Day 12: Hood River to Mt. Hood to Troutdale
(Driving time: 145 miles/3 hours)
Get ready for your seventh Wonder: majestic Mt. Hood rising 11,250 feet above sea level. Head south out of Hood River on Highway 35. On a clear day, you’ll see the snowy peak for the entire 40-mile drive.
Stop along the way at Tamanawas Falls for a classic Mt. Hood-area hike; the easy, 3.6-mile trail leads to a lovely forested waterfall. Farther south and up on the mountain, pay a visit to Trillium Lake. On a windless day, its serene waters mirror the south side of Mt. Hood.
Stop in at the historic Timberline Lodge, which recently celebrated its 75th anniversary and stands as a testament to the Works Progress Administration and the artisans and craftspeople of the 1930s. From the elegant and rustic lodge, you can hike a portion of the Pacific Crest Trail (which stretches from Mexico to Canada in its entirety and was the setting for the recent film “Wild,” starring Reese Witherspoon).
Head back up Highway 35 toward Hood River, and pull over at Panorama Point for one last look back at that gorgeous mountain. Head west for just 20 miles on I-84, and stop over in Cascade Locks to snap a photo of the Bridge of the Gods, an impressive steel truss cantilever bridge that spans the Columbia River here. Don’t miss the giant ice cream cone at East Wind Drive-In.
Head back toward Portland on the Historic Columbia River Highway, which celebrates 100 years in 2016. Bonus: This drive between Hood River and Troutdale takes you down the second half of your sixth Wonder — the Columbia River Gorge.