VIENTO STATE PARK
Appropriately enough for a park in the blustery Columbia River Gorge, the park's name, pronounced vee-EN-toe, is Spanish for wind. Just an odd coincidence, actually. In this case, the Viento comes from the first letters of three railroad tycoons - Villard, Endicott, and Tollman -who put the first railroad in the area. Where a railroad station once stood is now the home of one of the Gorge's best kept secrets: Viento is a great place to camp! With modern campsites, Viento almost always has a spot available when other campgrounds in the area are full. No reservations are accepted; camping is first-come, first-served. On weekends in the summer, rangers provide interpretive programs. A fully-accessible restroom is located here. Viento is next to a working railroad line and crossing. Visitors and campers can expect to hear train horns throughout the day and night. Interstate 84 also borders the park. Please call the park office at (541) 374-8811, for more information.
Viento has a day-use area with easy access to the Columbia River and some of the best windsurfing in the Gorge. There's a great picnic area right next to a wonderful, babbling creek - just right for skimming stones and soaking sore feet.
A one-mile trail from Viento to Starvation Creek takes you along a section of the Historic Columbia River Highway. Now a hiking trail, there hasn't been auto traffic here in more than 50 years. If you get a chance to visit, imagine an old Ford Model T twisting around the corners!