Hood River is a cozy town on the Oregon side of the Columbia River, surrounded by lush green trees and set into the sloped hills of the Columbia Gorge. Located between Portland and The Dalles, Hood River is named after its geographic location — the confluence of the Hood and Columbia Rivers. The town is widely known as a haven for water sports, as the river is extremely wide (more than a mile across in certain locations), and the wind that channels through the gorge at this location provide ample chop/lift for water-skiers, wake-boarders, wind and kite-surfers, and more.
As the Pacific Northwest cautiously begins to reopen in the wake of the global COVID-19, individuals and families are anxious for the chance to get back out into the world and soak up some of the summer sun. Hood River is an excellent destination for an overnight trip, and there are many family-run businesses, which will be happy to reopen their doors and begin seeing customers again as soon as they are given the go-ahead. As of this writing, several restaurants, including some of the well-known breweries, are open for limited seating.
If you’re an adventurous or sporty type, Hood River has so much to offer. The town and its surrounding areas are among the most outdoor friendly regions in the entirety of the Pacific Northwest. The bend in the mighty Columbia on which the town sits is famous for its windsurfing and kitesurfing. On any given summer day while passing through, one can spot tens to hundreds of sails and kites pulling riders headlong into the air over massive curling waves and dark, blue-black chop. Additionally, there are excellent hiking and mountain-biking opportunities lying in wait just outside city limits.
West of town, the infamous Dog Mountain towers over the sprawling gorge below, providing staggering views of the Columbia River Gorge at the cost of a challenging hike. The Dog Mountain trail is one of the most frequently hiked trails in the region, and one can easily see why from the top. A little further west is Beacon Rock State Park, which is a relatively easy hike up a colossal monolith of columnar basalts and needle pine trees. The view from the top is well worth the several hours up and down, especially for first-timers to the area. It is much more accommodating and accessible for the average person than Dog Mountain.
A drive south from Hood River on Highway 35 leads up a tremendous alpine valley filled with sprawling orchards and fruit stands. If open, these family farms are well worth the stopover. This valley leads up toward Mt. Hood, whose silhouette dominates the horizon. You will eventually arrive at Government Camp, where there is a family fun park, beautiful hiking trails, and a road leading to the serene Timberline Lodge above the tree line.
Hood River has something to offer people of all ages. Families will enjoy the quaint atmosphere, the walkable streets of downtown, the many small local restaurants, breweries, and shops. Thrill seekers will be drawn to the rugged landscape surrounding the city and the many hiking trails and water sports that help define the area. One thing is certain — a good time awaits.