MT. HOOD AND
Which cities are in our sub-region?
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.
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.
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.
- Drive the Hood River County Fruit Loop. This 35-mile scenic drive through the valley’s orchards, forests, farmlands and friendly communities is one of the area’s top attractions. Throughout the year, you’ll find fruit, wines, lavender, alpacas, farm stands, family activities and more.
- Tour the waterfalls. The geology of the Columbia River Gorge lends itself to some of the most spectacular waterfalls anywhere. Starting with the towering 620-foot Multnomah Falls, visitors can stop at waterfalls all along the Historic Columbia Gorge Highway, or choose to hike in for a closer look.
- Explore the great outdoors. With easy river access for watersports of all kinds, and trails ranging from easy to expert, Hood River County is a great place to explore new areas by foot, bike, kayak, kiteboard, horseback and more And, if you want to learn a new sport—from fly-fishing to windsurfing to mountain biking—Hood River’s friendly shops, guides and clubs make it easy to dive in while you’re here on vacation.
- Soak up art and culture. Hood River is home to many talented artists, actors, writers and musicians. Spend time at a local gallery or art museum. Catch a live concert—many of which are outdoors during the summer time. Enjoy a live theater production or writing workshop. Try your hand at glassblowing or painting—or simply support our local artists by attending open studio tours and craft shows.
- Take a culinary odyssey. Tour one of our many wineries and vineyards, or attend a wine maker’s dinner at a local restaurant. Take a brewery tour or stop at a local cider house. Visit one of many local coffee roasters or food carts. Enjoy a home-cooked breakfast at a local diner, or opt for a gourmet meal at one of many fine dining options in town. Numerous culinary surprises await in Hood River County.
- Make a splash. Hood River put itself on the world windsurfing map in the 1980s and continues to lure wind and water sports enthusiasts from all over the world. Local instructors know the weather and wind patterns and can provide a comfortable setting for you to launch into a new water sport. Take the family to Hood River Waterfront Park, where from the swimming beach you can watch windsurfers and kiteboarders crisscrossing the river.
- Shop. Hood River’s main street offers an eclectic mix of locally owned specialty stores where you can find jewelry, clothing, toys, books, locally made products, outdoor gear and more. Plus, gift certificates to local restaurants, galleries and stores are a great way to lure your loved ones back to Hood River County.
- Hit the snow. Whether you’re a cross-country skier, snowshoer, snowboarder or alpine skier, the snowsport season in Hood River County meets all your needs. Mt. Hood Meadows, just 40 minutes from downtown Hood River, is one Oregon’s biggest ski areas, offering some of the most spectacular skiing and snowboarding in the Northwest. And nearby family-friendly Cooper Spur mountain retreat and ski resort is surrounded by pine trees, beautiful meadows and pristine waters;
- Roy Webster Cross Channel Swim (Labor Day). At dawn on Labor Day each year, a large group of hearty souls jumps in the mighty Columbia River and swims the 1.1-mile stretch across to Hood River. Columbia River’s biggest and oldest official swim event and attracting hundreds of participants from around the world – it originated in 1942 when local orchardist Roy Webster challenged himself to swim across the river.
- Hood River Hops Fest (September). Awarded silver medal for best beer festival from the Willamette Week, Oregon Beer Awards, the Hood River Hops Fest is an annual celebration of beer’s bitter friend, freshly harvested hops. Hood River County is surrounded by world-renowned hop growing regions, and since 2003 brewers have gathered each September in downtown Hood River to share their fresh-hop beer creations. The family friendly event features a variety of food vendors, over 40 breweries with over 60 fresh hop beers, rocking live music, and an awesome collectable mug.
- Hood River Valley Harvest Fest (October). Celebrate Hood River’s harvest season at the Gorge’s biggest fall festival. This old-fashioned three-day festival brings together 125 vendors offers a cornucopia of seasonal produce & food, wine, cider and beer tastings, and local arts & crafts. There are also family-friendly activities and live music. It’s a great place to get a head start on holiday shopping. Visitors can browse an array of arts and crafts by regional artists, including glass, wood sculpture, ceramics, photography, jewelry, fiber art and much more.
- Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest (April). Entering its third year in 2016, the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest gives seasoned and novice cider drinkers alike the chance to sample cider from Hood River County’s very own cider makers, as well as a variety of additional Northwest cideries. More than 20 cideries will be participating, with more than 30 ciders on tap. The daylong event also features local food vendors, produce and arts vendors, a kid’s area and a line-up of local music, from bluegrass to classic rock – guaranteeing a great time for the whole family. It’s the kick-off event for Hood River Blossom Time.
- Hood River Blossom Time (April). Hood River County marks the arrival of spring with its annual Blossom Time, a month-long celebration with special events across the Hood River Valley. The celebration’s main stars – the beautiful pink and white fruit tree blossoms – line the Hood River Fruit Loop. This gorgeous 35-mile tour route is the centerpiece of Blossom Fest, with more than 20 farm stands and wineries along the Loop getting in on the fun with special events and offers.
WINTER 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.
- Get your turns. In less than an hour you can be hopping on a chairlift at Hood Meadows or Cooper Spur Mountain Resort. Mt. Hood Meadows has 2,777 vertical feet of terrain for skiers and boarders of all levels, as well as groomed Nordic trails, while family-friendly Cooper Spur Resort offers tubing and beginner-friendly lift-accessed slopes. Additional nearby sledding options include Little John Sno Park and White River Sno Park.
- Explore downtown Hood River. Historic downtown Hood River is rich in unique boutiques like Melika and Silverado Jewelry Gallery to a classic independent bookstore, Waucoma Bookstore, to the kid-heaven that is Williker’s Toy Shoppe. Linger over a cappuccino at Doppio Coffee or Ground Coffee, check out local art at numerous galleries and shops, and check out live music at Naked Winery.
- Explore some of the area’s culturally diverse local museums:
- Kids and grown-ups alike will love the fantastic Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum(WAAAM) – one of the largest collections of still-flying antique airplanes and still-driving antique automobiles in the country.
- For a look into Hood River’s interesting backstory, stop by the Hood River County History Museum.
- The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum in nearby The Dalles tells the story of the Gorge’s natural and cultural history through vivid, interactive displays.
- Check out the Columbia Center for the Arts to see the latest local art installation, play, lecture or film.
- Spin your wheels. With numerous coffee shops, breakfast spots and take-and-go lunch offerings, Hood River is an excellent basecamp for avid cyclists any time of year. During the winter months, it’s the ideal launching point for some of the drier, sunnier routes in the eastern Gorge, such as Mosier Twin Tunnels Trail and Lower Deschutes River Trail. Find more local bike ride recommendations at com.
- Plan a personal retreat or a getaway with friends. Hood River has all you need for a rejuvenating reprieve. Take a yoga class, eat healthy meals, go for a soulful waterfall hike, shop at specialty boutiques, take in a museum or a play, or get a facial or massage.
- Bring the whole family. Take a walk along the Hood River waterfront trail, stop and play at Waterfront Park, then warm up at one of many nearby restaurants. Catch a movie, swim in the town’s indoor heated pool, or take a ski or boarding lesson at Hood Meadows.
SPRING IN HOOD RIVER
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:
- 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.
- Attend the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest. Sample 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.
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
SUMMER IN HOOD RIVER
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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
FALL IN HOOD RIVER
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.
- 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 hoodriverfruitloop.com 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 columbiagorgewine.com/thanksgiving. 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.