Viento State Park, between Cascade Locks and Hood River, is a humble park with a long history. In the early 19th century, well before the system of locks and dams were built, the Columbia River was part of a perilous final section of the Oregon Trail. Emigrants would load their wagons and float to the west from Rowena to Fort Vancouver, risking everything on a wild and sometimes impassible river. Portages were common, and over time the most common portage routes became the first railroad routes. The earliest tracks were laid on the Washington side of the river in 1851 and on the Oregon side in 1857. The tracks started small, but over time their viability grew into a major railroad corridor. Viento was the name of an early railroad station on this line. The word is Spanish for "wind," but in this case the station was named for a partnership between Henry Villard of the Northern Pacific Railroad, a Boston banker William Endicott, and contractor named Tolman (Vi-En-To). The current campground is now on the site of what was once the Viento railroad station.
Unfortunately for the campground, the railroad is just as busy today as it was 100 years ago. Combine this with the constant flow of vehicles on I-84, and the noise makes this campground less than ideal for those looking for outdoor serenity. The campground’s location is very convenient, however, and the day use area along the Columbia’s banks is perfect for an afternoon in the sun.