The Columbia River Gorge is the largest National Scenic Area in the country! It spans 80 miles between the lush rainforest near the coast and desert-like grasslands east of the mountains. The drama of the Columbia River cutting a gorge through the Cascade Range peaks near the sailing venue. In fact, the entire Cascade Range was named after the “Cascades Rapids,” which are just west of the windward mark of the sailing venue, though now submerged by downstream dam construction.
Just west of Cascade Locks, a series of waterfalls empties almost straight into the Columbia. Multnomah Falls is the most popular waterfall to visit in the area, in fact the parking lot is so full on weekends that we recommend a weekday morning visit to see these falls (at right):
The town of Hood River, east of the sailing venue, in addition to being the west coast’s kiteboarding/windsurfing mecca, is a food/drink destination. A visit to CGRA’s sponsor Full Sail brewing should be on your list. Check Trip Advisor for other recommendations.
The regatta organizers’ favorite non-sailing activities are a short hike from the sailing venue to nearby Dry Creek Falls, or an epic hike to the highest point in the Gorge, the peak of Mt. Defiance, where four glacier-capped volcanoes can be seen at once!