The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most spectacular and popular tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest with more than two million visitors annually. But it's maybe too popular. For folks hoping for a Saturday stroll or Sunday waterfall interlude, it may seem like all two million are there at once competing for a parking spot. Roads are congested, parking is scarce and cars are vandalized.
But two entrepreneurs have started a shuttle service that will make it easier for Gorge lovers to hike and take in the sights without the hassle.
"We're hoping to alleviate a lot of that mess and headache," said Alan Dayley, co-owner of Sasquatch Shuttle.
The service was started by Dayley and former Multnomah County Sheriff's Deputy Kent Krumpschmidt. .
The duo snagged a big parking lot just off the Bridal Veil exit on Interstate 84 and converted an old school bus into a shuttle that will make stops at eight of the most popular trailheads and recreation spots nearby. Their planned 2020 opening was delayed by the pandemic, but the service is now up and running.
"We have secure parking for a few hundred vehicles," said Dayley. "And you can access Bridal Veil Falls from the parking lot."
The shuttle stops at Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Angels's Rest, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, Vista House and Portland Women's Forum.
The service started May 1 and generally operates daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online.
But check the company's Facebook page or contact them for possible cancellations. A visit on a recent rainy Friday afternoon found the parking lot empty and the bus parked. Sunday, May 9, for example, there were no stops at Horsetail Falls because of search and rescue operations.
Dayley said the bus is "as cute as can be, and fun." There are plans to add more buses, accessible vans and potentially more environmentally-friendly vehicles. There are portable restrooms on site and hopes of attracting a food cart.
It costs $5 to park in the lot and $10 for an all day shuttle pass. The lot can accommodate recreational vehicles.
Sasquatch Shuttle has a system so riders can track the shuttle's location to better plan their visits. Passengers get coded wristbands, which can be scanned with a cell phone to see how long before the shuttle will stop at a location.
The shuttle service counsels that people using the service are responsible for understanding and following any regulations on trails and attractions.
The shuttle is dog friendly, as are all the destinations on the Sasquatch Shuttle route.
Sasquatch is following social-distancing protocols and all passengers and the driver are required to wear masks.
Dayley's Linkedin profile shows he has been involved in a mobile auto detailing business, is co-owner of a leak detection business, and a child care and preschool center.
A promotional video for Sasquatch says: "Leave the hassle up to us and come ride the bus."
If you go
Who: Sasquatch Shuttle
What: shuttle service to eight popular trailhead and recreation sites in Columbia River Gorge
Where: 1 West Mill Road, Bridal Veil,
Exit 28 off Interstate 84
When: Daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Costs: Parking $5, shuttle ticket $10
Ticket info: sasquatchshuttle.com
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