Day 3: Trout Lake —> Skamania Lodge, via WA-14
Summary, Day 1, Aviary, Day 2, Catherine Creek & more
This was the shortest driving day of the trip. The goal was to mostly hike, visit vista points and take a ton of pictures. After some absolutely delicious sweet potato waffles, we left Trout Lake and drove back toward the Gorge, then we immediately swept back up north via the Cook-Underwood Road loop. This is a little detour that takes you up a hill on the WA side of the Gorge, giving you some awesome views. It was great to hit a vista so early in the morning when the light was totally different. The top row of photos are from that road.
The next town you hit is Stevenson. It’s a quaint little town in Skamania County… that is pretty much the only little town in Skamania County. Technically, this is is our destination for the evening, up at Skamania Lodge, but we have a whole day ahead of us. Stevenson is also home to the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. It’s a neat place, but I visited a bunch as a kid (school field trips and girl scouts), so we didn’t stop there this time.
Instead, we continued past Stevenson to the Bridge of the Gods, and headed over to the Bonneville Lock & Dam for a bit. Then we drove over to Ainsworth State Park (via the old Columbia River Hwy) for a hike at Horsetail Falls / Oneonta Gorge (pictures in a separate post).
The hike is a 2.7-mile loop, that goes up and behind Horsetail Falls, and then around the Oneonta Gorge from above. It had the best views of the Gorge we saw all weekend. A bit of confusion above the tailhead led us down into the Oneonta Gorge gully, which was also incredible and worth exploring for 15/20 minutes if you have the extra time.
We ended up spending hours and hours on this hike because it was just so amazing. One of the most beautiful hikes I’ve done, that’s for sure.
By the time we got back to the car, the sun was making it’s descent, and we drove back across the bridge to check in at Skamania Lodge. I reserved the “Bed and Breakfast” package, which was only $5 extra than a room alone and gets you a $30 credit in their restaurant for breakfast. They also have an outdoor hot tub that is open from 6am-10pm. We had a late dinner in their bar (food was great!) and turned in, but woke up early to hit the hot tub first thing, watching the sun rise with no one else around.
Skamania Lodge was definitely the best place to spend the last night of the trip. It has such a gorgeous grounds and just felt really luxurious after all that hiking we’d been doing the past few days.