We just returned from a trek to Cascade Locks for the Bridge of the Gods Run. When I set up my bucket list in June of 2017, a run across the Bridge of the Gods had to be on it (more on this below). Anyhow, I’m happy to say that this bucket list item is also checked off in the summer of 2017.
Notes and discoveries for anybody else who wants to do it are below.
What is the Bridge of the Gods?
The Bridge of the Gods is a steel bridge that crosses the Columbia River Gorge at Cascade Locks. The name comes from a natural bridge that dammed the Columbia River about 1000 years ago, created a gigantic lake that extended all the way into Idaho, eventually eroded into a bridge and then collapsed.
While the geologic history is pretty cool, the modern day Bridge of the Gods is the point where the Pacific Crest Trail crosses the Columbia Gorge. Crossing the Columbia river is no small thing and the Bridge of the Gods is one of less than 100 Columbia River crossings over 1200 miles including bridges, ropes, dams, and ferries.
Why the Bridge of the Gods Run was on My Bucket List
The Bridge of the Gods is a part of the PCT. Normal pedestrian crossing costs $1, but you have to walk single file and you share the bridge with cars and trucks. However, during the Bridge of the Gods run the traffic is halted and you have the entire span to share with other runners.
The race is a rare opportunity to run across any lane of the bridge without any auto traffic. In the early morning with the sun low and lighting perfect, you and your fellow runners get the whole bridge. You can see the Washington side of the Gorge, the Oregon side, or you can look down through the steel grates and contemplate the enormous river flowing below. It is an amazing experience.
The race itself is a creation of breakaway promotions. We met some of them this year while they were setting up. It’s a family operation and they seem to be really nice folks. The whole event is end to end fun with food, locally brewed beer, music and celebration.
You can run the 5K, 10K or half marathon. The starting line of each race is on the Washington side of the bridge. After a visually overwhelming river crossing, you drop onto the Columbia River Highway trail and run through a vibrantly green temperate rain forest.
Camping in the Columbia Gorge
My favorite part of this event is that lodging, for most people, involves a campsite. Tent cities for the event spring up on Thunder Island and at the Cascade Locks School Athletic Field. We camped at Wyeth campground a few miles up the road. It’s clean, quiet, and a great place to stage your race basecamp.
After Run Activities
Thunder Island Brewing is a sponsor of the event. Their brewpub is conveniently located on the far side of the parking lot, but you don’t even have to walk that far as their sponsor tent right over the finish line. If you like your beer brewed locally in small batches and inspired by the outdoors, you will love this place.
It is worth noting that the Columbia Gorge and Hood River area is a craft brewing enthusiasts paradise. Here is a quick list of the local opportunities.
- 64 Taphouse
Bridge of the Gods Run – Checked off the Bucket List
So those are my notes on the Bridge of the Gods Run. I was happy to check this off my list but we will probably do it annually as a family trip. This event is just too much fun, the Columbia Gorge is beautiful and we still have alot to explore around Hood River.