Why Hood River might be one of the best adventure areas in the US

Nestled in a wind-scoured crook of the Columbia River Gorge, between the glaciers of Mount Hood and the rivers of southern Washington, Hood River, Oregon, is a multi-sport paradise. Here’s how to take advantage.

Kite and windsurfing

Surfing in the gorge. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Oregon
For years, Hood River, where the wind naturally funnels down the gorge, was known as the windsurfing capital of the world. When kitesurfing started to gain popularity in the early 2000s, it became a destination for that, too.

Now you can see surfers out on the river almost any day of the year. If it’s not your sport, you can watch the show from the waterfront park.

Mountain biking

Biking the goods near Mount Hood, Oregon. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Oregon
There is a glut of good mountain biking trails in the area; you can link up hundreds of miles of singletrack. Start at dense, varied Post Canyon, which is close to town and has something for everyone.


“But it’s summer!” you say. Never fear: You can ski at Timberline Ski Area, on the Mount Hood glacier, almost any time of year.

If you like your snow sports with a side of suffering, the volcanic cones of Mount Hood and nearby Mount Adams are classic ski mountaineering descents that are often accessible well into the summer.

Whitewater paddling

Whitewater for everyone. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Oregon
Some of the best kayakers in the world make their home in the Hood River area, and CANOE & KAYAK named it one of the best paddling towns in the country. That’s because the Little White Salmon, one of the gnarliest creeks out there, runs right nearby.

There’s a range of other boating too. You can raft the White Salmon, Klickatat, Hood River and more.

Waterfall watching

Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s biggest. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Oregon
The Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America. You can get to a lot of them, including 620-foot Multnomah and mossy, cascading Fairy Falls.

Fruit eating

Hood River is one of the biggest fruit-producing regions in the country. You can drive or bike the 35-mile Fruit Loop around town, stopping at farms along the way, or head to the Saturday farmer’s market to pick up veggies from places like Tumbleweed Farm.

Beer drinking

Enough said. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Oregon
It’s totally a sport. Especially in Hood River, which has a highly competitive density of great breweries. Stop by old standby Full Sail, get pizza and beer at Double Mountain or hang at the pFriem fire pit.

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