| The fabled "nuclear winds" of the Columbia River Gorge make for some huge waves when they meet the opposing river current head on. Ten foot swells are common on big days down at Doug's beach, just a mile or so downwind from "Rowena Shores". You can sail down there and never have to worry about pointing your way back as the current will take care of all that for you. You only need to watch for the ramps! Here's your humble webmaster negotiating some nuclear winds in Rowena.
Sailing right off our private beaches at "Rowena Shores" beaches is a little mellower, however. We beachstart right out into the same winds that blow through the Rowena Corridor on their way down to Doug's Beach, but the water is a little flatter, great for speed runs and "hero jibes" as you approach the beach. The river is about 2/3 mile wide here, and there are some nice gentle rollers over on the Washington side. And, of course, it is a whole lot less crowded than it is down at Doug's beach where it is not uncommon to see 200 sails on the water.
The Gorge is truly paradise, a windsurfer's dream come true. "Rowena Shores" is located on the fabulous Rowena Riviera right in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge on the border between Oregon and Washington in the northwestern United States.
With one or two minor exceptions, the only privately owned riverfront properties on the Oregon side of the Columbia in the central Gorge are here in Rowena, a small town about 12 miles east of Hood River on I-84. This strip of 23 exclusive riverfront properties is what we affectionately refer to as the Rowena Riviera. If you don't have a friend in Rowena, you're still in luck. Mayer Park East is a windsurfing park at the east end of Rowena which offers an easy launch sight into the powerful winds of the central Gorge. Plenty of parking, grass lawns for rigging and full restroom facilities make this a great spot for the family.
||If you take a short drive on the old Highway 30 out of Rowena, up a series of switchbacks and hairpin turns generally referred to as the loops by the locals, you'll come to the top of Rowena Plateau. This site, frequently chosen as a filming site for automobile commercials, offers breathtaking panoramas, (see above photo looking east down the Gorge past Rowena), of the mighty Columbia River to the east toward the Rowena Riviera and beyond. Looking back westward toward Mosier and Hood River you see this view. The Plateau is a national wildflower preserve and is in full bloom in May. You can also catch a glimpse of the perennially snowcapped Mt. Hood to the south.
Of course you came here to go sailing and Windance has a great guide to the Gorge Sailing spots. If you want to start honing your sailing skills, why not check out some of the many windsurfing magazine sites on the Internet, like Windsurfing Magazine, and the excellent Windsport Magazine from Canada. These great magazines are now on-line and offer useful tips and advice on how to get those big jumps, the perfect jibe or the elusive waterstart. Check 'em out! Or check out Marc Lefebvre's page, the Windsurfing Technique Forum.
If you want to take some lessons here's an online primer to get you started. And if you are ready to head to the Gorge right now, check out iWindsurf.com for up-to-the moment on the water wind conditions at the greatest windsurfing location on the planet.
On a rare day, if the wind right in Rowena is not exactly to your liking, there are many other great places to sail. Here's a great list of the top 20 sailing locations in the Gorge. And when you need a day off from sailing, to rest those weary muscles, be sure to check out some of the many, many other fun and exciting recreational opportunities in the Gorge. You might want to include a trip to some of the other awe-inspiring scenic sites in the Gorge like Mt. Hood, Crown Point Observatory and the magnificent Multnomah Falls. Visit our page for Gorge Visitors for more information and links.
If you have the time, a trip to Portland is well worth the effort. About 60 miles west of Hood River, Portland is a charming city, and has been likened by many to San Francisco, but without the huge crowds. With the Willamette River flowing north/south through the city, there are many scenic bridges and waterfront spots as well as numerous great restaurants and brewpubs. Check out our page on the City of Roses, for lots of links to more things to do in and around this great city.
We've tried to put together a really enjoyable overview of the Gorge for you at this web site. But before you start checking out all our pages and some of the really interesting links we've assembled for you, why not take a moment and bookmark our main page so you can return to Rowena Shores any time you need a "Gorge fix". Come back often! Lots of folks do.....