As the spring season takes over, more folks are eager to head for a hiking trail and discover a new way to visit the nooks and crannies of the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier. It’s an adventure idea that encourages visitors to shop and stay local.

I consider the trail that stretches from Mosier to the top of the Mosier Plateau a “back-pocket hike” because it’s handy and easy to reach in the Columbia River Gorge.

The trail is jam-packed with wildflowers and a waterfall too. In fact, Mosier Creek Falls 100 feet from top to bottom and is close to the stunning Mosier Plateau.

Renee Tkach, with Friends of the Columbia Gorge, wants more people to explore the trail and make the nearby town of Mosier their base-camp through a new adventuring idea, supported by the Travel Oregon Forever Fund, that is called Towns to Trails.

“The concept is easy to understand and fun to enjoy. You don’t have to carry a big, heavy backpack any longer. You carry or wear a lightweight day pack for your short hikes and spend the night at B&B lodges or hotels and enjoy the fruits of the area.”

Towns to Trails is a terrific travel idea for small, local businesses like Mosier’s Rack and Cloth cider house. Owner Kristina Nance is proud of their home-made ciders and really likes the idea of inviting hikers into her business for a meal and a sip.

Photos from Grant's Getaways: Towns to Trails

“When you explore an area on foot, you get a much greater opportunity to take more time and maybe kick a rock or two along the trail. You can also see every little wildflower on display in spring. This is such a beautiful place.”

Another local Mosier shop, called Route 30 Classics, shows off plenty of sportscar memorabilia. Even celebrities are good friends of shop owner, Stephen Demasthenes, who also offers two gorgeous Porsches on display.

But it’s the collection of the new IZip Electric Bikes that Demasthenes is banking on. They are rental bikes for folks who might need a little extra help pedaling up the gorge hills.

“You do have to pedal and as you pedal it’s like somebody is just pushing you by the seat along – it just picks up speed – but if you stop pedaling, then the electric motor stops working.

The Towns to Trails experience also reaches into the Columbia River Gorge wine country.

The new Mosier Towns to Trails plan will eventually connect three wineries on a separate hiking loop – a wine sampling adventure that is called “Wiking,” where the sprawling views are courtesy of Analemma Wines and the Mosier Valley and yours to enjoy anytime.

“We love it!” noted Analemma Wines’ owner – Kris Fade. “In fact, the neighbors on either side of us are really excited about the hiking idea too – whether it’s to support our business or support the community - access to a trail system like this is really exciting to us.”

In a timeless place that’s easy on the eyes and where the sunlit views are never twice the same, the “Towns to Trails” is a brilliant idea.

“It’s for gorge visitors who want to visit an incredible site that’s only available via the trail and that looks west, added Tkach. “It’s also for our Mosier community and their businesses and brings in people from all over the region, even all over the world - and then mixes them in a great cultural experience.”