Hike the Columbia River Gorge Without a Car (Oregon Side)

You can’t do any real hiking without a car, right? Wrong. There are literally days worth of hikes a person without a car can do in the Columbia River Gorge. Here are a few I have come up with on the Oregon side.

Hiking in the Gorge without a car means simply being patient, flexible on timing, and getting to know the schedules and logistics of public bus systems — specifically the Columbia Gorge Express on the Oregon side.

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Hike Without a Car in Portland: Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge

oaks bottom hike portland without a car

The question of how to get out and enjoy nature without a car can be a tough one. But hiking without a car in and around Portland is not as hard, or limited, as you might think.

As a perfect example, check out Oaks Bottom, a hike that’s in Portland and yet is suprisingly peaceful and natural. It’s also super easy to hike it without a car using public transportation.

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Taking the Mount Hood Express Bus to Mount Hood and Timberline Lodge

mount hood express bus to timberline lodge

I recently was faced with, for me, a common conundrum: plenty of fresh snow on Mount Hood, a nice day in the forecast, perfect for a snowshoe, but the roads were snowy and icy. So, for the first time, I took the Mount Hood Express bus to Timberline Lodge.

Since I couldn’t find much online about it, here’s a little more about taking the Mount Hood Express to Mount Hood to hike or play in the snow.

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How I Approach Hiking (Or Not) Around Portland in the Winter


For many folks, often including myself, winter is just not a time we go hiking around Portland. Some folks ski or snowboard, some snowshoe, some stick in town for walks, ride bikes, maybe paddle. Or they just don’t go out there at all.

This winter, I have made a real effort to get out there more often. But when hiking around Portland in the winter, how do we manage the weather, the roads, and the conditions? When do we hike, when do we snowshoe? How to even approach such a decision?

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A “Stolen Day” in the Mountains of Montana

In September 1999, I rolled into Glacier National Park with a friend to do some camping and hiking. We didn’t realize the place was about to shut down, at least in the human sense.

As most of the folks cleared out, we stuck around, and had a somewhat goofy night in camp followed by a magical hike in the mountains. It felt like we had stolen a day from the encroaching winter.

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Meeting With Mountain Me

wind river mountains

The mountain version of me forever waits up in the high country, or in the woods, or by a riverside, to remind “city me” why he should get out more.

We sit in beautiful, even sacred places, talking about life and peace and being centered in what’s really important. We laugh and tell stories and even sing. Mountain me is eternally patient, ever reminding city me that this, this right here, is why you fight through the inertia, the driving, the weather, the to-do list, the fatigue, and the depression, to get out here.

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