Adventure junkies and wine aficionados alike should flock to a gorgeous location in the Pacific Northwest that is a must-see destination for travel lovers: Hood River, Oregon. Yet another quaint town in Oregon with scenic views and brilliant hiking, Hood River has mountain biking trails, stunningly situated wineries and craft breweries, and a relaxed vibe and adventurous spirit that makes it easy to fall in love with. Often referred to as the windsurfing capital of the world, Hood River is located on the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Range and offers plenty to see and do, especially for those who enjoy adventure during their day and unwind with a glass of wine at night.
Below are all the need-to-know details about this stunning location that has attained worldwide fame for windsurfing but still retains its small-town charm.
Hood River, Oregon: Small Town Charm, Big Time Beauty
Hood River has all the big city delights travelers enjoy but is a walkable town with plenty of delightful places to eat farm-to-table food, shops to support local artists in, and simply enjoy watching the windsurfers on the Columbia River. Hood River can best be enjoyed by those who come prepared, so without further ado, here are the important Hood River facts:
- With a population that's only over 8,000 people, Hood River feels like a small town because it is
- The busiest tourism months are the summer when the weather is warm and provides plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors.
- Oregonians like their beer, and Hood River exemplifies this. There are plenty of craft breweries located in Hood River, whether you prefer Belgian-style ales or at pFriem Family Brewers or want to taste the local ingredients used in the beers served up by Ferment Brewing Company.
- Although it’s gained an international reputation for its windsurfing, Hood River is renowned for its exceptional local hiking, like the nearby Multnomah Falls, which sees over 2 million visitors a year and, in the wintertime, provides excellent skiing at Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort.
- A vibrant local farming community can be enjoyed by experiencing the Fruit Loop, a 35-mile scenic area south of Hood River. It features Oregon's largest fruit-growing region and is especially known for its delectable cherries and pears and even its lavender farms.
- With plenty of local accommodations, from upscale hotels located right on the water to rustic cabins on local farms, there are options for travelers of all budgets and desires.
Windsurfing Capital Of The World
The Columbia River offers beautiful scenery with a steady wind--which makes it ideal for all sorts of watersports like windsurfing and kiteboarding. The windiest months in the Gorge are from June through September, which makes it the busiest time for enjoying intense adventures out on the river. Rentals are available locally at places like Big Winds, and lessons for beginners are a popular local activity. Here are the details on these popular activities:
- Windsurfing: What began as a sport in the 1980s has quickly become an international addiction for thrill seekers. The Columbia Gorge runs through the Cascade Mountains, with its canyon walls soaring up to 1,400 feet to as high as 4,000 feet above the river. The wind funnels through the canyons and into Hood River, with windsurfers riding the commanding swells. There are locations for intermediate riders like The Hatch, while The Hook offers a sheltered location for beginners to learn without the extreme wind.
- Kiteboarding: Yet another wind-inspired activity, kiteboarders dot the river all throughout the summer. With winds averaging 25 mph through the Columbia River Gorge, adventurers flock to this spot to enjoy riding to enjoy the intense gusts of winds.
Of course, for those who want to appreciate windsurfing and the like from afar, there are plenty of restaurants in Hood River to simply enjoy seeing the river filled with the colorful sight of sails.
Wine Tasting In Hood River
With unmatched views of the mountains and rolling hills of vineyards, Hood River is an ideal spot to enjoy a glass (or two!) of wine. Home to several award-winning vintages, the area is an ideal place for wine production, with the arid landscape and moderate weather conditions. Hood River is especially known for producing excellent Pinot Noirs, and travelers who go for a wine tour will quickly understand why.
For those who prefer to stay near downtown, Mount Hood Winery offers an extensive selection to enjoy all while seated on their patio or inside near their cozy fireplace. For those venturing out to the Fruit Loop area of Hood River, Hood Crest Winery and Distillers is an excellent choice that offers a highly regarded Cabernet Sauvignon. And for those traveling with small children, this winery has a relaxed, informal vibe and often features live music.
Hood River: Work Hard, Play Hard
To spend time in Hood River is to fall in love with its small-town charm and well-earned international reputation. This destination offers visitors and locals alike the chance to spend their day exhausted by intense thrill-seeking, knowing all along they can unwind with a fine glass of wine at the end of yet another windy day.