Distance: 9 miles out-and-back
Bike Recommendation: Road or cyclocross bike in dry or wet conditions, mountain bike in snow.
Part of the Columbia River Highway State Trail, this section of the highway was abandoned in 1954 with the construction of Interstate 84 and then reopened in 2000 to walkers and cyclists only. The 4.5-mile segment between Mosier and Hood River features numerous lookouts, spectacular basalt cliffs, and two tunnels that were created during the construction of the original highway. It passes through two climate zones — temperate on the west and semi-arid on the east, creating a diverse landscape.
The west end of the trail starts less than one mile — but about 400 vertical feet — from downtown Hood River. Unless you want a steep hill climb, drive yourself and your bikes to the Mark O. Hatfield Trailhead, where there’s a $5 day use fee. The trail can get icy in the winter, so before you go check weather conditions before you go and choose the right bike – or hiking shoes.
Avid cyclists turn this into a longer 26-mile ride by continuing along the Historic Columbia River highway to the scenic overlook at Rowena Crest before turning around and heading back to Hood River.