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Hear in the Gorge & Car-Free Travel – Changing the Way You Experience the Columbia River Gorge

August 29, 2018
Blach Hotel-Credit Blach Hotel

Photo courtesy of Balch Hotel

Dufur, Oregon, is a tiny town steeped in history and located approximately 100 miles east of Portland. Dufur was a stop along the Oregon Trail, specifically the Barlow Road, which took westward traveling pioneers over the shoulder of Mt. Hood. Today, Dufur is off the main transportation routes. It’s just enough out of the way to feel away without being impossible to reach.

In Dufur, the 1907 three-story brick Balch Hotel is a fine place to stay a few nights. Dufur and Balch Hotel co-owner, Josiah Dean, are featured in an audio Postcard for the Hear in the Gorge podcast. Eposide #4 of the podcast, by producer Sarah Fox, is an Oregon Trail Roadtrip. The hotel is also a destination for a car-free travel experience highlighting Oregon’s heritage resources, including sites from other Hear in the Gorge episodes. Heidi Beierle, champion of bicycle-heritage tourism, made the journey from Portland to Dufur car-free and reviewed the trip during her stay at the Balch.

Bike in Gorge-Credit Heidi Beierle

Photo courtesy of Heidi Beierle

The Oregon Trail Roadtrip episode, along with a forthcoming Hear in the Gorge episode spotlighting Latino experiences, are being developed with Oregon Heritage grant funds. The podcast illuminates untold stories in the Gorge and encourages residents and visitors to hear, see, and experience this place in new ways. The car-free experiences created for the Gorge with Travel Oregon and Oregon Heritage funding likewise provide people with an opportunity to encounter the region’s heritage in new and different ways.

With summer winding down, it is an ideal time to tune into Hear in the Gorge and explore Oregon’s many heritage resources car-free. Trips initiated in Portland can use a variety of public and private transportation options to reach heritage sites, including two National Historic Landmark sites. Listen to Woody Guthrie while riding the Columbia Gorge Express to Cascade Locks and learn about Bonneville Dam, one of America’s most unusual National Historic Landmarks.

Written by Heidi Beierle, Enroute Transport & Columbia Gorge Tourism Alliance


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