Hood River

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Hood River

Home to both Oregon’s highest mountain and mightiest river, Hood River is the Gorge’s basecamp for outdoor adventures, from hiking, mountain biking and skiing to windsurfing, kite boarding and rafting. With a population of about 7,400 people, Hood River has maintained its small-town charm with the restoration of many historic buildings, the preservation of locally owned businesses and an eclectic mix of restaurants, bakeries, breweries, delis, shops and galleries. While you’re here, be sure to check out the Hood River Waterfront, historic downtown, and The Heights neighborhood.

Cascade Locks

Located about 40 miles from Portland and about 20 miles from downtown Hood River, Cascade Locks is a small, inviting town known for its lush trails, excellent winds and beautiful Marine Park. Stop by Cascade Locks during a world-class sailing regatta. Sign up for the Bridge of the Gods 10K or Half-Marathon. Take a trip on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler to learn a bit of history. Or take a hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, whose trailhead is right in town.


Mt. Hood provides a dramatic backdrop for the residents of Parkdale, an agricultural community located about 16 miles south of Hood River. History buffs will enjoy the Hutson Museum, a historical Hood River valley landmark resting on a two-acre National Historic Site. The small town is also home to outstanding restaurants, including Apple Valley BBQ.


Located in the heart of the Hood River County Fruit Loop, Odell is the home to the valley’s biggest fruit packing houses. Odell is also home to the Hood River County Fairgrounds, which hosts the County Fair in July and the Gorge Fruit & Crafts Festival in September.

Mt. Hood

The unincorporated town of Mt. Hood is home to the historic Mt. Hood Town Hall, which offers classes in yoga, ceramics, and tai chi, and can be rented for weddings and other special events. Here you will also find the historic Parkdale Ranger Station (built in 1939).


Built in 1906, the town of Dee is the gateway to Lost Lake. The agricultural town has long been tied to the fruit-growing industry of the Hood River valley, and is abundant in fruit trees and berry farms that lie between the middle and west forks of the Hood River in an area known as Dee Flat.

What are the major destinations in Hood River?  


With gorgeous scenery, handcrafted beers and ciders, unique boutiques, outstanding restaurants, and accommodations, Hood River is a soulful retreat that lets you recharge and reconnect with family and friends. Whether planning a personal retreat, a girls’ getaway or a family vacation, Hood River is a great place to unwind. From bookstores to galleries to museums, it offers an eclectic mix of indoor as well as outdoor wintertime activities.


Hood River’s Top 5 Springtime Activities

With sunny skies, blossoms galore and thundering waterfalls, Hood River is the epitome of spring. Here are the top five ways to experience Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge this spring:

  1.  Celebrate Blossom Time. During the month of April, the area celebrates spring during Hood River Valley Blossom Time (April 1-30), featuring family-friendly farm events, craft shows and beer, cider and wine tasting. Drive the Hood River County Fruit Loop, a gorgeous 35-mile drive that follows the county’s Scenic Tour Route and passes the valley’s plethora of orchards, wineries and farms. Blossom-seekers can drive the Fruit Loop in its entirety or in short hops from Hood River. Stop along the way to pick up baked goods, preserves, yarn, fresh produce, wine, cider and more.
  1.  Attend the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider FestSample ciders from Hood River County and other Northwest cideries at this day-long festival set among the blossoming fruit trees of the Hood River Valley. The festival features more than 20 cideries with more than 40 ciders on tap, local food vendors, a kid’s area and local music.
  1.  Travel the Historic Columbia River Highway. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of this Oregon icon. Visitors to Hood River can walk and bike the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway State Trail from the Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead to Mosier. This 5-mile trail section, which is closed to vehicles, features amazing views of the Gorge and two tunnels. This is a great family adventure!
  1.  Take a wildflower hike. Don’t miss the balsamroot and other wildflowers in bloom March through May along the Mosier Plateau Trail. The trail begins in the town of Mosier, follows Mosier Creek through the Pocket Park (community park), and ends on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. Search for more wildflower hikes here.
  1.  Hunt for waterfalls. Spring run-off from Mt. Hood means thundering waterfalls in the the Columbia River Gorge, which has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America. Beautiful Tamanawas Falls is just 20 minutes from downtown Hood River. A 3.5-mile loop will take you to a 125-foot falls that you can walk behind and into a large dry cave. Find resources to lead you to more Gorge waterfall hikes here.


Hood River’s Top 5 Summer Activities

With long, sunny days and access to two mountains, the mighty Columbia River and numerous trails and parks, Hood River offers endless vacation opportunities. Don’t miss these top five activities for experiencing the area like a local!

  1. Go with the wind. The Columbia River’s consistent summer winds attract windsurfers, kiteboarders, stand-up paddle boarders (SUP) and other wind junkies to Hood River every summer. Give one of these wind sports a try by taking a lesson with Big Winds, Gorge Surf Shop, or Hood River WaterPlay. Or, just sit by the shore and enjoy watching boarders crisscross the Columbia.
  2. Get loopy. Drive the Hood River County Fruit Loop, a scenic 35-mile drive that follows the county’s Scenic Tour Route and passes through countless orchards and farms. Pick strawberries (June) or flowers at one of the numerous u-pick farms.  Go wine or cider tasting, stock up on fruit jam and pet alpacas.
  3. Hit the water. The swimming beach at Hood River Waterfront Park offers easy access to an adjacent modern playground. Another option, the Hood River Marina Beach, offers a long, safe stretch of shallow water for playing. Or, take a side trip to Cascade Locks’ newly improved swimming beach, kiteboarding and windsurfing launch.  Alternatively, fish, raft, kayak or stand-up paddle on the regions numerous world-class rivers.
  4. Hike or bike on Mt. Hood. Drive south on OR Hwy 35 to access numerous trailheads on the northern and eastern sides of Mt. Hood. The Hood River Meadows Trailhead, which is about 35 miles south of Hood River, is the start of an easy 4.6-mile round-trip hike to Umbrella Falls. For mountain biking, check out the Knebal Springs/Eightmile Trails figure-eight loop (about 15 miles).  For trail maps plus other cycling supplies, stop at Discover Bicycles or Mountain View Cycles in downtown Hood River.
  5. Join the festivities. Hood River is home to numerous summer races and festivals, including the Hood 2 River Relay, 4th of July parade and fireworks display, Roy Webster Cross-Channel Swim and dozens more.  On Wednesday nights, saunter downtown for live music in many of the local bars, hotels and wineries


Hood River’s Top 10 Fall Activities

With beautiful autumn colors, u-pick orchards, unique festivals and seasonal beers, wines and ciders, Hood River offers a cornucopia of activities. 

  1. Go apple and pear picking and tasting. Drive the Hood River County Fruit Loop and stop at orchards, farms, cideries, wineries, farm stands and restaurants along the way. Go to to find out what’s in season when, along with a full calendar of farm events and a searchable map. You can pick up a Fruit Loop map at the Hood River County Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center (720 E Port Marina Drive, Hood River, OR 97031). 
  2. Explore Hood River’s cider scene. The Columbia River Gorge is renowned for the quality and variety of apples and pears grown by local orchardists. With over 400 orchards producing dozens of varieties right in our backyard, Gorge cidermakers are crafting some of the best hard cider in the Pacific Northwest.  Explore the 11 cideries via the Gorge Cider Route.
  3. Enjoy 60+ brews at Hood River Hops Fest. A Silver Medalist in Willamette Week’s 2015 Oregon Beer Awards, Hood River Hops Fest features one of the nation’s largest fresh-hop beer selections in one place. Beer lovers can taste more than 60 fresh-hop beers from more than 36 breweries. Enjoy seasonal food and live music throughout the day.  Or sample the region’s best brews along the Gorge Ale Trail anytime.
  4. Indulge yourself at Hood River Valley Harvest Fest. Celebrate the harvest season at this annual festival staged at Hood River’s beautiful waterfront. Take in views of the Columbia River, Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams while enjoying live music and family-friendly activities. With 125 vendors offering seasonal produce, homemade jams, jellies and other food, and fine art and crafts, plan to start your holiday shopping at Harvest Fest. Plus, feast on award-winning pies and sip a wide variety of local wine, cider and beer.
  5. Take in the fall colors. Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge provide some of the most spectacular fall scenery in the Pacific Northwest. Head to the Tamanawas Falls trailhead (22 miles south of Hood River on OR Hwy 35). During this 3.6-mile round-trip hike, get close to this jaw-dropping waterfall while soaking up spectacular fall colors, thanks to cottonwood, vine maple and western larch that light up the forest in red and gold.
  6. Start your holiday shopping at the Gorge Fruit & Craft Show. This long-running festival features arts and crafts, gourmet food products, fresh local fruit, baked goods, wine, jewelry, furniture, plants and much more — all grown or crafted in the Gorge. Hosted at the Hood River County Fairground, the show offers free admission and parking.
  7. Cruise the Columbia on a Sternwheeler. Get a feel for the mighty Columbia aboard an authentic sternwheeler! Leaving from Cascade Locks, take a scenic two-hour cruise on the Columbia Gorge while learning about the natural history, landmarks and cultural history of the Gorge. The sights include The Bridge of the Gods, Bonneville Dam, Native American fishing platforms and Wind Mountain — plus windsurfers, sailboats and kiteboarders. The Columbia Gorge operates April–October.
  8. Take a scenic ride on the Mount Hood Railroad. The Mount Hood Railroad was built in 1905 to extend freight service 21 miles south to orchard-rich Parkdale. Today, the railroad provides a way for people to step back in time and enjoy the Hood River Valley the way some of the early tourists did. With picture-perfect Mt. Hood looming in the background and the fall colors lighting up the Hood River Valley, this photogenic excursion is fun for the entire family. It offers excursions through woods and fruit orchards to the small town of Odell, and has the popular Polar Express Train Ride during the winter holidays.
  9. Run or walk a marathon or half marathon. Known as one of the most scenic marathons in the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon is an out-and-back that includes breathtaking views of the Columbia River from the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway. Be sure to take a photo at Rowena Crest, the panoramic viewpoint that serves as the turn-around. Well-behaved and leashed dogs are welcome on the course, which ends on the banks of the Columbia River.
  10. Spend Thanksgiving Weekend Wine Tasting in Hood River. Columbia Gorge Winegrowers’ Thanksgiving Weekend features 30 Gorge wineries hosting open house events. Enjoy new releases, deep discounts and delicious food-and-wine pairings. In an effort to give back to the community, some wineries donate tasting fees from the weekend to their favorite charity. For a list of participating wineries, maps and hours, visit Plus, Oregon wines fly free on Alaskan Airlines. 

Don’t forget to visit the Hood River Chamber of Commerce for more information about the region’s attractions and lodging before your  vacation or road trip to Hood River, OR.