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Your guide to Hood River
All About Hood River
Just an hour east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge is the small port city that shares a name with its nearby body of water: Hood River, one of the top wind-sport destinations in the world. The combination of dry and warm desert air from eastern Oregon with wet weather from the Pacific Ocean creates a wind-tunnel effect that’s perfect for windsurfing and kite surfing. Hood River is also strategically located for skiing on nearby Mount Hood, while the area offers scenic hikes, challenging mountain-biking trails, picturesque golfing, and thrilling whitewater rafting.
Hood River hosts a thriving food and drink scene, too, with apples, pears, and cherries up for tasting at dozens of local orchards. In the summer and fall, these orchards attract numerous visitors who grab bags and baskets of fresh produce, along with baked goods and ciders made at local farms.
Several of Oregon’s most popular craft breweries, cideries, and wineries are located in Hood River, some of which have incredible dining options alongside opportunities to taste their award-winning creations.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Hood River?
Spring, summer, and fall in Hood River are best for wind sports, visiting farm stands, dining on outdoor patios, and hiking in the warm outdoors. Fall temperatures drop somewhat, but not enough to chase visitors indoors. You can enjoy local cider tasting, leaf peeping, and fall events like the Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum’s Fly-In in September, featuring hundreds of vintage planes on display on the museum grounds. In October, the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest is held along the river, with vendors offering local produce, jams, wines and ciders, and locally made arts and crafts. Winter tends to be cold and dry, and is the perfect time for skiing at one of the three resorts on nearby Mount Hood.
What are the top things to do in Hood River?
Hood River Fruit Loop
This scenic 35-mile drive through farmland and forests takes in nearly three dozen member stands offering wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, and other goodies. There’s a handy downloadable map for a self-guided tour, and what’s available varies by the harvest month. Blueberries are freshest during late summer and pears during the fall, but you can buy treats like huckleberry milkshakes and pumpkin pies on a daily basis throughout harvest time.
Drive south for 30 minutes to reach the network of mountain hiking and biking trails in the Post Canyon area, which intersect over tree-lined dirt paths that can become muddy after a bit of rainfall. Hop on your bike and navigate through the wooded area, choosing easier or more strenuous trails. With an elevation peak of 3,400 feet, the views from the top are guaranteed to be breathtaking.
Mount Hood Railroad
The century-old Mount Hood Railroad starts right in downtown Hood River. This shortline heritage railroad offers round-trip excursions through northern Oregon, with views of snow-capped Mount Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. In winter, the Mt. Hood Christmas Train is adorned in twinkling lights and displays for the jolly season. The winter ride is best enjoyed after dark, when views of vineyards and orchards are traded in for Christmas trees, light shows, and maybe even Santa Claus himself with his reindeer crew.