15 Best Things to Do in Hood River

15 Best Things to Do in Hood River

Hood River is mainly known among the tourists as being the doorway to the mesmerising Columbia River Gorge. However, Hood River has an endless list of  exotic locations offering beautiful scenery and breath taking views.

Away from the city, the lush countryside is only a mere drive or train journey away. With so much choice, we have compiled a list of the top 15 things to do in Hood River to help you plan your getaway.

See the majestic Columbia River Gorge

Sunrise at Columbia River Gorge
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The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most famous sights in the States. And, when you are in Hood River, you need to make a day trip to this gorgeous location.

The canyon is almost 4000 feet and offers tourists the most spectacular views of the Columbia River. The Cascade Range acts as the most amazing backdrop, making this sight one of the best places for pictures.  

The river connects the Columbia Plateau to the Pacific Ocean. You can take part in a lot of adventure activities here such as hiking, mountain biking and even rock climbing. For those who prefer water based activities, the site has something for everyone as it also offers canoeing.

Take a long drive through Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway

Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway
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It is really difficult to understand the true essence of Hood River. Many who visit have to come back in order to truly see everything the area has to offer.

A simple and affordable activity is to take a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway.

With the road itself being considered a historic landmark, this destination is very popular amongst those who love to take a long calming drive. Surrounded by vegetation and exquisite scenery, this is the perfect option for a tranquil day out.

Snap a few pictures at Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls
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The first stop that we are going to make along the gorgeous highway has to be the pretty Multnomah Falls. This fall has to be one of the most picturesque locations in this area. It is not very often that you come across such an amazing waterfall.

With a height of around 620 feet, this waterfall is a must see. Lush green forests surround the area, offering tourists with pictersque views.

See the beautiful views from Vista House

Vista House
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The next stop, while you are driving along the highway, has to be the Vista House viewpoints. There are a lot of amazing viewpoints on this highway, but Vista Point has to be one of the best.

When you look from the Vista House- you are going to see both the alluring gorge and the breathtaking scenery of the area. The views are mind-blowing, no matter what the weather, this is a sight to behold.

Pick some fruits

Road among apple orchard in Hood River
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Many locals stop by the beautiful orchards and pick wild berries whilst on a drive in this area. Fruit Loop situated on this highway has some of the most impressive orchards that stretch for almost 35 miles.

With a wide variety of berries and fruits, visitors can choose to go apple picking, or opt for the berries and apricots. Juicy and ripe tomatoes can also be found here. Nearby shops also sell jams that are made from these fruits which tourists can buy and take back with them.

Enjoy some wines at Mt. Hood Winery

Mt. Hood Winery
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A trip isn't complete without the invitation to to taste some delicious wines. Hood River Valley has a hidden gem, the Mt. Hood Winery is a scenic beauty within itself.

The winery has a rich family history, having been here for the past 5 generations and the Bickford family owning the area for over a century now, Mt Hood winery truly has been a family treasure.

The recipe of the wine has also been passed down through the family. With an award winning wine list, visitors are truly in for a treat when they visit this place

Enjoy the local activities

 Windsurfing in Hood River
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When you are here in Hood River, there are certain activities you must partake in. Windsurfing and Kiteboarding are two of the most popular activities amongst locals.

Offering some of the best winds, Columbia River Gorge offers adventurous activities all year round. The activities are tailored to all, both beginners and those with experience, however  for those who prefer to relax, the area offers the perfect place to sit back and enjoy the beautiful views.

Breathe in the beauty of Mount Hood

Mount Hood
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Before we tell you all about Mount Hood’s enchanting beauty, we should first start off by telling you that it is a stratovolcano that is potentially active!

Yes, Mount Hood is one of the magnificent beauties that Hood River has to offer you on this trip. Lying on the line that separates Clackamas from Hood River, the mountain truly is a sight to behold.

The mountain is one of the highest in Oregon and has 11 glaciers, allowing tourist to try out many of it's renowned skiing trails.

Go on hiking tours


How can you come to the exotic location of Hood River and go back home without taking part in some local hikes? Aside from the Columbia River Gorge hiking routes, there are endless trails within the city.

Some of the best and most popular trails are Dry Creek Falls and Wahclella Falls which both offer picturesque views. Most of the trails are in the Columbia River Gorge area which means tourists are given access to the campground.

For those who love camping this is the perfect option as visitors have the opportunity to camp under the starry night sky.

See the beautiful Mount Hood Railroad

Railroad Bridge in Hood River near Mount Hood
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We mentioned drive along the infamous highway before, but there is another way to take the breathless views of the city as well as the countryside.

The railways are still functional and a special tour is conducted to give the tourists a better view of the countryside. The tour is detailed and insightful, with a duration of around 4 hours this is the perfect choice for tourists who want to know more about the area.

The train route from Hood River to Parkdale offers some of the most amazing views on this trip. However, this route is not open all year round so tourists are encourage to check the official website prior to their visit.

Go white-water rafting at White Salmon River


The White Salmon River is better known as another one of the longer tributaries of the main Columbia River. There is an extensive range of inclusive activities available for tourists including white water rafting.

Visitors can also take a look at the surrounding forests which have a variety of trails around the river path and offer fantastic views of the nearby waterfalls.

This area is perfect for all, whether you want an action packed day out, or prefer to take a stroll with scenic views, White Salmon River is the perfect option.

Observe the wildlife at Tom McCall Nature Preserve

Tom McCall Nature Preserve
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With the gorgeous Mosier and The Dalles in the background, very few things in life are as aesthetically pleasing as the Tom McCall Nature Preserve.

With a clear view of the gorge, the preserve is just mesmerising. It is located atop a plateau offering some of the best picture locations available.  

If you are planning to visit during the summer, do not miss out on this place for the entire plateau gets covered in different colors of wildflowers. During the spring different varieties of flowers are in bloom creating a mirage of colour.

Visit the Hood River Marina Park


Want to enjoy  quiet sunsets by the river? We know just the spot for you. The Hood River Marina Park is just the place to relax and take in some of the best views of the sunset in the area.

There are on site picnic areas which are accessible to everyone, families often come here to spend the day unwinding. From this point you can see all the yachts lined up on the river at the front of the park. Additionally, there are several kayaking tour operators that start their trip from this area.

Have breakfast at Bette’s Place


Looking for a local and affordable place to dine? Look no further, Bettes's place has been serving since 1975 and is infamous with all the locals.

It is one of the most recommended places to go and eat at, with a warm and welcoming ambience, tourists can come here to unwind after a long hike.

French toast, waffles, eggs are only some options to choose from the extensive menu. Everything is fresh and homemade, and lunch and dessert options are also available  including gourmet sandwiches, pies and cinnamon rolls.

Visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum

Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum
Jmasterson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you are interested in both automobiles and aircraft- we have an amazing location  just for you. The WAAAM has antique pieces, but most of them are still fully functional.

The hangar area is indoor and stretches almost for 3.5 acres, containing some of the best pieces in aircraft history.

With a total of 130 model within the exhibition, there are models that date back as far as the 1900s.  There are events all year round including in-depth tours.

This brings us to the end of our amazing trip to Hood River. Very few locations in the U.S.A are as picturesque as the Hood River. So, do not miss out on the opportunity of visiting this sheer beauty. Enjoy!