When it comes to finding outdoor adventure playgrounds it’s hard to do better than Hood River, Oregon. Whenever outdoor enthusiasts publications start listing havens for adventure lovers, Hood River is often landing near the top, and for good reason. The tiny little town 40 miles up the Columbia River Gorge from Portland, is home to a variety of activities that make for year round fun. Brian Lippy is a diehard adventure sports enthusiast who moved to Hood River from Colorado. Here are five reasons why…
Kayaking: Hood River is a hub for some of the best white water kayakers in the world. With water being ubiquitous in Oregon, tributaries like the White Salmon River (which drains into the Columbia) flow year-round. The White Salmon is home to enough challenging rapids to satisfy even the world’s most daring river rats. According to Canoe and Kayak magazine, that’s one reason why Hood River is the northwest hub of white water kayaking activity. The town is packed with kayaking stores, and plenty of tour operators.
Kite Boarding: The Columbia River Gorge is a natural wind funnel, and from spring through fall that means kite boarders are out in droves along the banks of Hood River. Brandon Scheld and Sensi Graves are pro kiteboarders who love calling this area their home. “It’s rare to have the wind blowing under 20 knots,” says Scheld, “So this is a kite boarding mecca.”
Skiing and snowboarding: Of course, the most prominent feature in the Hood River zone is Mount Hood, which towers more than 11,000 feet over The Gorge, and is home to more than 12 named glaciers, and six different ski areas. The glaciers make the mountain a year-round destination for diehards who can’t wait for winter.
Hiking: Between numerous waterfall trails in and around The Gorge, the Timberline Trail that circumnavigates Mount Hood, or Nestor Peak on the Washington side which offers a pulled back scenic few of the whole region, there’s no shortage of incredible hikes to be had. It all depends on what kind of workout are you up for?
Paragliding: The Columbia River Gorge is home to a number of slopes that make for perfect launching spots for paragliders, which is why they represent another fast growing community in the region. The steady winds, huge landing zones, and incredible views from above make it an attractive place to take flight.
Mountain Biking: With an endless supply open space and a variety of hills and ridges in the area it’s no surprise that Mountain Biking is another favorite activity for Hood River locals. Surveyor’s Ridge, Gunsight Ridge, and Sandy Ridge are all dreamlike rides for the downhill set, with each one lasting more than 15 miles.
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