The warm days of summer have dwindled, making way for autumn’s damp and chilly bite. And while that may spell the end of hiking season for some, a true Pacific Northwesterner knows that nature’s splendor is equally as vibrant in the fall. So pack a jacket, swap your hiking sandals for hiking boots, and make sure to bring your ID if you’re over the age of 21. We’ve compiled five stunning Columbia River Gorge hikes—each paired with a nearby brewery to warm you up when you’re done.
Dog Mountain & Backwoods Brewing
Dog Mountain is a popular hike in late spring and early summer because that’s prime time for wildflower blooms. But you don’t need wildflowers to appreciate the majesty of Dog Mountain. From the top of Dog Mountain, you’ll be treated to sweeping views of the Columbia River Gorge and a couple of Cascade peaks on a clear day. A word of caution: This is definitely not a trail for beginners. In fact, the trailhead offers two options for reaching the top—hard and harder. Replenish your calorie deficit at Backwoods Brewing, located in Carson, Washington just 10 miles from the trailhead traveling west on Lewis and Clark Highway. The Pecan Pie Porter will put you even more in the spirit of fall.
Mitchell Point & pFriem Family Brewers
This short and steep hike is a quick calorie burner just outside of Hood River, Oregon. After you make your way through a densely wooded area, you’ll find yourself presented with several scenic viewpoints of the Gorge. Stop to take in the forested slopes, infused with reddish and golden hues as summer transitions to fall. Once you’ve had your fill of the Gorge’s postcard-perfect views, head east toward Hood River for what is arguably some of Oregon’s best beer at pFriem. We all know and love the pilsner, which is on tap just about everywhere these days, but visiting pFriem in real life calls for stepping outside of your comfort zone. We recommend the Pumpkin Bier to get you in the mood for the spooky season.
Wahclella Falls & Thunder Island Brewing
If you go hiking in the Gorge but don’t post a photo on Instagram, did you even go hiking in the Gorge? Wahclella Falls has a reputation for being one of the more Instagrammable trails along the Columbia River. This easy, 2-mile loop provides multiple viewpoints of the falls amid vibrant, mossy rocks. It even has one of those cute little wooden foot bridges that add a touch of magic to your hike. After you’ve gotten your fill of shareable shots, head east on Highway 84 toward Thunder Island Brewing in Cascade Locks, Oregon. Use your beer to wash down a plate of Thunder Island Nachos, made with local Juanita’s chips—which are undeniably superior to all other nacho chips.
Coyote Wall & Everybody’s Brewing
The top of this moderate, 7.8-mile loop will net you some breathtaking views of the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. The best part? It’s far enough east along the Gorge that rain and clouds tend to break up before they reach the White Salmon, Washington area. Even in the fall, you’re likely to experience crisp yet sunny weather. If you like it, be sure to come back in the spring for the annual wildflower bloom. But in the meantime, celebrate your outdoorsy ways post-hike at nearby Everybody’s Brewing. This time of year, you can’t go wrong with the sweet and nutty Hoedown Brown.
Beacon Rock & Walking Man Brewing
Beacon Rock is the core of a 57,000-year-old cinder cone, carved to its present shape by the Missoula Floods of the ice age. A moderate hike just shy of 2 miles up and down, Beacon Rock offers sweeping panoramas of the winding Columbia River. Its wood-plank trail with hand railings makes it a great hike for families or the hiking-adverse. Once you’ve had enough nature, take Washington State Route 14 east for 10 miles until you arrive to the quaint town of Stevenson, Washington. Double Mountain Brewing in Hood River, Oregon gets all the praise for its delicious wood-fired pizzas, but Walking Man Brewing has pizza that is just as good if not better. Bonus: You won’t have to wait an hour to grab a table on the weekends.