White Salmon and Bingen
Continuing eastward from Carson and Home Valley, the highway passes the trailhead (Forest Pass required for parking) for Dog Mountain Trail, a rugged, switchback-filled, 3.5-mile climb to the summit of this 2,900-foot peak.
This is a good chance to stretch your legs and enjoy wildflower-filled meadows in spring. Beyond the trailhead, the Lewis and Clark Highway cuts through five short tunnels and the landscape begins to open up, with fewer trees and broader vistas.
At Cook-Underwood Road, you’ll encounter Little White Salmon/Willard National Fish Hatchery (13 miles east of Stevenson) and the Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery (two miles west of the Hood River Bridge). Both are free to visit and open 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. daily. Their goal is the reestablishment of a self-sustaining coho salmon fishery in the Wenatchee River Basin.
The German-themed speed-trap known as Bingen (pop. 700) straddles Highway 14; its bigger twin, White Salmon (pop. 2,330), is just 1.5 miles up the hill. Bingen has a big SDS Lumber Company sawmill, which produces 8.5 megawatts of electricity per hour with its surplus steam alone. White Salmon, meanwhile, has several Bavarian-style buildings and a 14-bell glockenspiel mounted above its city hall. The only one of its kind on the west coast, it chimes hourly 8 a.m.–8 p.m. and plays music on holidays. East of these two towns, the road continues along the river’s edge and through the tiny village of Lyle.
A well-preserved 1911 church provides the home of The Gorge Heritage Museum (202 E. Humbolt, Bingen, 509/493-3228, 11:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Thurs.–Sun. late May–Sept.). The collection includes local pioneer relics, Native American artifacts, and historic photos.
Getting to White Salmon and Bingen
The Bingen Amtrak (509/248-1146 or 800/872-7245, www.amtrak.com) station is located at 800 Northwest 6th Street. Service is daily, heading west to Vancouver and Portland, and east to Wishram, Pasco, Spokane, and all the way to Chicago.
© Ericka Chickowski from Moon Washington, 8th edition