The allure of this charming, lush town on the banks of the weaving Columbia River Gorge is hard to deny. Hood River, a thirty minute scenic drive away from the heart of Portland, is an easy “yes” in our books. On windy days, kite boarders catch gusts sweeping through the canyon, sending airborne tricks to playfully dance atop the river. Trains frequent the riverside to transfer large loads east and west of the port towns bordering the Pacific Ocean. Just beyond the gorge is magnificent Mt. Hood and the perfect climate for enough fruits and vegetables to fill your baskets throughout the summer. This small town is rich with adventure, locally grown food and deep heritage. As soon as the sky opens up in the spring, the warmth of Hood River comes in waves of all kinds.
Hood River may be tiny, but the town’s flavor is mighty. Sit down, and enjoy different views and tastes all over town.
Down by the river you’ll find breweries and eateries to quench your thirst and tickle your taste buds. Pfriem, an award-winning brewery, offers a rotation of creative beers throughout the seasons that feature local fruits and flavors. The delicious food rivals the brews, and river views tie everything together in a nice bow. Don’t skip this stop when you visit!
Brunch so hard at Broder Øst. After a big mountain bike ride on a Saturday morning, our energy was low so we stopped to refuel. Luckily, we missed the brunch crowd and sat down immediately for a tasty breakfast. Order family style to sample the plethora of Scandinavian breakfast staples on the menu.
If you’re into cozy, coffee vibes, be sure to stop by Pine Street Bakery. This charming, locally owned bakery tempts your senses with fresh bread smells and plenty of smiles.
No matter where you decide to lay your head down at night, the stars above Hood River are bright.
If you’re craving lakeside vibes, travel 30 minutes south towards Mt. Hood to pitch a tent or park an RV at Lost Lake Resort. This quaint lodge deep in Mt. Hood National Forest offers rooms at the lodge, cabin rentals or campsites. If you’re looking to spend the day enjoying the lake, be sure to pack your hiking shoes or rent a canoe to float the day away.
Dreaming of a unique architectural experience in an old school house with a hot soaking pool and a spa? If so, check out The Society Hotel in Bingen, just across the river in Washington. There’s a variety of lodging options, including a shared dorm for a cost-conscious stay. Hoop it up in the gymnasium and enjoy a coffee or cocktail at their lobby bar. You might lose track of time and make some new friends while you explore the campus.
In the heart of downtown, Historic Hood River Hotel is within walking distance to shops, restaurants, adventure rentals and breweries. Elegant, historic and chic, this hotel is a great destination for sweethearts or friends reuniting from near and far. Plus, drop in for brunch at Broder Ost by simply rolling out of bed.
Start a checklist because Hood River’s activities had us wanting to stay for more than a quick weekend getaway!
Are you ready to pedal? Mountain biking in Hood River delivers. We woke up early every morning to beat the crowds and breathe the dense forest air. The Hood River Area Trail Stewards “HRATS” work hard to build and maintain the trails for local and visiting riders. We enjoyed two half-days exploring Post Canyon; 44 Trails is another incredible local trail system.
Have you ever picked your own cherries? Bring a basket and fill up with local fruits during spring, summer and fall. The Hood River Fruit Loop calendar is up to date with details and timing throughout the year. Insider tip – stop at Parker Orchards to load up on u-pick fruit on your way into town so you have ripe fruit to munch on throughout your weekend.
Kiteboarding is culture in Hood River. Are you interested in trying a new extreme sport? Book a lesson at Cascade Kiteboarding School to be humbled and overjoyed at the same time. If you’d rather sit back and simply admire the finesse and strength of the dedicated sportsters with beer in hand, stop by Pfriem for some to-go beers, and bring a blanket to the Hood River Waterfront Park.
As you plan your getaway to Hood River, brush up on the history of the Columbia River. Did you know that between 18,000–15,000 years ago, 550 cubic miles of glacial water broke through an ice dam holding back Lake Missoula to create the 80-mile long and 4,000-foot Columbia River Gorge? Did you know Lewis and Clark pioneered the discovery of the Columbia River calling it the “River of the West” during the final segment of their 4,000 mile journey in 1805? The 33-member troop was astonished by the majesty of various waterfalls cascading off the gorge ledges just before they reached the Pacific Ocean and completed their journey.
Plan your adventures and leave no trace using the US Forest Service as a great resource. Hood River is a spectacle to the eye and to the heart. With such a wide variety of activities, small town charm and windy, lush landscape, be sure to drop in for a few days or more.