The Columbia River Gorge is one of the ultimate hiking destinations here in the Pacific Northwest. Scenic drives, gorgeous waterfalls, and stunning views of the Columbia River leaves no question as to why this place has become such a popular spot to explore. With over 140 hiking trails to choose from, picking which one can be a little overwhelming. I could list off one by one all the great hikes you should explore, but that list could go on for days. So instead let’s take it one hike at a time.

Starvation Creek State Park

For all you waterfall hunters out there, this state park is the place for you. It’s located in the Columbia River Gorge along Highway 84 about 50 miles from Portland. It offers a 2.6 mile loop that passes by three stunning waterfalls. The picnic area is fantastic. Pack a lunch and enjoy your food with the sounds of the creek rushing by and magnificent views of Starvation Creek Falls in the background. Many of the visitors who come here choose not to take the full 2.6 mile loop around the park. If waterfalls are what you seek all three waterfalls are just a short stroll through the woods. Start your hike by heading west along the paved Mount Defiance Trail that follows Highway 84. At first this trail may seem a little awkward. The sound of the rushing cars may be a bit unpleasant, but don’t worry, soon there will be trees separating you from the road and your peaceful hike in the woods begins.

Cabin Creek Falls

First up, Cabin Creek Falls. It’s the smallest of the three waterfalls, but certainly worth the stop.

Cabin Creek Falls


Next up, Hole-In-The-Wall-Falls. This magnificent 92 foot beast will most certainly catch your eye. Originally called Warren Falls, this waterfall used to flow right over the cliff, which caused floods on Highway 84 during the winter. Rather than moving the road they decided to move the waterfall. In 1938 a hole was constructed to allow Warren Creek to flow into a tunnel and out through the “hole-in -the-wall.” Many visitors choose to turn around after this point, but I’d recommend you keep going. There’s one more waterfall to see and it’s only a short hike away.


Lancaster Falls

Last stop, Lancaster Falls. My favorite out of the three. From Hole-In-The-Wall-Falls, cross the wooden bridge and continue to hike along an easy rocky/dirt path. You will come to a fork in the trail and a well marked sign will tell you to head right. Do as it says and you’ll find yourself standing here, up close and personal with this beauty.

After an easy 1.8 mile out-and-back hike, passing by three magnificent waterfalls, plus a bonus fourth in the picnic area, I would have to say Starvation Creek State Park will most certainly not disappoint. And for those of you interested in hiking the full 2.6 mile hike, stay tuned. I took that hike last spring and trust me there’s definitely some “need to know before you go” info that I’ll tell you about later. Until then, Cheers.

-written by usoutdoor employee Shawna B.

A Total Solar Eclipse – The Chance Of A Lifetime

In case you haven’t heard, on August 21st there will be a total solar eclipse that will march it’s way across the United States from Oregon to South Carolina. It will be the first time that has happened in 99 years. Pretty cool huh? What is an eclipse you ask? I’ll spare you all the nerdy talk about nodes, umbras, and penumbras; mostly because I don’t understand what they are, and give you the basics. A solar eclipse is where the moon’s shadow falls on the Earth, and a lunar eclipse is where the earth’s shadow falls on the moon. We’re talking about the upcoming solar eclipse.

This solar eclipse can be seen, at least partially, by everyone in North America. If you’re lucky enough to live here in Oregon there are many viewing options. Oregon Live has a great article 17 places to watch the 2017 solar eclipse around Oregon on the best places to view the eclipse. I’m going to view it in Portland(my wife has to work), where I’ll see 99.1% of the eclipse. If you live in the path of the totality, or you plan on traveling there, you’re in for a once in a lifetime spectacle.

Oregon path of totality.

Let me be clear, you will need special eclipse sunglasses Celestron Eclipse Solar Shades that stop 99.99 percent of the suns rays. Without these you can cause serious permanent damage to your eyes. The eclipse will start around 9:00 a.m. P.D.T., reaching totality around 10:15 am P.D.T. and leaving Oregon around 10:27 am, going on it’s way across the continent and ending it’s journey at the coast of South Carolina around 2:45 pm E.D.T. The path is approximately 70 miles wide and will be traveling 3,400 mph and slowing down to about 2,900 mph because by then it will be traveling higher in the sky. If you are in the totality, with the special eclipse glasses, you will see the shadow of the moon moving across the sun. This is what they call the “diamond ring effect.”

Diamond ring effect

After the “diamond ring effect” you are almost in totality. Then the phenomenon called the “Bailey’s Beads effect” will appear. Bits of light creeping through the various valleys, mountains and craters on the surface of the moon.

Baily’s beads effect

Then comes the totality. It only lasts around two minutes. Now you can take off your protective eyewear. The moon will completely cover the sun. Next you will see the corona, or the sun’s atmosphere. In that moment the birds will stop chirping and there will be a slight dip in the temperature. This is what you’ve been waiting for, the whole enchilada.

Total Solar Eclipse

Will seeing the totality change your life? Some people say it produces such a profound sense of awe that it changes your perspective on life forever. I for one am not hoping for an existential epiphany, after all I’m only going to see 99.1% of the eclipse. Maybe next time. However, this is the first legitimate excuse to have a beer in the morning in my life, and I’m going to take full advantage. I’m not saying I haven’t had a few pops in the morning, quite the contrary. In my college days when we had a 11:30 a.m. football game, my friends and I would throw back a few before we headed to the stadium. Go Cougs. The solar eclipse excuse is the ultimate.

So come on down to USOUTDOOR and get your eclipse sunglasses. It could change your life. Cheers.

-written by usoutdoor employee C.Tyrell

The ten essential items for car camping that you probably don’t think about.

For those of you who are hardcore backpackers you should probably move along. But if you’re car camping and want to take it to the next level, here are ten things that will open up a whole new world of automotive outdoor dwelling.

Camping Hygiene

Camping on the Deschutes River a few years back the Nemo Helio Pressure Shower was something I never thought I’d need, but by the end of that night I would have given anything to have one. My wife and dogs left camp that night for an evening hike along the river. When they got back she said, “They rolled in something,” and by the look on her face I knew it was bad. Then the stench hit me, something like newborn baby diapers and chinese food. I started to gag. Fearing I would hurl, I grabbed a beer, ran to the car and got in. I know, I’m a coward. I sat there, drank my beer and watched Shawna go back and forth countless times, down to the river, filling her water bottle, dumping it on the dogs and scrubbing them with Dr. Bronner’s Soap , over and over again. It took over half an hour before camp began to smell half decent. I should have grabbed two beers. Needless to say, lesson learned. The following Monday the first thing I did when I got to work was run down to the camping department and grab a Nemo Helio shower. Now that thing goes with us everywhere.

Nemo Helio Pressure Shower

Campsite Lantern

A lantern. An obvious must. But two lanterns is the way to go. I use a Coleman Propane Lantern for the picinic table and my Black Diamond Apollo L.E.D. lantern to help me navigate through camp during the night. Hang it inside your tent or bring it with you to the outhouse. The best part is, it’s small, packable, and easy to carry.

Coleman Propane Lantern

Canteens & Tumblers

A Hydro Flask is always a good thing to have on a camping trip, and I’m not talking about your standard water bottle. I’m talking about a Hydro Flask Tumbler . When you’re chillin’ around camp, it’s easy to hold in one hand, so you can keep that other hand free for slapping mosquitoes or throwing a stick for the dog. It’s best use, as US Outdoor employee Pat once said, “It good for cocktails and such.”

Hydro Flask Tumbler

First Aid

You absolutely must have a first aid kit. I know it’s boring, but it’s essential. I have two kits, the first is an expedition size. It has everything and it comes with a backcountry first aid guide book. It spells out with great detail how to take care of everything from a tick bite to a sucking chest wound. The other kit I carry in my backpack. It’s a smaller Adventure Medical Kits . I augment it with a tourniquet;
Quikclot trauma pak
, it helps to stop bleeding fast; and duct tape, it has a million uses, not literally, but you get my drift. Remember what my Grandma Shirley used to say, “It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it”. Good advice.

Adventure Medical Kits

Basecamp Shelters

Cordage and tarps go hand and hand. I always have a tarp and at least fifty feet of cordage
with me. You never know when the Pacific Northwest sky will open up and douse your camp with a vengeance. With cord and tarp you can set up a nice awning over your picnic table, thus saving your weekend. However, if you’re on the Deschutes River you’re screwed. No Trees. I’ve had that happen a few times. But at least you can practice your knots with your cordage while you ride it out in your tent.

Tarp and cordage.

Campsite Utensils

I love my Snow Peak Titanium Spork. What can I say about a spork. Half spoon, half fork. Need I say more. Yes, it’s titanium.

Snowpeak Titanium Spork

Camping Cookware

My wife needs her coffee in the morning. I know it’s cliche, but she does. She says the only thing good about morning in camp is coffee. You have to be quiet, it’s cold, and you can’t drink. At least not until noon. So she fires up the stove, boils some water, and grabs the Java Press and presto, coffee. I like to Irish mine up a little, wait until noon, please. We’re camping.

G.S.I. Java Press

Camp Tools

One of the most important tools I carry when I go camping is my Leatherman. Leatherman is synonymous with the term multi tool. Having pliers is essential. It’s definitely gotten me out of a jam a time or two.

Leatherman Multi Tool

Basecamp Essentials

My favorite item that you’ve probably never heard of is the Little Buddy Heater . It uses the same propane tanks that my Coleman lantern runs on. Just screw one on and press the ignitor button and you have a nice heat source for over seven hours. I’ve had some cold nights on the Deschutes River in February and March, and that little thing cranks the heat. It is such a psychological pick up to have warmth in the midst of numbing cold. I know it seems like a luxury,” but if you have the means I’d highly recommend picking one up.” A blatant Ferris Bueller reference, but how great was that movie?

Little Buddy Heater

-written by usoutdoor employee C.Tyrell


One of the great things about living in Portland is that you’re always close to the most amazing spots on the planet. There is so much to do and see. Here is a short post on one of those adventures.

These are my dogs Maggie and Rowdy. I’ll begin with an introduction, Maggie first, she’s the oldest. Maggie’s a black lab/Kelpie mix. She is the most beautiful, smart, and confident dog ever, and she absolutely loves to swim. Rowdy’s a black Lab/Cattle dog mix. He is the cutest, funniest, and sweetest dog ever, and when he see’s sand, he goes nuts.

This adventure begins on a Sunday morning. My wife and I packed the car with my fly fishing gear, loaded up the dogs, and headed to the Wilson River. As we drove along Highway 6, all my favorite spots on the Wilson were taken. “Not a problem”, I said. Let’s go to the Oregon Coast instead. The dogs love the beach even more than they love the river. We get to Tillamook and head North on Highway 101. While driving and plotting which beach to hit first I looked up and saw a Tillamook Country Steak sign. My favorite Jerky. We just started selling it at the shop. I never knew where it was made, maybe Tillamook Country should have been a clue, but I always sucked at that game.

Tillamook Country Smoker

Continuing along 101 we drive through Garibaldi. We see these weird rocks out in the bay, so we pulled over for a minute to check it out. These rocks look very much like the famous Haystack Rock, but with trees growing on them, a mini forest. I can’t help but love the fact that nothing on the west side of Oregon can escape the green.

Crab Rocks

Next stop Barview Jetty County Park. As we pulled into the parking lot the dogs could smell the salt in the air, and their excitement begins. We leash them up, walk past all the other people and let them go. Maggie takes off running with Rowdy right behind. Maggie heads straight for the water and dives right in. She does that when I fish, which is why I contend that I don’t catch as much fish as my friends. Rowdy hits the sand and starts to dig. He absolutely loves to dig. We chant, “dig, dig, dig,” which eggs him on even more.

The day is still young so we continue to head North on 101. We drive through Rockaway Beach. We see a giant hot dog on top of Pronto Pup, we wanted to stop but it was closed, bummer. No hot dogs, no Rockaway.

Pronto Pup

Next the city of Brighton. We had no plans to stop here. It’s just another city on the bay and our mission is to see the ocean. As we were driving through, my wife saw this campground and told me to stop. “Lets check it out”. She’s always on the hunt for a good camping spot. As we pulled up, we saw a crowd of people hanging out on this giant dock. It was part of Kelly’s Marina. It’s a happening little spot, tucked away, invisible from the road. We walked around and admired the weird decorations while enjoying the view. There were fresh live oysters, clams, and crabs for sale. We bought a dozen oysters and went on our way. Time to head home. Dinner Time.

Kelly’s Marina

Cruising North on Highway 6, listening to “Killing Moon, by Echo and the Bunnymen”, great song, you should check it out. By the way how cool is the name “Echo and the Bunnymen”. Thoughts of oysters for dinner, and I can’t help think what a great place to live – Oregon baby.


Do Not Rescind Bears Ears National Monument, Utah – Petition

Attention all who have a love of climbing or a desire to protect our natural landscapes,

Bears Ears National Monument needs your help! Bears Ears includes our precious Indian Creek, Lockhart Basin, Arch/Texas Canyon, Comb Ridge, Valley of the Gods and many other undeveloped areas, all of which are in danger of losing protection from our federal government. Please join us in telling newly confirmed Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke not to rescind or reduce Bears Ears National Monument! The Outdoor Retailer trade show has already opened eyes with its decision to relocate from Salt Lake City to a new host city outside of Utah in protest of this matter. OR has been operating in Utah the past two decades and generates around $45 million in revenue for the state each year.

We ask that you take a moment to review the petition in the link below and offer your thoughts. Thank you for your time.

Review and sign petition here

U.S. Outdoor Ski & Snowboard Demo Daze at Timberline Lodge

We may be holding this demo day on April Fools Day, but this is NO JOKE!
US Outdoor is holding a FREE ski and snowboard demo at Timberline Lodge. Come out and shred on all of next year’s equipment! We will be ready for you bright and early, but remember, BYOB (bring your own boots), and don’t forget to bring your buds for this sick Saturday on our favorite mountain. The last skis will be going out at 2:00 pm. REGISTER HERE

Who: Skiers and snowboarders
What: Ski & Snowboard Demo presented by U.S. Outdoor
Where: Timberline Lodge
When: April 1st, 2017 from 9am to 2pm
Why: See description above.