The Perfect 48 Hours in Hood River!
The small town of Hood River may only have a population of about 8,000….but over two million people visit the surrounding Columbia River Gorge every year: & Hood River is one of the Gorge’s most popular destinations. It’s far & away the cutest town on the Oregon side of the river, with plenty to do: wind-surfing, hiking, brunching, wine tasting, & berry-picking ~ to name a few. Nestled in the shadow of iconic Mount Hood, directly on the Columbia River, let’s just say: Hood River is geographically blessed! So for all the weekend planners, let’s find out how to spend the “The Perfect 48 Hours in Hood River!”
**Author’s Note: Article updated as of December 2022.
Interested in hiking the Columbia River Gorge?? Here’s a list of my all-time favorite Gorge hikes! The closest to Hood River are 1) Mosier Tunnels, & 2) Dog Mountain (my absolute FAVE).
Itinerary for Hood River: Friday Night
The first choice you’ll need to make when visiting Hood River is where to stay. Here’s a quick run-down of the best options in town for each category:
- Most Romantic Places to Stay in Hood River: Columbia Gorge Hotel & Spa ($188+) & Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel ($199+) ~ both have stunning cliffside locations with jaw-dropping views, lending to a very romantic feel. The grounds of Columbia Gorge are so lovely, they often host weddings here during the summer.
- Best Places to Stay for Families in Hood River: This choice isn’t quite so romantic, but it does have a fantastic waterfront location & is pet-friendly ~ the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn ($219+). Rooms are large, with many offering sitting rooms & kitchens, making it a great choice for large groups or families. And, they’ve got an outdoor pool & hot tub too.
- Best “In-Town” Hotel Choice: If you’d prefer to stay right in town & walk to your morning coffee, check out the historic Hood River Hotel ($196+). Though it was built in 1888, the hotel has been recently updated with a hip new lobby & modern-everything. Rooms here are smaller than at the Best Western, but far more chic.
- Best B&B in Hood River: For quaint & charming, you can’t beat the Inn at the Gorge ($208+). With only five rooms, a garden & nice terrace to sip Mint Juleps on ~ this is the most intimate hotel choice in town. The bonus here is of course the fabulous breakfast that awaits you in the morning, getting you ready for a day of adventure….or leisure!
Where to Dine Friday Night…
So you’ve picked out your hotel & checked in….next up is figuring out where you want to go for dinner! Just head to Oak Street & you’ll find plenty of options: for Mexican food, try Love & Hominy Tacos, Modern Taco, or Lake Taco. In the brewing category, check out Full Sail Brew Pub or Pfriem Family Brewers. Or if cocktails are your jam, grab a table at Camp 1805 Distillery & Bar or Solstice Wood Fire Pizza Cafe & Bar.
Click on any of the restaurant names & it will take you to their website/menu.
For a great Friday nightcap: stay right on Oak Street & step into popular Evoke Winery for a sip of their Foreplay Chardonnay or Penetration Cab…
Saturday Itinerary for Hood River
It’s Saturday morning in Hood River: time for coffee & a good walk! Try Stoked Roasters, 10 Speed Coffee Bar, or super-popular Kickstand Coffee & Kitchen (which also serves breakfast & dinner). If you’re looking to grab a quick breakfast, check out Doppio Coffee, Pine Street Bakery, or River Daze Cafe.
Where to Walk in Hood River
Now, where to walk in Hood River: the Indian Creek Trail runs right through the heart of town, following Indian Creek ~ catch it at 12th & Pacific Avenue or at the 8th Street Trailhead. For a stunning 6-mile walk along the Columbia River, through old tunnels: check out Mosier Tunnels Trail. The photo below is of my friend Nina & our dogs at Mosier; nearly flat with a slight incline, so this is more of a walk than a hike. And the best thing about this walk, aside from the views, is how wide the trail/road is: there’s room for everyone here.
For waterfront walks, head to Hood River Waterfront Park, or Port Marina Park for a walk in the marina. Or start at Pfriem Family Brewers, then walk out to “The Hook,” & watch the paddle-boarders & wind-surfers. If you’re interested in renting gear, you can walk right over to Hood River SUP & Kayak & inquire about rates for the day.
Hood River’s Famous “Fruit Loop”
If it’s summertime in Hood River, make sure to check out their fabulous “Fruit Loop.” This is a perfect activity for families, couples, or girl’s getaways ~ everyone will enjoy taking a tour of the beautiful countryside surrounding Hood River, & stopping to pick your own fruit or sip a glass of wine! Popular stops include Draper Girls’ Country Farm (cute stop with cider, fruits, meats, & other foods), Lavender Valley Farms (the lavender starts blooming in June ~ & they sell all kinds of organic lavender products), & my favorite: the incredibly photogenic Gorge White House, which offers hard cider, wine, farm-fresh food, a food cart with burgers & sandwiches, fruit, & fresh flowers!
Saturday Night in Hood River
Try one of the places you didn’t try on Friday night’s list! After, if you’re done in, head back to your hotel for some Netflix & Chill time ~ or if you’re still up for a nightcap, check out Whiskey Tango’s Hot Toddy, or try several sips at Hood River Distillers Tasting Room. For live music, head over to Tarwater Tavern (across the river in Washington state); or in-town, try Volcanic Bottle Shoppe.
Sunday Itinerary for Hood River
Sunday is THE day to brunch: & your top choices for brunch in Hood River are Scandinavian-inspired Broder Ost (try a Danish Bloody Mary or Elderflower Mimosa here), Bette’s Place (more of a traditional American diner), or for a waterfront brunch ~ head to Riverside, set in the Best Western Hotel, for a delicious, slightly more upscale breakfast with a view.
Where to Wine Taste in Hood River
If you haven’t gone wine tasting yet: now’s your chance. You’ve got over 20 wineries to choose from here, but some of the absolute best are stunning Marchesi Vineyards (absolutely gorgeous setting), Phelps Creek Vineyards (located by a golf course, with delicious wines & Mt. Hood VIEWS), or if you don’t feel like leaving downtown ~ stop by Stave & Stone Winery & Tasting Room (they also have a winery outside of town) or Upsidedown Wine, which are both located on Oak Street.
Where to Hike by Hood River
If you’re headed back to Portland, make sure to save time for a hike in the stunning Gorge area. Some of my favorites, in order from least difficult to more difficult: Oneonta Gorge (great on a hot summer day, as you’re wading thru water for most of this flat “hike”), Horsetail Falls (see photo below), & one of the area’s most popular 4-mile hikes: Angel’s Rest. There’s also Multnomah Falls, which you can choose to either view from below the falls ~ or take the hike up & around them.
Click on any of the hikes above & it will give you more specific information about them.
Goodbye, Hood River….
That concludes our time in delightful little Hood River. I picked out some of the highlights, but remember: there is SO much to do in this part of the world!! From hikes in the Columbia Gorge, to stunning adventures around Mt. Hood, to Bend & beyond ~ leave some extra time in your schedule to explore this beautiful part of Oregon.
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