top of page
  • Radford Bean

Camping at Viento State Park

Updated: May 22

May 12, 2023—Since I was riding on the Old Columbia River Highway today and would be riding the Riverfront Trail in The Dalles tomorrow, I wanted to pick a campground close to both locations. Viento is nine miles west of Hood River, so it’s closer to Hood River than The Dalles. However, it’s the closest campground to both that can be accessed from both east- and westbound freeway travel.

The campground is situated on both sides of Interstate 84; the largest of the campground loops is situated on the northside but also close to Union Pacific’s railroad tracks. The south loop is close to the freeway, so either way campers must deal with noise. The tracks and resulting train horns don’t bother me as I am a big railroad fan. It’s not a large campground nor a large state park. There are a total of 74 campsites, 18 of which are for tents, in the campground. Showers in the campground also mean a nice hot shower after a day of windsurfing or bike riding.

The popularity of the park and campground is that it is a popular site for windsurfing. It also sits along another section of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail and runs 5.6 miles from Viento west to the Wyeth Trailhead. C loop on the southside of I-84 is the closest campground loop to the bike trail. Riders staying in the north loop must use the park access road that passes under the freeway to get to the trailhead. However, excess from the campground to the trail at Viento is currently closed because of some construction taking place along I-84.

With my minimal camp set up—I didn’t bring a lot of gear because I want to break camp early tomorrow and head for The Dalles to ride the Riverfront Trail—and having eaten in Hood River since I didn’t bring any cookware for basically what was an overnighter, I had time to put in another bike ride.

I decided to ride the multi-use trail from camp to Wyeth and back. The trail is basically flat and passes by three waterfalls except for a short climb I had to make as the trail abuts the side of a cliff that’s close to the freeway. That section of the trail is an elevated stone pathway.

Because the trail at Viento was currently closed, I had to drive west to Wyeth and turn around and drive to the Starvation Creek State Park exit because there is no exit to Starvation Creek from the east. It was a little after 7 p.m. when I started out on the ride. For much of the ride, I was riding in the woods, even though Interstate 84 was always close by. Starvation Creek Falls is a 227-foot, two-tiered waterfall like Multnomah Falls but nowhere near as tall or spectacular. Placement of the waterfall also hides part of it from the trail. Still, it’s a pretty waterfall.

From Starvation Creek State Park, it’s a very short distance to Cabin Falls. The bike trail ran within eyesight of the freeway during this stretch of my ride.

After riding a third of a mile from Cabin Falls, I arrived at Hole-in-the-Walls Falls. This 92-foot waterfall is manmade. There is a trail from Hole-in-the-Walls Falls to Lancaster Falls, but I chose not to make quarter-mile hike in the interest of time.

Crossing over the Warren Creek Bridge, I soon found myself running in and out of the forest. Much of the trail runs close to the freeway, so there was a lot of road noise to contend with. The trail is close to the freeway at one location because both the trail and the freeway butt right up against talus slopes. It was here that I had to climb the stonework ramp that abuts the side of the cliff. There is a vantage point at the top of the ramp that allowed me to take views of the Columbia River Gorge. Though the temperature was still in the upper 80s, sections of this ride were in the shade and a little chilly. The chill felt good.

Reaching Wyeth State Park, I took a short rest before heading back to Starvation Creek State Park.

This trail section of the Old Columbia River was my least favorite because there is so much road noise to deal with from the highway. At least I can say I rode it and checked it off my list of trails to ride in the Gorge.

Back at camp, I called it an early night.

bottom of page