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10 Charming Small Towns in the Columbia River Gorge You Should Move To

  |  Hood River, Market Trends, Neighborhood Insight

Stretching more than 80 miles along the Washington-Oregon border, the Columbia River Gorge is a deep river canyon reaching a depth of 4,000 feet. The Gorge is a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts, avid hikers, and those who simply enjoy taking in stunning river and mountain views. Not to mention, the Gorge is an especially desirable place to call home!

Many are familiar with the outdoorsy, kiteboard-loving town of Hood River — but there are plenty of other small towns in the Gorge worth considering, on both the Washington and Oregon side of the river. Some are considered “Zoom Towns,” a term coined in reference to the worldwide migration to remote work as a result of the pandemic. This means that many are now able to live in small remote towns wherever they choose, whether their office is located in nearby Portland or across the country in New York City.

Let’s take a tour of a few alluring small towns in the Columbia River Gorge, all of which provide a home base for outdoor enthusiasts, craft beer lovers, city commuters, families, young professionals, and everyone in between.

 

IN OREGON:

The Dalles

The Dalles, Oregon Real Estate

Photo Courtesy of Glenn Scofield Williams, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As one of the largest communities in the Gorge with a population of more than 15,000, The Dalles is a lively town with plenty going on. Yet, the city has maintained its small-town feel, remaining a place where people know their neighbors and they take the time to say “hello.” There is no shortage of restaurants, shops, bars, coffee shops, and community events to keep you busy in The Dalles. Plus, outdoor recreation abounds at the 10-mile paved Riverfront Trail and other nearby parks and hiking trails. And practically speaking, The Dalles residents enjoy access to excellent employment opportunities, especially since Google recently opened a new data center on 74 acres just outside of town.

 

Cascade Locks

Along the banks of the Columbia River lies the small town of Cascade Locks, home to just over 1,000 residents. The town is also home to the Bridge of the Gods, the only bridge crossing the Columbia between Portland and Hood River, allowing residents and visitors to easily travel between Washington and Oregon. The town was named after the set of locks installed to decrease the intense rapids at this stretch of the river, which were subsequently replaced by Bonneville Lock and Dam. Visitors often come to Cascade Locks to take a cruise on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler or to visit the Bonneville Fish Hatchery and see Herman the Sturgeon. But residents choose to call Cascade Locks home for the quiet, laid-back feel and stunning natural surroundings filled with mountains, evergreens, and waterfalls aplenty.

 

Hood River

Hood River, Oregon Real Estate

Hood River is perhaps the most popular and well-known town in the Gorge. It is a must-visit destination for kiteboarders, wine connoisseurs, and outdoor enthusiasts, but this small town of just over 8,000 is also increasingly becoming a popular place to live. Hood River is perfectly positioned at the confluence of the Columbia and Hood Rivers in the shadow of Mount Hood, providing gorgeous views and endless outdoor recreation. The quaint downtown is packed with a variety of restaurants, breweries, charming shops and boutiques, and coffee shops. And with the Hood River Fruit Loop nearby, there is no shortage of fruit stands and wineries to visit during harvest season. Those lucky enough to live in Hood River have access to the town’s exciting attractions and other nearby destinations, including Mount Hood for skiing, hiking and biking. Not convinced? Here are just a few reasons why you should consider moving to Hood River.

Looking to move to Hood River? Hasson has an office in the heart of Hood River and an amazing team who knows the area. Search for homes in Hood River or contact the Jen Dillard Team to get started!

 

Mosier

Just 5 miles east of Hood River lies the small town of Mosier, home to less than 500 residents. Mosier is most known for its cherry orchards, sprawling hillside vineyards, and water sports — because Hood River is not the only Gorge town with a thriving water sports culture! The quiet, laid-back town provides a relaxing retreat for those working in Hood River or Cascade Locks, which are both just a short drive away. One of the most popular trails for walking and biking in the area is Mosier Twin Tunnels, a 4.5-mile paved pathway linking Hood River and Mosier and tracing the path of the original Columbia River Highway.

 

Troutdale

Troutdale, Oregon Real Estate

For those looking to live a bit closer to Portland, while still maintaining a small-town lifestyle, look no further than Troutdale. Serving as the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge, this town of more than 16,000 is located on the northeastern edge of the Portland Metro at the confluence of Sandy River and the Columbia River. While residents enjoy access to big-city amenities, there is plenty to do and see in Troutdale itself, including Multnomah Falls, McMenamins Edgefield, and plenty of restaurants, shops and other attractions. Homeowners in Troutdale enjoy the benefit of relatively lower housing prices while still remaining close to Portland.

 

IN WASHINGTON:

Dallesport

Love The Dalles but also want to enjoy the benefits of living in Washington State? Look no further than Dallesport, an unincorporated community with just over 1,000 residents. Situated along a bend in the river, Dallesport contains a number of homes, lush green orchards, and the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport. Residents may make the short drive across state lines to reach The Dalles, which has plenty of restaurants, shops, bars, and other necessities, like grocery stores and medical centers.

 

Lyle

Lyle, Washington Real Estate

The unincorporated community of Lyle is a popular destination for wine lovers visiting the Gorge, as the surrounding hillside contains a handful of wineries. But Lyle is so much more. Here, hikers have endless trails to explore, including Klickitat Trail and the Lyle Cherry Orchard Trail. And just across the river in Mosier, Oregon, you’ll find the Tom McCall Preserve, Rowena Crest Viewpoint, and many other parks and trails to explore. Lyle is a peaceful and laid-back town with homes situated on the hillside, offering some of the most stunning river views around.

 

White Salmon

With tiny towns all around, White Salmon feels like a fairly large city in comparison. However, this northern neighbor of Hood River has just over 2,000 residents and still maintains its small-town charm. Yet there is still so much to do here, from visiting breweries and restaurants to hitting the trail or river. Plus, White Salmon residents can easily access all there is to do in Hood River in a matter of minutes. Not convinced? Check out these 20 reasons to love White Salmon!

 

Washougal

Washougal, Washington Real Estate

Considered the gateway to the Columbia River Gorge on the Washington side, Washougal is a lively town that has experienced significant growth over the last several decades. Situated about 30 minutes from Portland, Washougal has a population of about 13,000 that includes a mix of families, commuting professionals and plenty of outdoor enthusiasts. Washougal’s beauty is further enhanced by the Washougal River, which runs through town, and nine nearby parks, several of which are situated along the river. Washougal homes include a mix of palatial estates, restored historic homes, new construction, cattle and horse ranches, Craftsman, colonial, Victorian, ranch and Tudor styles, plus townhomes, many with river, city and mountain views.

Looking to move to Washougal? Search for homes in Washougal or contact our Vancouver office to get connected to a local broker.

 

Stevenson

Nestled along the river halfway between Washougal and White Salmon, Stevenson is a lovely community, home to about 1,500. Stevenson contains a variety of local restaurants, breweries and shops of its own, but residents may easily access nearby towns and outdoor recreation all around. But they don’t have to go anywhere to take in some of the most stunning mountain and river views, sometimes from the comfort of their living room window. Golfers love being close to Skamania Lodge Golf Course, which has a 9-hole, par 3 course and an 18-hole putting green.

 

Convinced You Need to Move to the Gorge?

We don’t blame you! Contact our team in Hood River — or our Southwest Washington office — to get started on your home search in the Gorge.

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