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A Day in Stevenson, Washington
Stevenson, Washington is a charming little town 45 minutes east of Portland and provides a quick getaway when our family needs a break from the daily routine.
The Columbia River to the north and the Gorge waterfalls to the south are in constant view on the drive from Portland into Stevenson on I-84. Arriving in Cascade Locks (Exit 44), follow signs to The Bridge of the Gods, the passageway over the river. This cantilever toll bridge, 140 feet above the water, is a scenic destination itself with the gorge as its majestic backdrop. Check website for current crossing rates.
After crossing the bridge, turn right on Hwy 14 and enter Stevenson city limits 1.5 miles east.
45 minutes in the car isn’t long, but we are usually ready for a stretch. When first arriving in Stevenson, we make our first stop the Skamania Lodge. Skamania Lodge, a big name in Stevenson, belongs to the collection of Destination Hotels and Resorts. There are many activities offered at the lodge and you don’t need to spend the night to take advantage of them.
If we’ve gotten an early start, we’ll be ready for breakfast at Skamania’s River Rock cafe before exploring the property. If we’ve already eaten before, we’re ready to get some exercise as soon as we’ve parked the car.
Skamania boasts over 4 miles of hiking trails. Trail maps can be found at the hotel registration desk or at the Golf Pro Shop. Our kids like the 1.5-mile Creek Loop Trail, finding bridges to cross and lily pads to spot.
If they are still, they may notice small wildlife. Because the trails intertwine with Skamania’s popular golf course, we warn our children to be quiet and respectful of surrounding golfers.
Skamania’s restaurants are top notch, but we prefer to go in to town at lunchtime for a burger and brew at Big River Grill. To get there from the lodge, drive back to Hwy 14 and head further east until the road name changes to “2nd Street”. Big River Grill is located right in the center of town at 192 SW 2nd Street.
If you’re not in the mood for a brew pub, you will find plenty of other restaurants in the downtown area. Wherever you end up for lunch, make sure to save room for Oregon-made, Umpqua ice cream at Granny Gedunk’s Ice Cream Parlor on 196 SW 2nd St.
Downtown Stevenson caters to visitors. Walking off our lunchtime meal, we enjoy strolling along 2nd Street, wandering in and out of unique shops or peeking in the art galleries.
If your family is looking for an educational adventure, drive back toward Skamania Lodge and visit the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum on Rock Creek Drive. Exhibits display the history of the Gorge and tell stories of the people native to this land.
Later in the afternoon, we’ll go back to Skamania. My husband and I will relax on the adirondack chairs while the kids expend the rest of their energy running around on the expansive lawn.
If your family is into golf, the Skamania Lodge Golf Course is one of 11 Official Family Courses in Washington. They offer family tee times after 4 PM, inexpensive rates for 9 holes and FREE golf for kids 18 and under.
Sometimes we decide to have dinner at the Lodge. If we decide on a late drive home, we’ll buy S’more kits in the hotel lobby. Pre-packaged graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate squares are ready to go for a campfire snack on the resort patio.
If we’re anxious to get back on the road toward home, we’ll leave Stevenson and stop at McMenamins Edgefield in Troutdale. An old poor farm turned winery/brewery/distillery/hote
We’re fortunate to live in the Pacific Northwest; land of luscious trees, flowing rivers, and serene waterfalls. It makes driving an hour away for a day of “staycation” easy and accessible. When our family wants desperately to get away, we know a drive to Stevenson for the day will be just the respite we need.
Andee Zomerman lives with her husband and two daughters in the Bethany neighborhood of NW Portland. She spent a year focusing on volunteering in the community and writing about her experiences on her blog, Nature of a Servant (now andeezomerman.com).
Ready to discover (or re-discover) Portland? From the coast to the Gorge, from Clark County to Salem, The Ultimate Guide to Portland Family Fun will allow you to experience the awesomeness this area has to offer!
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