Columbia River Gorge camping in mid-October?
October 2, 2014 12:39 PM   Subscribe

Visiting Portland area week after next. How's the weather for camping in the Gorge at this time of year? Where should we camp?

We will be car camping for one night only. Would prefer a campsite with showers, nearby easy hikes and vistas, etc.
posted by wutangclan to Travel & Transportation around Orem, UT (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
As I understand it the Forest Service campgrounds in the Scenic Area close at the end of September. There are tons of waterfall viewing and short easy hikes off the Columbia River Highway between Troutdale and Wahclella Falls. It's an easy day trip from Portland or Troutdale.

I'd recommend the Wahclella Falls hike, and the Horsetail Falls hike. Follow that one far enough to go behind Ponytail falls (Upper Horsetail Falls.) You can't really go wrong on any of the trails though. Some trails have steep cliffs off one side which can be a little unnerving for some.

As for weather, plan on rainy. You might be in time for some good fall color though.
posted by sevenless at 1:22 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]

Forest Service campgrounds for the Gorge are already closed, so camping is probably not an option.
posted by Aleyn at 1:57 PM on October 2, 2014

There is a list of campgrounds in the Mt Hood National Forest (with contact information) here. The gorge is in two range districts; Hood River and Zigzag. Perhaps by calling the Forest Service, you can get some suggestions.

I am a fan of what the Forest Service calls "Dispersed Camping". That is camping in the forest outside of campgrounds. An overnight while backpacking is a form of this, but it generally refers to people parking the vehicle in a pullout in the forest somewhere and making their own camp nearby. If you don't mind the lack of showers and potable water, you can be near whatever hike or vista you would like. There is a scan of a document regarding dispersed camping here

Weather = could be anything. Clear and warm to cold and wet.
posted by Leenie at 3:28 PM on October 2, 2014

The KOA at Cascade Locks is open until October 15th.

Oregon State Parks have camping through October 31st:

Be aware there are freight trains that go through the gorge what seems like all night long. I have stayed at Ainsworth state park, and let's just say I had more restful nights in a freeway rest stop :). But, the area is beautiful and there is good hiking.

The extended forecast (through October 11th) for Cascade Locks is partly sunny and 70-80 for the highs. Hope you have a good trip!
posted by elmay at 6:38 PM on October 2, 2014

Response by poster: Luckily my girlfriend already has freight trains rumbling all night next to her condo, so we are used to that ;-)

Thank you all for the help. I will post an update as to how it all goes.
posted by wutangclan at 11:09 AM on October 3, 2014

Response by poster: So, we ended up not camping. Weather was not conducive, and our trip was too short. On another note, Hotel Modera in Portland is ab fab!
posted by wutangclan at 1:25 PM on October 18, 2014

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