Pacific Northwest Lodge with Sweeping Columbia River Gorge Views
Skamania Lodge takes its name from a Chinook word meaning “swift water,” an entirely appropriate moniker for a hotel overlooking the majestic Columbia River Gorge. Not only does the eponymous waterway barrel through the 60-mile canyon—it's also the site of an unusually high concentration of waterfalls. Situated on 175 wooded acres, Skamania Lodge is a favorite stopover for outdoor adventurers or those looking for a tranquil retreat spent in front of the lobby’s immense wood-burning fireplace.
The lodge’s décor is rustic Pacific Northwest, with loads of native rock and Montana slate and natural and reclaimed timber utilized in its construction. Original artwork, artifacts, photographs, and petroglyph rubbings depicting local Native American history are on display throughout the hotel, and three-story windows in the lobby offer spectacular views of the gorge as well as the surrounding Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Each of the lodge’s 254 rooms also offers a sweeping river or forest view.
The award-winning Cascade Dining Room features seasonal Pacific Northwest cuisine and an extensive wine list highlighting local varietals. For lighter, more casual fare, River Rock serves tasty burgers and salads near a cozy fireplace. Among a plethora of recreational facilities—including an 18-hole golf course and the full-service Waterleaf Spa—the lodge hosts an onsite U.S. Forest Service center staffed by park rangers possessing a wealth of information on area history, outdoor recreational activities, and ways to outwit picnic-basket-hungry bears.
Stevenson, Washington: Laid-Back Riverfront Town Abounding with Outdoor Recreation
Over the last 20 years, Stevenson has transitioned from a tiny logging community into a renowned year-round destination. In the winter, the 1.3-million-acre Gifford Pinchot National Forest boasts some of the area’s finest sno-parks and cross-country skiing. A daily or annual Northwest Forest pass grants access to a wide variety of snowshoeing and hiking options, including the Pacific Crest Trail, which skirts the Big Lava Bed, a 20-square-mile volcanic formation.
Winter also offers a chance to see some of the area's most unique wildlife and waterfowl. Hundreds of white tundra swans, as well as blue herons and bald eagles, spend the season at the Franz Lake National Wildlife Refuge. Evidently, even quasi-mythical animals appreciate the climate: an official county ordinance from 1984 defines the boundaries of Skamania County as a lawful sasquatch refuge.