22 Oct Harvest Time in Hood River
A great get-a-way near the Columbia River
With Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams towering in the distance, and the mighty Columbia River flowing alongside it, Hood River has long been a layover for travelers. From the early explorers on the Oregon Trail to the first windsurfers in the 1980s, this small town has been a hub for outdoor enthusiasts, foodies and families alike. Whether you want to sample its rich culinary scene, get up-close with alpacas, hike to the jaw-dropping waterfalls, or relax with your family at one of many parks and beaches, Hood River is welcoming any time of year.
Savor the Fall Bounty
Autumn is a particularly nice time to visit, when harvest season provides a feast for the senses. As you wind up Highway 26 from Bend toward Hood River, fall colors and views of Mt. Hood make this scenic drive enjoyable. After the Highway 35 junction, you might stop to pick pears, sample cider, or go wine-tasting along the 35-mile Hood River County Fruit Loop, a self-guided tour of local farms growing and producing fruit and wine. Take the tour in late October, during the Heirloom Apple Celebration, to sample 100 varieties of apples and pears and stock up on homemade pies, jams and other delicacies.
In mid-October, Hood River hosts its annual Harvest Fest. Staged at the Hood River waterfront, the event includes live music, seasonal produce from throughout the Hood River valley, homemade treats and fine art and crafts. From Harvest Fest, it’s an easy walk to Hood River Waterfront Park, where kids can test out a climbing wall and other play features at the play area. Or just relax on the shore and watch kiteboarders and windsurfers enjoying the last sessions of the season. Cap off the day with a meal from one of the restaurants on the waterfront—try Solstice Wood Fire Cafe and Bar or Pfriem Family Brewers.
Explore Wildly Gorgeous Trails
Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River was named Sunset Magazine’s Best Adventure Town of 2015. Walk or bike the Twin Tunnels Trail, a restored section of the Columbia Gorge Scenic Highway that connects Hood River to Mosier (5 miles one-way). The trail parallels a unique, transitional dry woodland marked by Oregon white oak, ponderosa pine and cottonwood, and exposed basalt cliffs that reveal the area’s violent, volcanic past.
Mountain bikers will want to explore Post Canyon, a vast network of trails on the west side of Hood River that offers beginner, intermediate and expert terrain. For spectacular views of the Hood River valley, Mt. Hood and other volcanoes, head to the Surveyor’s Ridge trail in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Celebrate fresh hops and the fall crush
Hood River, like many Oregon cities, is a haven for craft beer lovers. With five breweries downtown easily accessible by car, bike or foot, it’s easy to get a taste of all that Hood River offers. Visit during Hood River Hops Fest, which features 60 fresh-hop beers from over three-dozen breweries. You can also enjoy seasonal food and live music (kids are welcome until 6 p.m.).
For wine lovers, the Columbia River Gorge, which is known as a “world of wine within 40 miles,” offers relaxing tasting rooms and scenic views. In Hood River, stop by Marchesi Vineyards to enjoy a tasting on the outdoor patio. Or, pack a picnic and travel further afield to Maryhill Winery, which offers a world-class bocce court, award-winning wines (more than 30 varietals), and a dog- and kid-friendly, vine-covered terrace that offers panoramic views of the Columbia River Gorge.
A visit to Hood River valley wouldn’t be complete without a stop at a local cidery. You’ll find a variety of hard-pressed ciders, many of which are infused with local fruit and Pacific Northwest hops.
Just because you’ve visited all Hood River has to offer doesn’t mean your tour is over; take your time on the way home along scenic Highway 35, where you can stop for a few more tastes of fruit, wine and views of the great Columbia River. It’s truly a journey for all the senses.
Visitor Information: hoodriver.org
Farms and Orchards: hoodriverfruitloop.com
Hood River County Fruit Loop Tour: hoodriverfruitloop.com/images/FruitLoop2015.pdf
Post Canyon Bike Trail: http://hrats.org/current-pc-map/
Mosier Twin Tunnels: http://trails.gorgefriends.org/trail/mosier-twin-tunnels/
Arts and Culture
BIG ART walking tour, art-of-community.com
Columbia Center for the Arts, columbiaarts.org
Hood River Hops Fest, Sept. 26, Downtown Hood River
Hood River Harvest Fest, Oct. 16-18, Hood River Waterfront
Heirloom Apple Celebration, Oct. 24-25, Hood River County Fruit Loop
Columbia Gorge Marathon and Half Marathon, Oct. 25, Hood River
Photos: Post Canyon trails, photo by Colin Meagher | Hood River wine, photo courtesy Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, photo by Michael Peterson | The Family Man trails at Post Canyon which are designed for kids, photo by Colin Meagher | Fall in Hood River, photo courtesy Hood River County Chamber of Commerce, photo by Michael Peterson