Just a short drive up the Columbia River from Portland, the Hood River and Mount Hood region are easily accessible and a quick escape from city life. Hood River is focused on water sports with a huge community centered around windsurfing and kiteboarding. The town itself has a thriving restaurant scene and a hipness feel to its many coffee shops and boutiques. It's worth exploring the many attractions along the Columbia River Highway including Multnomah Falls, numerous wineries, Crown Point, and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center. Just up the hill from Hood River, a scenic drive called the Fruit Loop winds through orchards, farm land, and lavender fields, snaking its way up to Mount Hood. As you approach the mountain, lakes, waterfalls, and trails are speckled around every corner. Don't miss a hike to Mirror Lake or SUPing on Trillium Lake. Campgrounds come in the handfuls making for an easy weekend escape. Once you reach Mount Hood, you can find a few places to stay and eat in Government Camp or head on up to ski at year-round Timberline Ski Resort. Winter months pull in crowds for skiing and boarding, as well as for cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
Getting to the Hood River and Mount Hood region is easy if you are flying into or basing your trip from Portland. Follow the Columbia River Highway to Hood River or take the scenic mountainous Highway 26 to Mount Hood. The two destinations are connected by the Fruit Loop along Highway 35. Public transportation options do exist if you are without your own wheels, including the Mount Hood Train and the Sea to Summit Ski Shuttle. This year-round destination offers a variety of activities to suit the season. Skiers and boarders flock to Mt Hood Meadows and Timberline Ski Resort in the winter and to the many trails and campgrounds in the summer. Fall and spring are both mild and, although often wet, won't hinder outdoor exploration. Lodging and dining options are plentiful in the town of Hood River and unique B&Bs and cabin rentals dot the hillside on the way up to Mount Hood.
Things to Do
Historic Timberline Lodge: This one of a kind lodge offers rustic lodging, great dining, and year-round skiing!
Multnomah Falls: Just a short walk from the Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls is the second highest waterfall in the country and a popular attraction.
Hood River Fruit Loop: This unique scenic drive connects Hood River to Mount Hood through farms and fields of lavender, wildflowers, wineries, and orchards. Pick up a Fruit Loop map to make sure you hit all the spots.
Columbia River Highway: Winding through the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, this scenic drive features views around every corner and attractions like the Vista House, Crown Point, Bonneville Dam, and Bridge of the Gods.
Hike to Mirror Lake: This 3 mile trail is in the heart of Mount Hood National Forest, featuring a stunning destination of Mirror Lake.
Mount Hood Train: Connecting Hood River to Parkdale, a destination along the way to Mount Hood, the Mount Hood Railroad offers a variety of themed rides with spectacular views.
Columbia River Activities: Head to the waterfront below the town of Hood River and discover a thriving community of windsurfers and kiteboarders. You can watch in awe or take a lesson of your own!
Maryhill Museum: This unusual museum displays Native and European art and is housed in a huge mansion overlooking the Columbia River Gorge.
Trillium Lake: When the water is calm and smooth, the lake acts as a mirror against Mount Hood. You can enjoy camping, hiking, and boating at this stunning lake.