Car-free hiking: Taking the bus to the Columbia River Gorge

The WET Bus, short for West End Transit, is in it’s second year of providing weekend access to many of the Washington State-side outdoor activities in the Columbia Gorge. Trillium was recently asked to geocode the bus stops and create a GTFS data set for the service. I took a trip from Portland to the Gorge to Hike Dog Mountain on Saturday July 11.

I rode TriMet to a CTRAN bus (65), I was able to connect with the WET Bus. If you live in Portland, you won’t have to start your car!

At the top of this blog is a map that includes every bus stop served by the WET bus. Every stop except for Steigerwald Lake, Bridge of the Gods, Beacon Rock, and Skamania Lodge have easily identifiable bus stop signs (see below).

WET stop sign

On my trip, I met a hiker who also took the MAX, CTRAN, WET Bus to take a day hike up the Cape Horn Trail. Another couple came into Stevenson to do their shopping and were taking the bus back to their home in North Bonneville. And a family was taking the bus to enjoy the activities for Gorge Days.

For $4 (all day pass), anyone can ride WET  on the weekend. Here are some ideas that I would personally like to take advantage of with the WET Bus:

Growing up in the Gorge, I’ve witnessed the growing number of cars and visitors entering the area. Cars enable us to enjoy outdoor spaces, but traffic congestion then compromises those very places. Transit can provide an efficient solution. It is a pleasure to see a public transit agency working to minimize the carbon footprint by providing services for the locals and fulfilling the growing demands of the adjoining metropolitan area.

Having a GTFS dataset for the WET Bus will help others discover the service in trip planners and will be make it easier for everyone to understand how the different agencies connect to each other. So Oregonians and Washingtonians, go enjoy the Gorge on the WET Bus!

Weekend service
Weekday service

Depending on weekday or weekend schedules you may be greeted by either of the following buses:


See also: The WET bus was described by Portland’s Willamette Week: “The Boot Bus — Our picks for Portland-area hiking trails accessible by public transit”. (July 7, 2015)

Seth's expertise in customer service and technical support extends over 8 years of external and internal customer service. He has served clients in the real estate, health, and education sectors, but his own education is in GIS and data management. Seth ensures that our GTFS Manager clients receive immediate support. Seth’s other interests include data visualization and long distance running. He received his B.S. from Portland State University after coursework in business and informatics.