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Plan a Perfect Trip to the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River, Oregon

Smack in the middle of the awe-inspiring Columbia River Gorge lies the small waterfront city of Hood River, Oregon.

With nearly nine months of mild temperatures, an impressive range of outdoor activities, and a thriving local food scene it’s hard to think of a better place to take an RV trip than Hood River.

Situated at the crossroads of the Gorge and the mighty Cascade Mountain Range you’ll find a lively town surrounded by mountains, rivers and waterfalls.

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Where to Park Your RV in Hood River

Take advantage of two great state parks located near Hood River.

Oregon State Parks

Memaloose State Park  is conveniently located about 10 miles east of Hood River along the banks of the Columbia River.

With over 100 sites (40 full hook up, 65 no hook-up with water nearby) among mature maple and willow trees, you’ll be able to stay cool during even the hottest of summer days.

You can see the Columbia river from many sites and watch the ferries and barges float past.

Read more reviews of Memaloose State Park here.

camping in hood river oregon
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To the west of town is Viento State Park where you’ll find 70 sites (55 electric & water, 15 no hook-ups with water nearby) in a similar forested setting of mature maples and dense evergreens.

Some of the sites at Viento offer views of the river, and a short trail takes you to a day use area with access to the shore.

Viento also has a hiking trail to the nearby Starvation Creek waterfall.

Both parks are located near a working railroad line with active crossings. This means you will most definitely be treated to the sight and sound of the train rumbling by several times a day.

Windsurfing and Kiteboarding

Hood River gained fame in the ’80s for it’s legendary windsurfing scene.

These days you can still catch an occasional glimpse of a windsurfer zig-zagging around the Hood River sandbar area, but only if you look past the hundreds of people embracing the latest wind & water combo – kiteboarding.

windsurfing and kiteboarding hood river or
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On days when the wind is strong (which is nearly everyday) an afternoon on the waterfront watching the windsurfers, kiteboarders, and other wind worshippers rip back and forth across the Columbia River is nearly as thrilling as actually getting out there and joining them.

If you’re inspired by the brightly colored sails and develop a hankering to try your hand at some windsurfing or kiteboarding, you can book a lesson and rent equipment from a number of outfitters in town.

Bike to Your Heart’s Content

If you’re more inclined to get your exercise on land, check out the Columbia River Gorge Bike Trail. Ride past waterfalls, through tunnels and up to magnificent viewpoints.

Biking is one of the best ways to see the gorge.

Much of the trail is mixed use – shared by bikes, cars and pedestrians – but a few sections are not open to cars, providing bikers with a laid back ride through the gorge.

Take a Drive on the Fruit Loop

To the south of town lies the the Hood River Valley, where the landscape is dotted with orchards, vineyards and farms.

Here you’ll find the Fruit Loop, a 35-mile drive around the fertile valley that travels past more than 30 farms and vineyards.

orchards apples hood river
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If you’re lucky enough to visit during the right season many of the farms offer you-pick peaches, apples, pears, and cherries.

Most farms have roadside stands offering up everything from fresh produce and homemade jams and salsas, to hand spun yarns.

For a listing of all the farms and their locations downloaded this handy map of the loop.

7,000 People Need 5 Local Breweries

Oregonians love their microbreweries, and Hood River residents are no exception. This small town of only 7,000 plays host to an impressive five breweries.

The most famous, Full Sail Brewing Co. has daily tours (free and offered on the hour from 1pm – 4pm) and tastings along with a robust menu of pub fare.

Right around the corner is the Double Mountain Brewery and Taproom where they serve up inventive seasonal brews and incredible brick oven pizza.

Big Horse Brew Pub sits on a hill overlooking downtown Hood River and is best known for their small batch brews and scenic outdoor seating area. Back down the hill at the waterfront is Pfriem Family Brewers.

Pfriem Family Brewers is a modern high ceilinged, glass and wood building offering community tables, samples of their primarily Belgium inspired beers, and a menu with a decidedly Northwest slant.

On the outskirts of town lies Logsdom Farmhouse Organic Ales where the beer is brewed on a family farm using all Northwest grown hops, barely and fruit.

Mount Hood Watches Over All

On clear days the imposing snow-covered peak of Mount Hood dominates the skyline south of Hood River.

Hop on the Mount Hood Scenic Byway for an up-close visit.

see mount hood on a clear day
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The entire route clocks in at a little more than 100 miles and travels through farmland, mountains, and waterfalls.

As you make your way out of town the farms and fields of the Hood River Valley give way to a dense forest filled with many hiking trails, waterfalls, lakes, and campgrounds.

Some of the most popular trails are easy strolls around the many mountain lakes, all with a view of Mount Hood in the distance.

Trillium Lake, Lost Lake, and Mirror Lake are only a few of the family-friendly hikes in the area.

Waterfall Wonderland

What do you get when you combine dense forests, sculpted basalt cliffs, and near constant moisture?

The perfect recipe for cascading water!

Which is exactly what you’ll find along the western stretch of the Columbia River Gorge.

Rumor has is that there are more than 75 waterfalls on the Oregon side alone.

From the massive 620-foot Multnomah Falls, to the graceful cascade of Horsetail Falls, this is truly a waterfall lover’s paradise.

Many of the waterfalls are easily accessible from the historic Columbia River Highway. Others are a bit more hidden, requiring a hike or scramble up a steep slope.

For more information check out the following references:

Hood River Country Chamber of Commerce
Hood River Trip Advisor
Mt. Hood National Forest
Travel Oregon: Columbia River Gorge



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2 thoughts on “Plan a Perfect Trip to the Columbia River Gorge in Hood River, Oregon”

  1. We work for Oregon States Parks in a month in the spring and in the fall. Excellent article. I would warn people about the train tracks at Viento. They are very close to the back side of the CG and run all night and day. Other than that they are outstanding parks both Mam and Viento. You article was spot on otherwise. At quick trip to Bonneville Dam is a good side trip. Or the Historic River state park trail great for a bike ride.

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