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Retirement Living in Columbia River Gorge - Oregon

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Area Description

Built in the rain shadow of Mt. Hood, The Dalles is a sunny destination offering outdoor recreation of every kind: cycling, hiking, fishing, rafting, camping, and much more. Located in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge, The Dalles is surrounded by forests, orchards, high desert and, of course, the mighty Columbia River. It is an area rich in history and resources. Less than an hour away, the majestic Mt. Hood, 11,235 feet high, provides a paradise for skiers, hikers, mountain climbers or those who just want to experience its grandeur. In about 45 minutes you can find yourself white-water rafting on the Deschutes River or salmon fishing at the mouth of any of the tributaries that spill into the Columbia River.
The Dalles has served as a center of trade for more than 10,000 years and is the Wasco County seat, providing service to over 85,000 residents of Wasco, Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler and Hood River counties in Oregon as well as Klickitat and Skamania counties in Washington. Downtown The Dalles is a registered historic district featuring architecture from the late 1800s and the early 1900s.
The Dalles experiences four distinct seasons, yet finds sunny skies throughout the year. Precipitation averages 14.41 inches annually. The average high/low temperatures are 41.1/28.2 in January and 99.1/61 during the summer months.The Dalles is 252 feet above sea level and has a population of 14,400 at last census.

Region Characteristics

Area Amenities

Things to Do, Recreation & Fitness

   The Dalles offers a multitude of outdoor activities including water sports such as boating, fishing and wind surfing. An hour's drive takes you to Mt. Hood for skiing and warming up in the historic Timberline Lodge at the base of the mountain. The Dalles has hiking/biking trails which include Riverfront Trail, a nine-mile stretch that is level, paved and close to the Columbia River and is perfect for leisurely hiking or dog walking. We have a cinema, wine-tasting rooms, museums, and a vibrant Art Center. Our local, historic venue for concerts, plays, conferences and dance/music events is The Dalles Civic Auditorium. Built as a memorial to the veterans of World War I, this grand old building serves as a gathering place for events in The Dalles . In April we celebrate the cherry industry of our region with the Northwest Cherry Festival in Downtown The Dalles. July brings the Fort Dalles Rodeo to celebrate our "western" side (The Dalles was one of the top 10 Western Towns in the nation in 2014!). Classic car buffs will love the "Cruise the Gorge" weekend in August, and those who love the old-time events will want to go to the Wasco County Fair and Rodeo also in August. The night after Thanksgiving sparkles with the lighted Starlight Parade which is immediately followed that night by the Annual Community Tree-Lighting Ceremony on the grounds of The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce. The ceremony is accompanied by a visit from Santa with photo op and lots of hot chocolate, coffee and cookies to round out the night. There are too many sporting events, festivals, dances, run/walks to mention. To get an idea of just how full our calendar of events is, go to www.thedalleschamber.com and click on "Community calendar".

Cultural Activities

We have numerous lectures throughout the year as well as concerts through our Community Concert Association, plays by The Theatre Company of The Dalles, and the opportunity to view original art at The Dalles Art Center or take classes there.
Our local book store, Klindt's Booksellers, plays host to numerous authors throughout the year for book signings, book festivals, and also offers writing workshops with well-known authors.
Those with musical talent might want to join our local Community Orchestra or one of the singing groups.

Public transportation

The Dalles has a transportation service called The Link which offers transportation within the city as well as limited transportation to our neighboring town of Hood River and Portland, Oregon.
We also have two taxi services and a limo service.
Local charter air service is available at Columbia Gorge Regional Airport located in Dallesport, Washington. Scenic flights, flight instruction and rental aircraft are also available. Life Flight also has operations at the Columbia Gorge Regional Airport. Portland International Airport is 75 minutes away.

Medical Facilities

Mid-Columbia Medical Center serves The Dalles and surrounding area offering state-of-the art services delivered with emphasis on treating the whole person. It is a designated Level III trauma center, and is staffed by approximately 900 employees and 210 physicians. Celilo Cancer Center offers patients and their families healing opportunities for the body, mind and soul and is located on the MCMC campus. Water's edge is an innovative health and lifestyle center operated by Mid-Columbia Medical Center and is located on the riverfront of The Dalles. Situated in The Dalles is also the Oregon Veteran's Home and Veteran's clinic. The Oregon Veteran's Home is a 151-bed long-term healthcare facility that provides professional medical, nursing, rehabilitative, social as well as other support services as well as an Alzheimer's care unit for veterans, their spouses or surviving spouses.


Monthly Temperatures / Rain / Snow

 Month  Low  Avg  High  Rain  Snow
 Jan  29.0  36.0  43.0  2.6 "  4.8 "
 Feb  30.0  39.5  49.0  1.9 "  3.1 "
 Mar  34.0  46.0  58.0  1.2 "  0.5 "
 Apr  39.0  52.0  65.0  0.8 "  0.0 "
 May  46.0  59.5  73.0  0.7 "  0.0 "
 Jun  53.0  66.5  80.0  0.5 "  0.0 "
 Jul  58.0  73.0  88.0  0.2 "  0.0 "
 Aug  57.0  73.0  89.0  0.3 "  0.0 "
 Sep  49.0  65.0  81.0  0.4 "  0.0 "
 Oct  39.0  53.5  68.0  0.9 "  0.1 "
 Nov  33.0  42.5  52.0  2.1 "  1.2 "
 Dec  29.0  35.5  42.0  3.1 "  4.2 "

We have a distinct four-season climate. The Dalles is on the dividing place between the wetter side of the state and the high desert. We therefore have less rain and more sunshine than even our neighboring town 20 miles to the west of us. We generally have several snowfalls during the winter, but the snow does not linger for months as in some regions. For example,by March, gardeners are able to plant very early specimens.

Natural Disaster Areas

Cost of Living for Columbia River Gorge, OR

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon cost of living for Housing, Healthcare, Transportation, Taxes, Utilities, etc.:

Cost of Living




Political Party


Senior Housing Options

Senior Assistance in Columbia River Gorge, OR

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon offers the following assistance for seniors:

Job or Volunteer Opportunities

Job opportunities can be found online or at the Oregon Employment Department. We also have seasonal employment during cherry and wheat harvest.
Volunteer opportunities abound with many non-profit organizations.Examples of sites are The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce, Mid-Columbia Medical Center, Mid-Columbia Senior Center, Meals on Wheels and through the Northern Wasco Country School District #21. Many more are available.

Additional Information

Visitor Information

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