Hood River is the perfect getaway if you want to explore rural Oregon or love outdoor sports. Hood River has become a popular destination thanks to its many vineyards and to the Gorge Games, which bring thousands of rock climbing and kitesurfing fans to the area each year. Find out more about what this small town located East of Portland has to offer!
A Brief History Of Hood River
Hood River has gained national attention thanks to the nearby Columbia River, which is a perfect spot for canoeing, windsurfing, and other outdoor activities. The city is also known for its local breweries and vineyards.
It is interesting to note that Columbia River and the many breweries and vineyards are closely linked to Hood River’s history. The city was established in the 1850s because the confluence of Columbia River and Hood River was the perfect spot to load produce grown in the valley just South of Hood River and ship it to other destinations.
Even though the local brews draw tourists to the area, many farmers grow fruits and other crops. Hood River is actually one of the top producers of Anjou pears in the world.
Fun fact: Hood River used to be called Dog River.
What’s The Weather Like?
Hood River Oregon weather is moderate. You can expect warm summers and will probably get some rain if you visit in the winter. However, the rainfall is not as important as in nearby Portland.
In December, January, and February, the average low temperature is around 30°F. The average high temperature is 74°F in June and can reach 82°F in July and August. You will very likely get some rain if you visit between October and March, but most of the precipitation occurs between November and February.
Fun fact: Mount Hood is the highest peak in Oregon. It is the only volcano in Oregon that has erupted in modern history. It hasn’t been active since the 1860s.
Seasonal Events And Activities
Hood River is a popular destination for windsurfing, canoeing, and all kinds of outdoors activities. You can also head to nearby Mount Hood for skiing and snowboarding. Visiting Hood River in the winter means you will experience cold temperatures and precipitation, but Mount Hood is probably the best place for skiing on the West Coast.
The Gorge Games used to be a major draw for tourists and athletes. This event used to be held every year in August and would include kitesurfing, rock climbing, and canoeing competitions.
The Gorge Games no longer exist, but they have been replaced by several individual sporting events that take place over the course of the summer. There is a yearly windsurfing competition in May called the Gorge Cup and a paddling race in July called the Gorge Downwind Championship.
Visiting Hood River in the spring or summer would be the perfect opportunity to explore Hood River Valley. There are many farms, ranches and vineyards that offer tours.
October is another busy time for Hood River with the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest and the Hood River Hops Fest. The first event is a huge air with art shows and performances while the Hops Fest is all about brews and live music. If you are there for the Hops Fest, make sure you attend the Oregon Beer Awards event!
If you visit Hood River in the winter, there is a free shuttle that connects the city to the Mount Hood Meadows ski resort. You could use this shuttle to visit Hood River if you decide to stay at one of the resorts located on Mount Hood, or spend a day of your Hood River vacation on the slopes.
Fun fact: Lewis and Clark discovered Hood River in 1805. They called it Labiche River after explorer Francois Labiche.
Top Things To Do In Hood River
If you love the outdoors and want to try windsurfing or canoeing, Hood River is the perfect destination for you. Your trip to the Columbia River could be the occasion to try one of these sports for the first time, or to get more practice since it is the best spot for watersports and rock climbing in Oregon. The Hood River harbor is actually sheltered so that beginners can try windsurfing in a safe environment.
If you enjoy hiking or canoe trips, Hood River could be a stop along your next adventure. The city is connected to the Mount Hood Scenic Byway that goes all the way to Mount Hood and to the Historic Columbia River Highway, which goes all the way to Portland.
There are plenty of things to do in Hood River Oregon. Here are a few examples of activities and things worth visiting during your stay:
- The Georgiana Smith Park is a green space not far from the city’s library. This is the perfect spot for a picnic.
- Take a stroll on the Hood River Port to see some windsurfers and maybe stop by a cafe or restaurant.
- The Port Marina Park is another great spot for relaxing and watching boats.
- You will find many water sports equipment rental places near the port and river banks. This could be the opportunity to try kitesurfing or another sport.
- The Mount Hood Railroad is a scenic railroad that follows Columbia River. Get a train ticket if you want to enjoy the landscapes without going on a hike.
- If you like art galleries, make sure you visit the Columbia Center for the Arts and Glassometry Studio.
- The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum is worth visiting if you are interested in old cars and aircraft.
- Head to the valley South of Hood River to visit some ranches, farms, and vineyards. You can book beer or wine tasting tours to explore this area.
- There is also a golf course in the valley if wine tasting isn’t your thing.
- There is a farmer’s market on Columbia Street every Saturday morning. Note that the market is only held between May and November.
- There are many fishing spots in the area. You can fish for steelhead in Hood River all year long. There are a few regulations for trout and salmon fishing, and Spring chinook fishing is occasionally allowed.
Fun fact: Columbia River was named after merchant captain Robert Gray’s ship Columbia Rediviva.
A Few Dining Recommendations
You will find most Hood River Oregon restaurants in the Oak Street area and near the water. Here are a few recommendations:
- Egg River Café is a popular breakfast spot among locals. This place is known for serving large portions!
- If you want to eat where the locals go, try Bette’s Place. You are going to love the cozy atmosphere, burgers, and breakfast fare.
- The Hood River Taqueria would be an excellent choice if you want some Mexican fare. This restaurant has an excellent selection of vegetarian options, and the outdoor seating makes this an ideal dining spot if you are visiting Hood River in the Summer.
- You can enjoy some local brews at the Double Mountain Brewery. This place probably serves the best pizza in town, but the brew selection alone is enough to make Double Mountain Brewery one of the most popular spots in Hood River.
- The Full Sail Brewing Co is another spot where you can enjoy an amazing selection of brews. The entire menu changes regularly in function of the beer selection.
- The Celilo Restaurant And Bar has one of the best wine selections.
Fun fact: Anjou pears weren’t always the main crop of the area. Farmers used to mostly produce apples until 1919 when a severe frost killed most of the apple trees in the valley. Pear trees were planted instead of new apple trees.
Where To Stay In Hood River
Hotels in Hood River Oregon are usually full during the summer and the winter months. It is best to book your accommodation in advance since the area is a popular destination for skiing and other sports in the summer.
The Best Western Plus Hood River Inn is a good value and some of the rooms have a view on Columbia River. If you can’t get a room there, try the Hampton Inn & Suites Hood River. The Hampton Inn is a little more affordable and is located on the Nicholas Boat Basin not far from Hood River.
If you would like to stay in the downtown area, the Hood River Hotel is an excellent option. This hotel is inside of a building from 1911. The Oak Street Hotel is another popular downtown accommodation. This hotel is inside of a 1909 building that has been entirely restored. This is a very small accommodation that almost feels like a cozy bed and breakfast.
Fun fact: the Ezra L. Smith house is the oldest building in town.
Hood River is known for its breweries and vineyards and for attracting kitesurfing fans, but the scenery around Hood River and Columbia River alone is enough to make your vacation an unforgettable experience. Remember to book your accommodation in advance if you plan on visiting Hood River during the skiing season or around a popular sporting event.