Closed due to fire danger August 2016 until further notice
Description of Site: Overlooking the Columbia River Gorge, Bingen is Gorgeous. A deluxe manicured grass LZ at the Bingen Marina with soaring potential with a reasonable drive around makes this one of the gorge's premier sites.
Works in: With south and west launches it works best sunny & calm, but also works in very light east or west winds (under 10 mph). On good thermal days, gains of 2500' are common with XC potential to the east. if there is a wind, westerlies are best from the Intermediate west launch, east winds tend to be rough and unpredictable making for crosswind launches and tumbling air at the south launch. Unfortunately, Bingen bisects the high wind windsurfing capitol of North America and private property. If there are whitecaps on the river at Bingen Marina or a wind line is moving from the west, it is blown out. Like all other Gorge sites, pilots must keep a sharp eye on the river for the streaks of dull looking water and whitecaps warning signs of the Gorge locomotive, The Wind.
CAUTION: The LZ marina is surrounded by water on three sides. When landing in strong west winds it is often a good idea set up on the upwind side of the LZ. There is a road to land on which runs several hundred yards west of the LZ if you overshoot the main LZ. When landing in east winds make sure not to overshoot the LZ as this will lead to a water landing, which has happened and is very dangerous.
Directions to Launch & LZ:
LZ: Find the blinking yellow light on Hwy. 14 in Bingen, WA. Follow 14 east through light to next right at Maple Street, a Pacific Pride is on the right. Follow that over the railroad tracks and look for signs to the marina. It's about 1000' to the left turn on E. Marina Way, follow that and turn right on S. Larch St. ( it's the only right) Turn Left at the intersection on E Bingen Point Way and follow to the parking area. From here, one can look up to the uppermost field and see the south launch.
Launch: From Marina, exit right onto Hwy. 14 and go about 3.5 miles to a left on Courtney Rd. Follow steep road up to gravel and continue taking right turns following signs to Ya'at'e'eh. After about 2.5 miles, the road will narrow. Look for a right "Y" on H500 road. Road will become rutted and pass through trees to a clearing in sloping meadows and you'll see a log home.
Parking has become an issue here at the main parking area. Please limit cars parked and if possible, have a driver. The landowner is happy with paragliders as we have been respectful. Please knock on the door and introduce yourself and that you are there to fly, ask them where to park.
Directly above to the NW is the South Launch with a distinctive lone oak tree in the middle of a steep south facing slope. From parking area walk back 100 yrds towards the corner of the road where you came up and look for the trail. Once on the trail, turn right and follow to the gate, be sure gate is closed, and then hike up to upper fence line and launch below fence above oak tree. The West Launch is around the corner to the northwest about 300 yards. Hike along fence to trail in scattered trees, up and right to open grass meadows. Ascend to west facing open fields and the Intermediate west launch from which you cannot see the LZ.
Site Protocol: The launches are on a ranch that tolerates paragliding and care must be taken with fences and private property owners that are adjacent. The LZ is in a public park, so be aware of other park users. Be cool; don't spook cows, be low key and fly safely.
During long hot dry spells we are often prohibited from paragliding due to fire risk. During the late summer it would be a good idea to contact pilots familiar with the site to ensure that flying is not prohibited.
Robert "CB" Schmaltz
Submitted by: Scratch & CB