I hadn’t been whitewater kayaking for awhile, so I wanted to get out and check out a new section of river here in The Gorge. But this story is not about kayaking but rather what I found along the way. Despite exploring many of the rivers in the area over the last 19 years, this was not a section I had ever done before. My two good buddies Jim and Sam convinced me to go paddle with them on the Hood River from Tucker Bridge down to the Marina, where the Hood River dumps into the Columbia River.
The Hood River was home to Powerdale dam, which has now been decommissioned. What remains is a massive water pipe that runs along the lower part of the Hood River. The pipe itself is certainly eye catching as you float by it, but what is probably more noticeable is the walkway and railing that is built on top of it! Frankly when we pulled over to check it out midway down our run, we were not certain what we were doing was completely legal or not?
Once on the metal walkway, accessed from a vertical ladder, we walked upstream for about a 1/2 mile until the pipe came to an end. Along the way, we ran into a couple who told us about the pipe, and how it was once owned by Pacific Corp, but that they had turned over the Pipe and land to the county, who has now turned the pipe into a trail. I couldn’t believe it, but was so very happy to see such a thing! What could be an eye soar and considered a major liability has been turned into something fun and useful for anyone brave enough to check it out! For people and families on the more adventurous side, looking for a unique experience, this is a must see! It is also a birders paradise as you are well positioned in the treed canopy along the river!
If you go check it out, or can shed more information about the trail and project, please share in the comment section below. Thank you.
You can get there by getting onto Hwy 35 from Hood River and take the very first right, which will lead you to the trailhead where you can begin walking. Here are few maps.