Things To Do in Hood River & The Columbia River Gorge

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We are located right downtown and near the best of everything!

Hood River is located in the epicenter of the Columbia River Gorge – a natural wonder that extends for over 150 miles along the Columbia River. Along the way the climate and terrain vary from steep mountain temperate rain forests with astonishing waterfalls and plumes along mystical mountain rivers to open grassland and wildflower prairies punctuated by open cliffs – birds of prey soaring overhead, snow-capped volcanos – one to the north, one to the south, viewable in the distance.
 
As you drive along the Gorge the terrain changes at breathtaking speed – in just miles and minutes the landscape transforms from one impressive clime to another – travelers frequently feel as though they’ve been transported across timezones in moments. Simply exploring the natural beauty of the Gorge could keep you busy for a lifetime. There’s more to the Gorge than just its natural beauty; food, drink, adventure, and culture also await the curious traveler. For even a taste of what our area has to offer, we suggest staying for at least three or four days. When you stay at the Inn at the Gorge, you really are at the heart of everything Hood River, the Columbia River Gorge, Mount Hood, and the Hood River Valley have to offer. 
 
Don’t let the smaller size of Gorge communities fool you into thinking you should expect lackluster service- Gorge business has a lot to offer!  Visitors to the Gorge stimulate business, enhance our communities and create a service culture of voluble hospitality. Living in the Gorge tends to make our local population grateful, happy, and relaxed. Expect to feel warmly welcomed and supported by local businesses and our community during your stay! 
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What to see in a 50 mile radius from Hood River

Columbia Gorge Sunrise

What To Do Day One: Day Hiking and Fine Dining

Get a grip on where you are chief! A hike, bike ride or driving tour with stops along the way is a great way to get oriented. 
 
Hike through inclined planes of grasses and oak amidst majestic outcroppings of rock with constant vistas of the Columbia River and Mt Hood. In Spring and early summer wild flowers carpet the meadows. Vultures, Hawks, Osprey, Eagles and Falcons are a regular part of the show at Coyote wall. The Old Wagon Road is a good place to start which will wind up as far as you care to go. If you’re in the mood for a shorter ramble, consider taking the fork for little Maui. A rockier descent option is just slightly further up the path – Little Moab. 

More ambitious hikers should consider taking the fork for Coyote wall loop or the right fork for Labynth and then descent on the Hidden Canyon trail. Little Maui loops back to the parking lot for a total trip of about 2.5 miles, the Labrythn Hidden Canyon Loop, all told, will return you back to the Coyote wall parking lot in about 5 miles. This hike will take you though a wonderfully varied terrain of diverse ecosystems – all hikes at Coyote wall will treat you to breathtaking views. The parking area at Coyote wall sometimes overflows- don’t let this deter you – there’s plenty of space on the trials which never feel crowded and you can park anywhere along the road that feels safe. Mountain Bikers share the trail at Coyote Wall, but, not to worry, there’s plenty of space and it’s fun to watch them bounce by gracefully navigating tricky rock formations. Dozens of side trails fork from the main trails to hidden private views and secret vernal pools perfect for some quiet time alone or with your traveling companion(s). 
 
COR and Syncline wineries are locating nearby and have beautiful tasting facilities perfect for solo travelers, couples or any size group. A glass of wine in these beautiful settings after a relaxed or epic hike can along constitute a very nice day!  
 
Feeling brave, need to cool off? At your own risk, Check out the Lyle rope swing! on route 14 entering the town of Lyle. A world class rope swing suspended off the bridge over the klickitat River. The water level can vary and you might want to watch some local kids give it a go first. Don’t forget to hang on tight… and then make sure to let go! Fun for all ages! 
 
If you’re celebrating a special occasion consider dinner afterward at Celilo Restaurant & Bar – which features an evolving menu featuring food made from curated locally sourced  ingredients, or possibly Stonehedge – which features an excellent menu of traditional favorites in a beautiful unique setting – the multilevel terraces and patios with soothing forest surroundings at Stonehedge set an enchanting mood. 
 
Mt Hood from Hood River Oregon

What To Do Day Two: Mt. Hood & Adult Beverage Tasting

Visit Mt. Hood: Whether Winter or Summer, a trip to Mount Hood is sure to please. Check the forecast and consider bringing skis or a snowboard if there’s fresh powder. Hiking, Skiing, snowshoeing. Timberline lodge – part of depression-era CCC work projects – was constructed by a master craftsman/ Check out the Lodge, go for a hike.

If you mountain bike, the local bus service serves as a shuttle for epic downhill rides along the trail network originating at Timberline Lodge. Stop in Government Camp – locally referred to as “Govvy’ for a drink or some food. There are multiple dining options at Timberline lodge – from casual to elegant. (More info needed here).

You’ll enjoy high elevation views of the Cascade Range. Mt Hood is an inactive volcano with year-round glacial peak and snow cover – and serves as a training ground for competitive skiers and snowboarders and a playground for hardcore enthusiasts hitting the lifts in July! Take a lift in summer and ride down in board shorts or a bikini!

Mount Hood Meadows is a great option for Alpine skiing with full-service rentals – including alpine, traditional cross country, and skate skiing. Tea Cup is another great option for nordic skiers.

Hood River’s snowmelt and glacial-fed municipal water are amongst the absolute finest in the world inspiring numerous breweries to base in Hood River! Our area is also gaining viticultural prominence and is the home of a plethora of wineries, and cider houses! The safest and most fun way to enjoy Hood River’s many breweries, wine and spirit, and cider tasting rooms is to walk from your central location at the Inn at the Gorge!

Walkable breweries include Double Mountain, and Full Sail (both less than a mile) as well as Pfriem and Ferment (a little over a mile). Double Mountain brews a variety of beer and is most noted for their Hoppy, fully bodied IPAs. They also do great Pizza and have a comfortable and cool location – often with live music! Full Sail distributes nationally and also offers a variety of beer options, excellent quality ‘pub’ food – plus good salads — and a beautiful outdoor patio overlooking the Double Mountain and Full Sail are close to the Inn and even closer to each other. Consider stopping at Kickstand – just a couple hundred yards from the Inn – on your way to either location – a community hub for beer, wine, coffee, and food.

Alternatively, head toward downtown via 9th street and Oak street and stop into the Naked Winery tasting room on your way to double mountain or full sail.

There are still plenty of options for sampling beer, wine, and spirits all within a close walk… Tap Room 64 keeps a curated section of 64 brews on tap at all times. Located near Whiskey Tango – the place to go for excellent cocktails, and a place to get down and dance! From there you can shuffle over to River City Saloon – another great place for live music, and a little grittier – but comfortable vibe.

Hood River distilleries keep a tasting room on Oak Street where they specialize in DELICIOUS cocktails.

If you think you’ll like visiting a bar in a converted theatre space with a subtly dark artsy vibe with the fun, welcoming, and supportive open mic and karaoke, as well as other live music and fuse ball then drop into the Moth lounge on your beer and wine tour of Hood River.

Dining
Once your downtown you’re just a short walk away from the waterfront where PFriem and Ferment both brew excellent quality beers. Pfriem’s food and beer is German-inspired and tend to be more filtered than double mountains. Excellent quality beer and great food at both pFriem and Ferment! If you’re still walking, stop in at Camp 1805 for refined cocktails and tapas. Solistice, just next door.

Cider houses near the Inn at the Gorge are located in the heights – Slopeswell cider – often featuring live music -and near downtown – Crush! Both have great options. The Volcanic Bottle shop is just a little further down 13th street from Slopeswell and carried a large curated selection of bottled beers as well as an excellent selection of beers on tap. Cool, comfortable loungey vibe with back deck/ Terrace to enjoy as well.

Please be safe and have fun on your drinks tour of Hood River! You may have noticed Hood River is an idyllic place with very little crime. Our police have a lot of time on their hands and do an excellent job of keeping Hood River safe from drunk driving! Police from all over the state train with the Hood River police to tune up their busting intoxicated drivers’ chops. For your enjoyment and safety, and the safety of our community, please walk, take a cab (you might enjoy a peddle-powered cab!), or use a designated driver. There is no Uber in Hood River – thankfully your location at the Inn at the Gorge makes walking an excellent option!

Tamanawas Falls

What To Do Day Three: Waterfalls, The Fruit Loop & Bike Riding

Bike or e-bike the Twin Tunnels Trail from Hood River to Mosier.

Before interstate 84 the only road to navigate the Gorge was the Columbia Gorge highway (route 30). Scenic, gently graded, and with turns that will make everyone in the car want to drive. Portions of the historic highway were removed to make way for the interstate, but many can still be driven (See scenic drives below). The 6-mile portion of route 30 between Hood River and Mosier (know as the twin tunnels trail) is open to pedestrians and cyclists but closed to motorized vehicles (e-bikes ARE allowed!). Shady and cool but with amazing views riding the twin tunnels trail from Hood River to Mosier is an absolute delight. Break to enjoy the views along the way and stop in the raw rock tunnel and notice the windows carved on scenic views of the Gorge. 

Most terrain in Hood River is quite steep however most of this paved trail is gently graded. Still, portions are steep and you may most enjoy this trail on an e-bike, which makes it a breeze! MOCO (Mosier Company) is open for lunch and dinner most everyday seasonally and is a great place to stop in Mosier for delicious food, beer, wine, and coffee. There large outdoor space is gently breezy with beautiful views of the Columbia River.

Consider renting e-bikes from Oregon E-Bikes in downtown Hood River. For any fitness level, e-bikes make this ride easy and fun. Consider extending your ride along Route 30 to the Memaloose Island overlook or the Rowena Crest Overlook.

Riding this route on an e-bike is an absolute delight. If you’re doing this as part of a romantic getaway.. oh baby

The fruit loop is another great ebike ride – or bike ride for the fit and ambitious – through the Hood River Valley. You can also enjoy this ride in a car or motorcycle. Enjoy regular views of Mount Hood and the richness of the Hood River’s valley’s beautiful and bountiful agriculture. Peach, pear, cherry, apple, cherry, and more orchards are beautiful whether in bloom or ready for harvest – stop for some produce, or u pick. Vineyards and Lavender fields add a nice touch. Stop for Fruit stands, jams and jellies, ice cream, apple pie, and wine and cider tasting rooms. Take your sweet heart on either of these e-bike rides, then stop in downtown Hood River for a beer at one of our award-winning breweries (see below for more info) or wine tasting rooms or dinner and then soak in the Inn at the Gorge hot tub or enjoy a glass of wine or kombucha on our wrap-around porch or sun-speckled Terrace before retiring to your elegant and comfortable room. Clawfoot tub lavender bath bomb… Oh man! Someone’s getting lucky tonight!

Eagle Creek, Beacon Rock, Travelers rest, Snow White, Dog Mountain… the list of hikes in the Gorge goes on and on and the highly dynamic nature of the Gorge means no two hikes are alike. From Alpine peaks to deep forests, to sweeping wildflower plains overlooking the Gorge you’ll see a variety of views and environments.

Tamanawas Falls  –   this shaded, lush hike on the way to Mount Hood is gently sloping along the banks of a Ferm and moss mystical mountain creek. About 3 miles out and back, the trail apexes as the base of Tamanawas falls where the waterfall splashes down into a shallow pool. The cliff the falls plummet over is overhanging so adventurous hikers can scamble along the fallen rock fields below to enjoy a shaded and dynamic view with shelter and prospect while the waterfall flows overhead. Great spot for a rustic picnic or snack! The very shallow pool turns the river to spray as it crashes down below – gusty mountain breezes create vortices and rainbow spectrums of light in the dance of the spray. Big native medicine inhabits this place and it’s easy to see why. 

Take a seriously scenic drive to the eastern Gorge to check out the Maryhill Museum of Art, The Columbia Gorge Discovery Center, and the full scale Stonehenge reconstruction war memorial. 

Visiting the Hood River Waterfront Park, Hood River Event Site, The Hook, Nichols Basin, Hood River Marina, and the Spit. 

The Hood River waterfront on the Columbia River Gorge is all publicly accessible and free! A mecca for wind and water sports.as well as paddle boarding, kayaking and just enjoying seriously scenic views. The Gorge itself has regular strong winds that favor Kiteboarding, Windsurfing, and wind winging. Just watching these activities can make for a relaxing and fun day! If you haven’t been tuned into wind and water sports for a while – or maybe ever- you’re likely to be blown away by the athleticism and gravity-defying acts of bravery and skill happening on the water by advanced riders. Feeling adventurous? Learning to kiteboard and windsurf is achievable for almost anyone and is a healthy and gratifying pursuit for virtually all fitness levels and ages! Get involved and take a windsurfing or kitesurfing lesson! Maybe try paddle boarding or windwingging… or just go for a swim! Wonderful park areas to picnic, watch kids play with dogs and just enjoy the scenic views. Seasonal restaurants on the pier at the event site and year-round dining and brews at Ferment, Pfriem, Solstice and Camp 1805. 

White Water Rafting in Hood River & The Columbia River Gorge

In white water rafting and kayaking communities, The White salmon River is known world-over for its exciting class 4 and 5 rapids. It’s also known for its crystal clear waters, geological wonders, rich wildlife, and breathtaking natural beauty. A white water rafting trip on the white salmon river is an amazing and exciting adventure, a tour of natural beauty, and a great way to cool off and get a little exercise.
 
Raft trips on other rivers can be a little bit ho-hum.. lots of floating listlessly between rapids. Rapids on the White Salmon are frequent, fun and the river keeps you moving and in awe even in the short and speedy floats between the big stuff! There are several rafting outfits that can take you on an outstanding trip.
 
Wet Planet is a sure bet and absolutely top-notch in professionalism and safety and their guides all have unique perspectives and knowledge to share about the wonderful river you’ll be exploring. You will never forget shooting the rapids on the white salmon! Half-day and full-day trips available. Everything you need is provided. Check out the city of white salmon itself on your way there or back! Everybody’s brewing is a favorite white salmon brewery with a deck overlooking the Gorge from the Washington side. 

Western Antique and Automobile Museum (WAAM)

Located at the Hood River airport this is not some crusty half-organized pile of yesteryears wrecks. In their own words:  
 
“All of our antique airplanes have been meticulously restored from the inside out. And, unlike the aircraft at most air museums, our aircraft still fly! Be clear on this … it’s not that they “can” fly, they DO fly.  We take our aircraft out as often as we can, and we give them the workout that they want and deserve.

Most of our aircraft were flown for the purposes of personal recreation, some were used as workhorses, and others were flown for military reasons.”

Visitors to the museum are initially impressed by the quality of restoration and then start to notice how many unique and interesting – and truly weird specimens are on hand representing all eras of classical aviation. Most visitors then report being positively impressed by the diversity, and then the sheer scope of the collection. Gear heads, history buffs, and just anyone who appreciates the skill and dedication that goes into creating such an impressive body of work will enjoy WAMM. Self-guided tours are great! Explore WAMM’s website for details on fly-ins, glider rides (or learn to fly a glider!), and other special events. 

Photos of Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge

Columbia Gorge Scenic Drives

Regardless of the weather, the Gorge is an astonishing place to go for a drive. Even overcast days are breathtakingly beautiful- a high cliff overhead with peaks of cliffs and pine trees emerging from the fog or winter give a mystical and intimate feel to the sublime landscape – take a moment to notice a herd of Elk cautiously peering back at you for the distance. When it’s cloudy and rainy in the Western Gorge just a few minute’s drive to the east will often find clearer whether. The interfaces of clear and cloudy sun rays sheer through clouds – rainbows and god rays are a common sight during the Spring and Fall. 
 
Cross the Hood River Bridge towards Bingen and explore both east and west on route 14. Westbound towards the forested western gorge and eastbound towards the more open eastern gorge.
 
Heading West consider stopping at the Carson Hot Spring or Backwoods Brewery and Pizza or continuing towards Stevenson where you can explore galleries, food, and more Breweries including the local’s favorite Walking Man Brewery. Headed West Bound from Stevenson Consider crossing the bridge of the Gods to Cascade Locks to try Thunder Island Brewing. The Bonneville Dam is also impressive and yes, there is a Damn Tour! Back on the Washington side and heading West – consider stopping for a short but dramatic hike at Beacon Rock. A highly accessible hike for most all ages and fitness levels with engaging views of the Columbia – hikers and aided by platforms that traverse and switch-back up dramatic cliffs at a comfortable incline. Lots of scenic bang for your hiking buck! Perched above the Columbia are countless viewpoints from which observant and sharp-eyed hikers may notice seals hunting in the shallow waters of the Columbia below. 
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