5 Reasons to Make Hood River Your Winter Basecamp

’Tis the season for relaxing with family and friends, playing in the snow, and enjoying Oregon’s bounty. Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River, Ore., is a welcoming winter destination.

Here are five great reasons to plan a winter vacation to Hood River this year:

Ski, Stay & Save!

Throughout the winter season, stay at participating Hood River lodging partners and gain access to a 4-out-of-6-Day Adult Lift Pass to Mt. Hood Meadows for just $129. Additional Ski & Stay deals include a Single-Day Adult Lift Pass for just $64 and a Single-Day Junior (age 7-14) Lift Pass for $39. With no blackout dates, this deal is a great way to ring in the New Year or spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.

Go Small (Town) This Holiday Season With Hood River’s Holiday Parade & Holiday Shopping

Hood River is inviting visitors to get into the holiday spirit and celebrate the season—plus support local businesses, which are still recovering from the impact of the Eagle Creek Fire—by working the Gorge into their plans this November and December.

Hood River’s heartwarming holiday parade and tree lighting is a small-town tradition that often comes with many surprises. Mark your calendars for Friday, Dec. 1, when the parade will begin at 6 p.m. at Oak and Seventh Streets, followed by the city tree lighting and live music. Before the parade, and throughout the month, enjoy stress-free shopping in Hood River’s historic downtown, where you can find something for everyone on your list—and support small businesses at the same time. (You won’t get views of Mount Adams and Mount Hood while shopping in a mall or from your couch!)

The neighboring town of Mosier is holding the Mosier Country Christmas Fair on Dec. 2-3. This annual benefit for the Mosier School has more than 65 vendor booths featuring artisans, crafts, food and more. Kids can have their picture taken with Santa from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Admission is $2 plus a canned food item. (Children under 12 are free.)

Breathtaking Scenery

With a dry, arid climate and fascinating geology, the eastern Columbia River Gorge offers year-round hiking opportunities. Located within a 20- to 30-minute drive from Hood River, local hiking trails such as Catherine Creek, Columbia Hills State Park, and the Deschutes River Trail are off the beaten path and nothing short of spectacular. After your hike, go wine tasting at one of the area’s beautiful vineyards.

Cornucopia of Art

The winter season is jam-packed at the Columbia Center for the Arts (215 Cascade Ave.), which offers a full calendar of events ranging from live performances to lectures to painting classes—and just about everything in between. Spend a sunny day discovering the unique sculptures along Hood River’s BIG ART Walk. This 4.5-mile walking tour of public art winds its way around the community, including stops at local eateries.

Post-Holiday Recovery

With its Gorge-ous views, spas, coffee shops and more, Hood River is the perfect place to unwind in January and recover from the holiday season. There are many personal care and spa options where you can immerse yourself in relaxing spa treatments, from a holistic facial to a couples massage.

Want to kick back with a good book? Stop by Waucoma Bookstore in downtown Hood River to find their staff picks for good reads. Then head to a local coffee shop or restaurant for a freshly brewed cup of joe or tea, decadent treats, and charming staff.

Looking for more Hood River winter vacation ideas? Check out HoodRiver.org.