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 >
- Tamanawas Falls, located off Oregon Highway 35 in the Mt Hood National Forest is accessed via a popular 3.5-mile loop trail. Hike on foot during the summer or snowshoe in the winter to 100-foot falls that you can walk behind. GO >
Spring Wildflower Hikes
- Hood River Mountain is a favorite destination among locals due to its close proximity to town (4 miles northeast of downtown) and its panoramic views of the Hood River Valley. A 3-mile loop trail climbs 600 feet to the high point on the ridge at an elevation of 2,048 feet. Capture the fruit orchards below and balsamroot on this hillside in full bloom during the spring, and the fall colors blazing a trail through the valley floor in the fall. Note, this hike is located on private property and could change over time. GO >
- 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 >
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 >
- Starvation Creek State Park, located off Interstate 84 about 18 miles west of Hood River in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, offers countless trails. From the parking area, hike 0.1 miles to Starvation Creek Falls, an elegant 190-foot cascade well worth a visit. You can continue east along a remnant of the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail to Viento State Park and campground. If you’re looking for a longer, more strenuous hike, connect to the Starvation Ridge trail or to the Mt Defiance Trail, which rises to an elevation of 5,010 feet in the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness in Mt. Hood National Forest). GO >
- 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 >
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.
- For trip ideas and itineraries, visit hoodriver.org and traveloregon.com/cities-regions/columbia-river-gorge.
- For trail and permit information, visit https://gorgefriends.org/trailheadpasses.
- 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