Hood River seemed to have everything. The little hamlet is on the Columbia River, with Mt. Hood towering behind it and miles of forest around it. Dry desert air from Eastern Oregon meets cold coastal air from the Oregon Coast, resulting in great circumstances for windsurfing, cultivating varietal wine grapes, and experiencing four wonderful seasons where is hood river Oregon located.
The ideal best time to visit the Columbia River gorge is late April through June, followed by September and October. The Gorge’s wildflowers and orchards are at their height in April, while September and October bring magnificent fall colors, pleasant weather, and fewer crowds.
Wind sports, waterfalls, alpine adventures, and world-class wineries and breweries all come together in the Columbia River Gorge, and hood river attractions, Oregon lies right in the heart of the action.
We have provided a list of Things to Do in Hood River from which you can learn more about the town and the surrounding area.
Table of Contents
Where Is Hood River Oregon Located?
Hood River is located in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge at the junction of the Hood and Columbia rivers. Mount Hood, the state’s highest mountain, lies about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of the city.
It is located on the other side of the Columbia River from White Salmon, Washington. The Hood River Valley, located south of the city, is well-known for its apple, pear, and cherry production.
The city has a total area of 3.35 square miles (8.68 km2), of which 2.55 square miles (6.60 km2) is land and 0.80 square miles (2.07 km2) is water, according to the United States Census Bureau.
Things to Do In Hood River:
- Columbia river gorge tours and day trips
- Drive the fruit loop through the hood river valley
- Explore the downtown hood river
- Take a Kitesurfing Lesson
- Go golfing in hood river
- Go mountain biking in hood river
- Hang out at the hood river waterfront
- Ride the mount hood railroad
- Take a hike near hood river
- Visit one of the museums in hood river
- Visit the hood river wineries and breweries
1. Columbia River Gorge Tours and Day Trips
The Columbia River Gorge is full of magnificent treasures, including river views from high cliffs, waterfalls and wildflowers, snowcapped mountain peaks, lush woods, and agriculture.
A beautiful drive is an excellent way to take in this entire splendor. Take Interstate 84 on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, or State Highway 14 on the Washington side, out of Hood River; you’ll be surrounded by scenery on all sides.
2. Drive the Fruit Loop Through the Hood River Valley
Throughout the growing season, the farms, vineyards, and orchards of the lush Hood River County valley provide breathtaking views, seasonal fruit picking, and specialized food shopping stops. The spring blossom on the orchard trees draws many people, and fresh food booths and farmers’ markets keep them coming until harvest time.
Fruit trees fill the orchards with baby pink and white blossoms in the spring, purple lavender fields are in full bloom from late June to July, and grapes are bursting from the vine at vineyards like Hood Crest Winery and Stave & Stone Wine Estates during the fall harvest. Driving the Hood River Fruit Loop is best done in the summer or fall, while many spots are open year-round.
3. Explore Downtown Hood River
Downtown Hood River is a swarm of activity, from the Saturday farmers’ market to the busy storefronts to the line out the door at local favorite Mike’s Ice Cream.
The majority of the attractions are concentrated along Oak Street, a seven-block stretch of historic buildings that houses art galleries, handicrafts from local craftsmen, retail boutiques, and outdoor gear appropriate for a Gorge adventure. Twiggs and Hood River Stationers provide great home décor and presents, The Ruddy Duck and Parts + Labor have great apparel, and Doug’s Hood River and Short Supply have great gear.
Hood River also has some of the top cafés, restaurants, and pubs, such as the Evoke Winery and Stave & Stone wine tasting rooms, the 64 oz Tap house, and Oak Street Pub for beer lovers, and Whiskey Tango, Hood River’s lone nightlife location. Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen on State Street, just across the corner, offers a great outdoor patio and features live music nights.
4. Take a Kitesurfing Lesson
Kitesurfing and windsurfing are two of the most popular outdoor activities in Hood River, with great wind conditions attracting visitors from across the world. It’s not a simple sport to learn, so you’ll need to take some lessons. Cascade Kiteboarding and Gorge Kiteboarding are only two of the many alternatives available.
Kiteboarding is a challenging sport to learn, so don’t give up if you struggle during your first few classes. If kiteboarding or windsurfing is your favorite sport, you’ll undoubtedly return to Hood River in the future!
5. Go Golfing In Hood River
Hit the fairways at one of Hood River’s golf courses, where the greens provide spectacular vistas of Mount Hood. There are two 18-hole courses in town: Indian Creek Golf Course and the Hood River Golf & Country Club.
For those who wish to enjoy some wine tasting after a round of golf, Phelps Creek Vineyards is conveniently located next to the clubhouse at the Hood River club.
6. Go Mountain Biking In Hood River
The ultimate grail of mountain biking in Hood River is Post Canyon, a roughly 40-mile network of trails with up to 3,400 feet of vertical fall from the Seven Streams staging area to the berm-filled portion of Borderline. Riders of all skill levels and types can explore courses ranging from labyrinthine cross-country trails (Spaghetti Factory) to steep downhill sections from spring to fall (Dirt Surfer).
The greatest network of single-track in the region, 44 Trails, is sixteen miles south of Hood River, and just across the river in Washington is the wide-open, boulder-strewn Syncline Trail system and the wildflower-abundant Nestor Peak ride (a 12-mile out-and-back).
Hood River Mountain Bike Adventures offers trips (starting at $100) led by guides who know the terrain inside and out, and a tune-up at Dirty Finger Bikes downtown is a wonderful excuse for breakfast burrito breaks at neighboring Kickstand Coffee.
7. Hang Out At the Hood River Waterfront
Spending time at the Columbia River is essential to every Hood River visit, whether it’s with the kids at Waterfront Park, strolling along the boardwalk, or watching the kiteboarder.
The event location becomes crowded during the warmer summer months, with multicolored kites stretched across the beach as windsurfers and foil borders prepare to launch. Enroll in a class with a local company like Big Winds, Cascade Kiteboarding, or Gorge Kite to give it a try.
SUP and kayaking are other popular activities in Hood River, and equipment may be hired at a variety of sites, including the waterfront at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn on the town’s east end.
8. Ride the Mount Hood Railroad
From spring to fall, the Mount Hood Railroad provides a picturesque four-hour ride from Hood River to Park dale and back. The route winds through rolling hills of woods and orchards and an optional picnic lunch is offered in Park dale.
There are also themed excursions offered, such as the Western Train Robbery and the seasonal Train to Christmas Town. There are three tiers of service available: ordinary, first-class, and Diamond, which includes sitting in the upper portion of a Sky Dome vehicle.
9. Take a Hike Near Hood River
Hood River is close to numerous breathtaking gorge walks. Catherine Creek, a two-mile circle, is an easy alternative across the river and great for spring wildflower viewing, while the 12.2-mile round-trip Mount Defiance and 2.6-mile Mitchell Point routes are both heart-pounding straight shots up to magnificent cliff panoramas.
Driving westward back toward Portland provides you access to the legendary waterfall corridor, from the much-photographed Multnomah Falls to Oneonta’s narrow, one-mile basalt wade, all of which have trailheads right off the highway.
10. Visit the Carousel Museum
The carousel museum is now closed, but it is planned to relocate and reopen in the near future, so check with the Hood River Chamber of Commerce before planning a visit. The International Museum of Carousel Art is devoted to the preservation, restoration, and exhibition of antique carousels, and it houses approximately 125 carved animals from all over the world.
The collection also includes carousel paintings, chariots, a functional 1917 Wurlitzer Band Organ, and an ancient steam engine.
11. Visit the Hood River Wineries and Breweries
Arid characteristics combined with favorable, sunny weather offer ideal growing circumstances for grapes such as the Pinot Noirs, for which this region is famed, making Hood River a premier wine destination. Nearly a dozen wineries are located near Hood River, with many more located across the river in Washington and across the Gorge.
Stave & Stone: With a large tasting room, breathtaking views of Mt Hood and Mt Adams, and a peaceful outside area with lawn sports, Stave & Stone is a popular neighborhood hangout, especially in the summer. And, as if you needed another reason to go, there’s a lavender farm right next door.
Marchesi Vineyards: The Italian-inspired tasting room is surrounded by vineyards and serves fresh-baked focaccia bread and olive oil. Drink their flavorful Sangiovese or Primitivo, which combine perfectly with Marchesi’s charcuterie dishes and are best-enjoyed al fresco.
Hood Crest Winery: In addition to superb, award-winning wine, Hood Crest serves wood-fired pizzas and has an on-site distillery producing cherry vodka and Sangiovese brandy. Visit during one of their live music nights, which take place every weekend.
Where to Eat In Hood River Oregon?
Kickstand Coffee is an excellent choice. The vibrant restaurant delivers fresh Pacific Northwest fare with a global flair, inspired by the proprietors’ adventures as professional mountain bikers. Kickstand features a beautiful terrace for breakfast, lunch, and supper. Everything from classic meals to rotating themed menus with a unique touch is available.
Broder st is a lovely Scandinavian breakfast establishment within the Hood River Hotel. Baked egg skillets, Swedish hash, Danish pancakes, lefse (Norwegian potato crepes), breakfast drinks, and more are available.
Solstice Pizza is known for its superb wood-fired pizzas (including gluten-free and vegan alternatives), terrific salads and sides, a fantastic tap selection, and unique drinks. The waterfront café and bar is a popular hangout on the Columbia River. If you’re in The Heights, stop by the Solstice Pizza Truck for a slice of pizza and a soft-serve ice cream cone.
El Cuate Taqueria, according to residents, has the greatest Mexican food in town. The family-run food truck is well-known for its delicious tacos, tortas, and hamburgers. The small red food truck may be seen in the parking lot of Hood River News.
Where To Stay In Hood River Oregon?
Hood River is a tiny town that is easy to navigate. Because the Columbia River is a major attraction here, the best hotels have river views. Prices fluctuate greatly by season, with rates skyrocketing during the summer.
The Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel provides enormous, nicely designed suites with fireplaces, huge bathrooms, balconies, and spectacular views of the Columbia River. This pine-forested home is located on a cliff in Hood River’s western outskirts.
Check out the adjacent Columbia Gorge Hotel and Spa for romance and old-world charm. This historic hotel, established in the early 1920s, has beautifully landscaped grounds with a waterfall and stunning views of the river, as well as individually painted rooms.
Hotels in the Mid-Range:
The Best Western Plus Hood River Inn, located on the waterfront downtown, is the best mid-range hotel in Hood River. The views of the river from the suites, the dining area (indoor and outdoor), and the heated outdoor pool and hot tub are spectacular.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Hood River is a modern facility with big suites that are within walking distance of downtown. Some rooms have views of the river.
Hotels on a Budget:
The Westcliff Lodge, located west of town and overlooking the Columbia River, is a popular budget hotel with big, comfortable rooms and suites with stunning views.
When Does It Snow In Hood River Oregon?
From November 9 to March 14, the snowy season lasts 4.2 months, with a typical 31-day snowfall of at least 1.0 inches. Hood River gets the most snow in January, with an average snowfall of 10.0 inches. The snowless season lasts 7.8 months, from March 14 to November 9.
Closest City To Hood River Oregon
This is a list of major cities in the area of Hood River, OR. A large city typically has a population of at least 200,000 people, and you can frequently fly into a major airport.
- 57 miles to Portland, OR
- 137 miles to Seattle, WA
- 208 miles to Victoria, Canada
- 243 miles to Surrey, Canada
- 254 miles to Burnaby, Canada
- 259 miles to Vancouver, Canada
- 295 miles to Boise, ID
- 435 miles to Reno, NV
- 492 miles to Sacramento, CA
- 515 miles to Calgary, Canada
Things to Do In Hood River – FAQs
Hood River is an excellent location for day adventures in the Columbia River Gorge, one of Oregon’s seven natural wonders, such as wine tours, e-biking, and rafting down the White Salmon River. Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, which are home to some of the top treks around Hood River, have a lot to offer.