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Explore the Northwest’s one-of-a-kind site with ‘Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge’

Author hosts free talk on his guidebook Saturday

By Scott Hewitt, Columbian staff writer
Published: May 9, 2024, 6:03am

The Columbia River Gorge is, technically speaking, one of a kind. It’s the hugest, most diverse, most complicated of 10 designated National Scenic Areas in the United States. It likely would have been designated a bona fide national park if not for the residents, industries and transportation infrastructure that got there first.

That’s according to prolific guidebook author Craig Romano, whose latest publication is the second edition of his deeply detailed “Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge” (paperback, $21.95).

Romano will give a free talk at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd.

“Fantastic hikes stretch from the Gorge’s saturated western slopes to its sun-kissed eastern hills, with trails to waterfalls, lake-shores, mountaintops, old-growth forests, islands, shrub-steppe hills and old fire look-out sites,” Romano writes in his introduction. “The book explores national forests and wilderness areas, state forests, state parks, county parks, city parks, and national wildlife refuges.”

If You Go

What: Craig Romano’s presentation about the second edition of his book “Day Hiking Columbia River Gorge”

When: 1 p.m. Saturday

Where: Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 1501 E. Evergreen Blvd.

Information:craigromano.com online; register at www.friendsfortvancouver.org/s/shop online.

The new edition of his book features 115 different hikes, all the way from Washougal on the west to Maryhill on the east, plus a smattering of nearby trails that aren’t quite in the Gorge, but certainly add to this region’s unique outdoor charm, like Washington’s Silver Star Scenic Area and Oregon’s Cottonwood Canyon State Park.

Romano’s book includes all the details you need, including a table that checks off the basics: fees and permits, accessibility, historical interest, kid- and dog-friendliness, wildflowers, waterfalls and more. He also covers the sobering matters of trail safety, etiquette and conservation.

“The explosion of social media has sent mobs of inexperienced hikers into the wilderness,” Romano writes in his book. “Through education, enlightenment, and perhaps a little self-control — we can have quality trail time and a healthy environment with strong wilderness protections. I trust you will do the right thing.”