The Ultimate Guide to Hood River Oregon: Best Activities and Attractions
Historic Hood River is a charming and scenic destination in Oregon.
No more than an hour drive from Portland, historic Hood River is a charming and scenic destination in Oregon that calls to travelers who just can’t get enough of the great outdoors. Named for the iconic river that runs through it, Hood River is a vacation destination that also offers up amazing opportunities to take in views of Mt. Hood up close or from a distance. Between the boutique shopping stops, delicious restaurants and its reputation for producing some truly mouth-watering fruit, Hood River has a way of balancing outdoor fun and entertainment.
Hood River activities and attractions are vast and diverse, which leaves visitors with plenty of places and stops to choose from when putting together an itinerary. Consider this the ultimate guide to Hood River and a wonderful place to start when you’re searching for the best activities and attractions for your next visit.
Windsurfing and Kiteboarding
An ideal combination of river currents and Columbia River Gorge wind channels makes Hood River one of the best destinations in the country for enjoying windsurfing or kiteboarding. Those with a knack for either of these water sports will likely already know what an amazing place it is as Hood River is home to the renowned Columbia River Gorge Windsurfing Association which sponsors the U.S. Windsurfing National Championships every year. While windsurfing and kiteboarding are exciting Hood River activities for professional athletes, the opportunities are just as vast for beginners. The Gorge Kiteboarding School is proud and happy to offer up lessons while Hood River Waterplay is a well-known stop for equipment rentals, instruction, lessons and beyond.
Enjoy the Mt. Hood Railroad
Of all the Hood River attractions to be added to the itinerary, a trip on the Mt. Hood Railroad is a must, particularly if you’re traveling through this area with family. The adventure begins in Hood River and promises to provide beautiful views of Mt. Hood as well as opportunities to wind through the many orchards that call Hood River home. However, guests are responsible for customizing their experience with options to choose from brunch train, exclusive sightseeing excursions, morning getaways or romantic evening meal rides. If you happen to be heading to Hood River in the winter season, the Mt. Hood Railroad puts together a seasonal and fun Christmas train experience that is well-loved by kids and adults alike.
Savor the Fruit Loop
A visit to Hood River wouldn’t be complete with a trip along and through the Fruit Loop. This iconic Hood River attraction is a beautiful stretch of country situated in the Hood River Valley that’s best traveled by vehicle. Along the route, visitors are greeted by a variety of stands, booths and small stores featuring the best of regional fruit, flowers, vegetables and more. The Fruit Loop also connects a number of vineyards and orchards making this a combination excursion where guests can stop by a u-pick and collect fresh fruit before heading over for a wine tasting that offers up the very best of Hood River flavor.
Hike the Columbia River Gorge
A visit to Hood River provides ample opportunity to get out and explore the countryside by car, but there’s something special about hiking this landscape that’s dotted with waterfalls, rivers, mountains, and forests. More experienced hikers will enjoy the maze of challenging and scenic routes that wind through this area including the Chinook Trail which is a massive 300-mile loop that can be customized and experienced according to hiking preference. Those looking for a beautiful and moderately challenging trek will enjoy a day spent pursuing Horsetail Falls while the Mosier Plateau Trail offers up 3.5 miles of ground saturated with wildflowers in the spring. Hiking the Columbia River Gorge is a different experience for everyone but an opportunity that definitely shouldn’t be missed.
Eat at Riverside Restaurant
Perhaps one of the most memorable Hood River activities you’ll enjoy during a stay are the food stops along the way! When you’re looking for a truly unforgettable meal that comes with a view too, be sure to book your spot for dinner at Riverside Restaurant at least once while you’re in town. Located at 1108 E. Marina Drive, Riverside Restaurant serves up savory plates packed with Italian fare while offering guests sweeping views of the Columbia River from the elegant dining room or spacious outdoor deck. This destination is known for its friendly service and welcoming ambiance as well as the vast selection of Oregon wines that grace the menu.
Finding Your Place in Hood River
Whether you’re one for wine tastings, love to linger in shops, can’t wait to hit the trails or have a passion for getting out on the river, a trip this direction is bound to inspire. The many Hood River activities and attractions available to visitors make this destination endearing, but it’s the culture of welcome that keeps travelers coming back for more. Enjoy every moment of your time in this Oregon city and don’t be surprised to find yourself returning time and again.
Caitlyn Knuth is a travel writer whose own adventures have inspired her to write about everything from the most delicious cafés in Paris, France to the breathtaking salmon runs in Juneau, Alaska. Working in association with Hood River Vacation Rentals, she enjoys writing and sharing about Hood River in the hope others will pack up and head out on Oregon-bound adventures of their very own.