be able to hit one of these gateway communities, and then hike east to the next town …,” said Friends of the Gorge spokeswoman, Renee Tkach. “The idea is not to have that big backpack on your back any longer. It’s something where you have a daypack so you’re packing just something you need for your day essentials.”

Tkach says about 90 percent of the trails from Washougal to Stevenson are nearly complete.

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