Hood River Hiking 2019-03-04T16:37:00+00:00

Hood River Hiking

Located near Oregon’s highest peak, Mt. Hood, and within the lush waterfall corridor of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River offers magnificent hiking all year long. You’ll find short family-friendly walks, long cardio workouts, and everything in between. And, with the Pacific Crest Trail and other long-distance trail options nearby, multi-day excursions are easy to plan.

Waterfall Hikes (Year-Round)

The Columbia River Gorge has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America, and within Hood River you will find many trails leading to them.

  • Wahclella Falls, located off Interstate 84 in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, is a 350-foot waterfall accessible via a 2.0-mile out-and-back hike. With just 200 feet of elevation gain, it’s a great trail for hikers of all ages. There are some steep drop-offs near the beginning of the trail, so if hiking with kids, keep a close eye on them. GO >
  • Dry Creek Falls, accessed via a segment of the Pacific Crest Trail within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, is anything but dry. This horsetail-shaped falls was once the water source for nearby Cascade Locks. Starting at the Bridget of the Gods Trailhead, this 8.6-mile round-trip hike has about 750 feet of elevation gain. GO >

Due to the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017, the Historic Columbia River Highway, including Wahclella and Dry Creek Falls, and the trails along it are closed from Larch Mountain to Hood River. View a list of nearby hikes to try.

Spring Wildflower Hikes

  • Mosier Plateau Trail, located just 5 miles east of Hood River in the town of Mosier, is a must-do hike during wildflower season. With more than 30 different flower species documented here, you’ll want to bring your camera. This 3.5-mile loop trail follows Mosier Creek through Pocket Park and ends on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust. The best time catch the wildflowers in bloom is March through May, with the peak of the wildflowers being mid-to-late April. GO >
  • Catherine Creek Labyrinth, on the Washington side of the Gorge east of Hood River, offers incredible wildflower diversity, along with epic gorge views. This 5.5-mile hike—which gains 1000 feet—is an out-and-back, so you can adjust your time on the trail as needed, if you just want to stop and revel in the spring abundance! GO >

Fall Foliage Hikes

  • Elk Cove, located in the Mt Hood Wilderness Area on the north side of Mt. Hood, is 10.5 round-trip hike to a stunning meadow. In July and August, the area is full of wildflowers. In September and October, it’s a great place to capture the fall foliage. This trail is popular among day hikers and backpackers. The trailhead is located at Laurence Lake, which is about 23 miles (40 minutes) from downtown Hood River. GO >
  • Punchbowl Falls is located at the confluence of the East Fork and West Fork of the Hood River about 12 miles from town near the community of Dee (not to be confused with the Punchbowl Falls on Eagle Creek). Punchbowl Falls has long been a popular take-out/put-in for whitewater kayakers. In 2006, Western Rivers Conservancy began purchasing the 102-acre property from Longview Fiber and PacifiCorp in an effort to conserve Salmon habitat. In 2016, Hood River County purchased the property and is working with local volunteers to improve and expand the trails. For now, visitors can take an easy, short hike to an overlook above the falls and continue along to a beach made of smooth, river rock, where you can take a dip, go fishing, or relax. Note: The water is very cold and currents in the main channel are strong, so take caution if attempting to swim. GO >
  • Surveyor’s Ridge Trail, located just 30 minutes south of Hood River, is popular among hikers, horseback riders and mountain bikers. On a clear day, it offers fantastic views of the entire Hood River Valley, Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier.  The northern trailhead begins below the power lines off Pinemont Drive (Forest Road 17) and ends at the junction with Dog River Trail #675 and Zigzag Trail #678. GO >

In-Town Trails

  • The Indian Creek Trail includes three segments stretching from 2nd and Hazel streets in downtown Hood River to Hood River High School. The trail, maintained by Hood River Parks and Recreation District, is a multi-use dirt trail. Be on the lookout for cycists. GO >
  • The 2.8 mile-long Hood River Waterfront Trail connects “The Hook” on the west side of Hood River waterfront to the Best Western Hotel on the east side. The paved trail is open to walkers, runners and cyclists. Stop along the way to watch kiteboarders and windsurfers sailing across the river during the summertime, or to play at Waterfront Park. GO >

Hiking Resources

  • Hiking in the Hood River Ranger District Every trail you’d ever hope to find in the Mt. Hood National Forest Hood River Ranger District is on this website by the USFS. It also houses a handy map of trail locations, so you can better utilize your basecamp location. Enjoy!
  • Friends of the Columbia Gorge Use this site to search over 100 wonderful Gorge hikes. You can search by distance, elevation gain, trail features, and overall difficulty. The Friends of the Gorge also offer hiking guide services and other useful information about hiking in the area.
  • Backpacking in the Hood River Ranger District The Mt. Hood National Forest, Hood River Ranger District website has the most extensive list of area trails for backpackers. (Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the backpacking areas.)
  • The Pacific Crest Trail Association Check here to find out about closures on the Pacific Crest Trail, or call 1-888-PCTRAIL (728-7245).
  • Hiking Loops Near Multnomah Falls Download this hiking map for trails around Multnomah Falls off of the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway 30.
  • Interactive Hiking Guide Find hikes around the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Due to the Eagle Creek Fire of 2017, the Historic Columbia River Highway and the trails along it are closed from Larch Mountain to Hood River. View a list of nearby hikes to try.

Before you go, Ready, Set, Gorge


  • Go early (before 10:00 a.m.), go late (after 4:00 p.m.) or go East (beyond the popular waterfall area of the western Gorge.)
  • Carpool or take a public transit or private shuttle to reduce the number of cars on the road.
  • Extend your stay to three days to explore the towns and trails of the Gorge. There is so much to see and do, you will want to take your time, particularly this year with numerous special events commemorating the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Historic Columbia River Highway.
  • Go by bike: join a bike tour group and take the family to sections of the Historic Columbia River Highway and state trail that are closed to motorized vehicles.


  • Take the time to tell someone where you are going and when you plan to be home.
  • If hiking or camping, bring the 10 essentials recommended by the American Hiking Society.
  • Acquire the proper permits.


While most recreation sites and trails that were affected by Eagle Creek Fire remain closed, there are still plentiful recreation opportunities in the Columbia River Gorge.  Visit Friends of the Gorge for a comprehensive list of open hikes.