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Image: Scott Weber

The falls are worth wading for at Oneonta Gorge.

The Gorge

Post Canyon

Biking Trail

Easy to Hard You’ll hear more than the call of the wild at this mountain-biking mecca. Designed as a motorbike course, Post Canyon echos with the whines of 250cc engines—it’s a fly-trap for adrenaline junkies who test their mettle (and bone density) by hucking themselves off massive piles of dirt. But the energy drink–slugging crowd tends to stick to the upper part of the canyon, leaving the well-maintained network of trails below to mellower bikers. Drop by Hood River’s Mountain View Cycles for trail maps. And, if you ask nicely, the gearheads inside might point out some of their favorite rides—or at least tell you about the best spots to gape at the daredevils as they cheat gravity. —KC

ROUND TRIP: Varies NEAREST TOWN: Hood River DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 63 miles PACK: Mountain Biking Oregon; Adventure Maps Mountain Biking and Hiking Hood River, Oregon & South Central Washington map

Oneonta Gorge

Hiking Trail

Easy This petite hike is the perfect spot for time-pressed Gorge hikers to get their feet wet, literally. Reaching the sixty-foot Oneonta Falls—which sits at the end of a narrow chasm curtained with lichens and mosses—requires a bracing, knee-deep wade up the creek’s chilly waters. (Earlier in the summer, these waters can be higher, so be sure to keep an eye—and possibly a hand—on younger hikers.) If your day planner isn’t jam-packed, try parking at the Horsetail Falls lot. From here, follow Gorge Trail 400 behind the hundred-or-so-foot-tall Ponytail Falls. This diversion adds about a mile and a half, each way, to your outing, but for water babies, it’s well worth it. —KC

ROUND TRIP: 1 mile NEAREST TOWN: Corbett DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 35 miles PACK: The Curious Gorge; Green Trails Map No. 428; towel

Fifteen Mile Creek

Biking Trail

Hard With numerous creek crossings, head-jerking panoramas of Mount Hood and the fruit orchards of the Hood River Valley, and an endorphin-pumping five-mile descent, Fifteen Mile Creek is one of the Northwest’s finest mountain-biking spots. With so much untrammeled beauty on display, we’re even willing to smile wide through the trail’s merciless 1,800-foot elevation gain. If you find yourself cursing your bike (and your flailing quads) around mile seven, where the ride really gets tough, remember: if it were easy, you’d probably have to share it. —KC

ROUND TRIP: 11 miles NEAREST TOWN: Hood River DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 100 miles PACK: Mountain Biking Oregon; Adventure Maps Mountain Biking and Hiking Hood River, Oregon & South Central Washington map; Northwest Forest Pass ($5)

Wind Mountain

Hiking Trail

Hard It’s little wonder that this 1,907-foot mountain once served as a Native American vision- quest site, where adolescent males would fast for days until their guardian spirit appeared. Seeing Hood, St. Helens, and Adams standing like sentinels over a serpentine Columbia River is certainly soul-stirring. You’ll have to earn the vista, though, with a climb that gains 1,120 feet in just under two miles. Still, it’s easier than tackling the 2,800-foot rise of nearby Dog Mountain. Even better, Wind Mountain hasn’t been detailed in every Gorge guidebook ever written, so you (and your spirit) will likely have the summit all to yourself. —KC

ROUND TRIP: 4 miles NEAREST TOWN: Carson, Wash. DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 50 miles PACK: The Curious Gorge; Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area map

Coyote Wall/Labyrinth

Hiking Trail

Moderate No, you won’t find David Bowie along the maze of trails. But plenty of other fantastical residents inhabit this fortresslike hunk of basalt outside of Bingen, Washington, where the landscape transitions from a lush, fir-flecked scene to the burnt-orange hues of the arid eastern Gorge. Myriad logs strewn about the top of Coyote Wall make fine impromptu benches for resting your quaking legs and marveling at the white-capped mountains lining the Gorge. Then head down the ridge into a web of trails where hidden treasures, like miniature waterfalls and rare wildflowers, await (but no goblins, we swear). —KC

ROUND TRIP: Up to 6 miles NEAREST TOWN: Bingen, Wash. DISTANCE FROM DOWNTOWN: 65 miles PACK: 60 Hikes within 60 Miles: Portland; USGS White Salmon map