Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon.


One of the top 5 best road trips in the US.  A little tricky to get there for many, but keep checking for bargain fares from any major airport and every year you’ll find steeply discounted trips on off-peak weekends.  Three days is plenty of time to take in the beauty of this area, preferably in summer.  Once you’ve visited, no question you’ll want to go back!  This is one of the best outdoor mecca’s in all of North America during any season, so it’s no wonder so many athletic and outdoor companies now call Portland home.


  • ATHLETES: climbing, biking, hiking, running, exploring
  • ADVENTURERS: climbing, biking, hiking, running, exploring
  • PHOTOGRAPHERS: photo/video scapes, portraits, landscapes and dramatic wedding photography
  • FAMILIES: photography, picnicking, hiking for all ability levels, great walking paths both with and without elevation
  • KIDS: YES, absolutely! I took my 3 year-old son around the entire park and he loved it and helped make many photo opportunities even better.


CLOTHING: Comfortable hiking or running shoes. Even flip flops would work in the summertime if you’re okay with brightly-colored sandy/dirty feet. A rain jacket is also a good idea year round since the weather can change quickly in/around Pikes Peak.

CAMERA: Phone and DSLR. I only brought my phone and the scenery was definitely worthy of a decent camera body and lenses (wide angle for the scenery, telephoto for shots of your loved ones). I wasn’t very prepared but still grateful to get some wall-worthy images.

LENSES: Wide angle will probably get you the most impressive results, but also consider a mid to long-range telephoto or combination zoom for any portraits, action shots or dramatic compositions.


  • Hiking boots or cross trainers
  • Camelback or water bottles
  • Sunscreen
  • Rain jacket (don’t underestimate how wet and cold a waterfall will get you, even on a hot day)
  • Light towel
  • Sunglasses
  • Hike in something you can swim in if you might want to get into the water at all


Probably spring/fall for the best weather and lighter crowds, but Colorado really is one of those rare locations that can be even more enjoyable when the snow falls, so probably just depends on your temperature tolerance and the reason for the trip (family, biking, photography, climbing, etc.). Locals visit year round, and for good reason. Can be crowded during peak summer seasons so get there either early or later in the day if you can and you’ll have considerably less traffic, more dramatic lighting and less exhaustion from the heat of the peak summer season.


Fly into Colorado Springs and rent a car for the quickest access to all that the Pike’s Peak recreation area has to offer. Also, check rates for flying in and out of Denver, since it is a relatively quick/easy drive and might save you a pretty penny. There are often absurdly low cost flights from various U.S. locations on Frontier Airlines to both cities. Every time these fares pop up (about every other month) it amazes me that more folks don’t take advantage of a quick, rejuvenating and cheap weekend in the mountains!

For quick travels in/around city centers, Uber and Lyft are great options if you plan on staying close to a hotel or urban center, but would strongly recommend planning ahead enough to rent a car since that will get significantly more bang-for-your buck on your trip and get you out into the wilderness to experience more of what Colorado really has to offer. Even last minute, sites like KayakHotwireEnterprise and Priceline frequently run great discounted weekend and weekly vehicle rates worth checking out. These deals regularly popup last minute when, presumably, car rental inventory is high (for rental car companies, the goal is to have as many cars on the road as possible at all times).



An accessible, stunning, relatively quick and easy to enjoy location. Pack light and leave the hefty gear in your car or hotel so you can relax, detach and have fun. You’ll still get great, print worthy shots.



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