Hood River, Oregon Activities, Food, Drink & History
Hood River, Oregon is a picturesque Pacific Northwest town with stunning views of the mighty Columbia River and Mount Hood. It’s no wonder why this charming destination has become a popular weekend getaway for outdoor enthusiasts. From skiing and hiking to kayaking and paddle boarding, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay in Hood River.
But don’t think that outdoor activities are the only thing this town has to offer. When it comes to local history and culture, Hood River has plenty of interesting attractions worth exploring. The city is home to several museums, art galleries, historical buildings, and even an opera house! Even if you’re not a history buff, taking a stroll through the city offers some great insights into the town’s past.
A Brief History of Hood River, Oregon
The town was first established in 1854 and has gone through several changes since then. From its days as a bustling logging town to its current status as an outdoor mecca for travelers from all over, Hood River has seen it all throughout the years.
Hood River was originally inhabited by Native Americans, most notably the Multnomah people and the Wasco-Wishram tribes. The town was initially surveyed in 1854 and soon after became a major logging hub thanks to the ample timber found throughout the region. By the late 1800s, Hood River had become a bustling port town as ships from all over would dock at its harbor.
The early 1900s saw further growth with the arrival of fruit orchards throughout the town, providing employment for many of its residents. During this time period, fruit-packing plants were also built, revolutionizing the way fresh produce was handled and shipped. Railroads helped to further solidify Hood River’s position as an agricultural center as they provided transportation for farmers to get their goods to market.
As years passed, Hood River’s economy shifted away from logging and agriculture and toward tourism. With its beautiful views of Mount Hood and stunning scenery along the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts looking for a weekend getaway.
Hiking Trails in Hood River
One popular option is Eagle Creek Trail, which offers stunning views of the river and gorgeous waterfalls, as well as several offshoot trails such as Tanner Butte and Wahtum Lake Trails. For those looking for an easier trek, Dog Mountain Trail is a great option with mild elevation gain and stunning wildflower views in springtime.
For experienced hikers seeking an adrenaline rush, Mount Defiance Trail offers a strenuous climb with breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys from its summit. Those looking to take in some incredible scenery should try out the Tom Dick & Harry Mountain Trail, which takes you up to panoramic views of Mount Hood and its surrounding glaciers.
In addition to these longer hikes, there are also plenty of shorter loop trails such as Herman Creek Trail or Coe Ridge Trail that offer visitors an opportunity to explore the region without having to commit to a full day on the trail.
Best Outdoor Activities in Hood River
One of the most popular activities in Hood River is kayaking and paddle boarding. The Columbia River Gorge provides some of the most spectacular views in the Pacific Northwest, and visitors can experience it up close to the river. There are several companies that provide guided tours as well as rentals if you’d like to explore on your own.
Those looking for more extreme thrills should check out windsurfing and kiteboarding in Hood River. With its strong winds and consistent gusts, this area is often considered one of the best spots in North America for these sports. If you’re just starting out or want to hone your skills, there are plenty of schools and instructors available to help you get started with lessons.
For those who prefer two wheels over two feet, mountain biking is another excellent way to explore the area. There are several trails throughout Hood River that range from beginner-friendly routes to more technical terrain for experienced riders. Many local bike shops also rent bikes if you don’t have your own gear yet but still want to enjoy some time out on the trails!
Local Cuisine and Drinks in Hood River
Head downtown and check out the classic pub fare at Double Mountain Brewery or the upscale Italian dishes at Celilo Restaurant & Bar. Or, if you’re looking for an unforgettable dining experience, make a reservation at Allium Bistro where you can savor the flavors of Pacific Northwest cuisine.
No visit to Hood River would be complete without sampling some of the region’s craft beverages. Along with several wineries that produce award-winning wines from local grapes, the town also boasts several excellent breweries where you can find delicious beers and ciders. Full Sail Brewing Co., pFriem Family Brewers, and Logsdon Farmhouse Ales are among some of the most popular spots for beer lovers while Solera Brewery and Wy’East Cider offer refreshing hard ciders made from locally grown apples.
What Are the Best Wineries in Hood River?
Hood River is home to some of the best wineries in the Pacific Northwest, offering an array of delicious varietals to choose from. The region is renowned for its cool climate and long growing season, which allow grapes to reach optimal ripeness.
One popular winery to visit is Analemma Wines, located in the hills above Hood River. Here you can sample world-class pinot noir, syrah, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon from their vineyard perched on a south-facing slope overlooking the Columbia Gorge.
Another must-visit winery is Pheasant Valley Winery, where you can sample award-winning sparkling wines and vintages crafted in both traditional and contemporary styles. Their portfolio includes Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Gewürztraminer as well as reds such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc. This winery offers breathtaking views of Mount Hood and also features an outdoor seating area where visitors can enjoy a glass of wine alongside some light snacks.
The aptly named Cathedral Ridge Winery is another popular spot for oenophiles looking for something special. This family-owned estate specializes in estate-grown chardonnay and pinot noir that has achieved worldwide acclaim for their balanced structure and impeccable flavor profiles. The tasting room has a cozy atmosphere with views of the Cascade Mountains that are sure to delight any visitor!
Finally, Draper Girl collects fruit from local vineyards in nearby Washington State to create unique blends that have won several awards at international competitions. Their vineyard selection ranges from classic varietals to unexpected gems like petite sirah and malbecs – all of which make for wonderfully flavorful wines!
Hood River, Oregon, less than an hour from Portland, is a wonderful destination for outdoor activities and delicious food & drink. From hiking trails to mountain biking routes, windsurfing or kiteboarding on the Columbia River Gorge, and sampling some of the best wines in the Pacific Northwest – there’s something here for everyone! Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline rush or simply want to take in beautiful views of Mount Hood while enjoying local cuisine with your friends – Hood River has it all.