The gorge is definitely nice, the worst part is probably all of the traffic. A couple of good non-gorge rides in the area:
- WA SR503 to N.F. 90
One of my favorites, great roads, great scenery, and relatively light traffic. Was up there a couple of weeks ago, some interesting riding. Snowbanks must've been 13+ feet high in areas, nobody around.
- 224 / Clackamas River Road
Beautiful scenery, light traffic, and there are a lot of forest roads you can continue on from the end of it. A little too forest-ish for me with animals and all, though.
Many more, too. Drop me a pm if you want some pointers.