Wind & Water 2017-01-05T08:09:01+00:00

Wind & Water

It’s almost paradoxical that in the heart of an area known for its scenic wonders, it is an invisible force that shaped the region. The only thing more abundant than pears in Hood River is the wind.

Zach Dischner

The wind is the sustaining and driving force of the Columbia Gorge region. From late spring to early fall, it blows steady and strong from the Pacific Ocean to the east. As fall slouches toward winter and the weather turns cooler, the winds come fierce and cool from the Rockies and high desert to the west.

What do you do with an ever-present and overwhelming force? You learn to play nice. Windsurfing exploded onto the sport scene in the 1980s and Hood River quickly became the fledgling pastime’s summer mecca. By the 90s, wind sports were outpacing snow skiing in growth, and Hood River already had gear manufacturers, athletes, and a growing tourism industry based around wind sports.

Countless Hood River residents moved here for the wind and found a way to stay. They went on to run restaurants, galleries, farms, and non-profits—they helped to build the town into the modern, influential place it has become.

Those gear manufacturers founded by wind seekers began to make components for the aviation industry, the oil industry, and the defense department. Now engineers from a wide range of fields are bolstering the workforce.

The winds in Columbia River Gorge are too prevalent to be harnessed, but we have found a way to tag along as they shape the towns, counties and communities that make up Hood River.


Known as the windsurfing capital of the world, it’s a given we have lots of wind in Hood River County. With the Columbia River Gorge in our front yard and easy accessibility from Hood River, Cascade Locks, and other nearby towns, we truly are a windsurfing mecca. Novice or expert; we welcome you to come enjoy the sport we’ve loved for so long.


Hood River has long been known as the windsurfing capital of the world. Now we can boast that “kiteboarding capital of the world” is not far off. It seems no matter what the season kiteboarders flock here to be challenged by the mighty Columbia River.


If you love to sail you’ll love all the beautiful places to do it in Hood River County. The Columbia River Gorge is famous for its consistent wind, so you’ll be sure to have a memorable adventure. Bring your own boat, or take a lesson while you’re here and enjoy beautiful Hood River County from the water.

Rafting, Kayaking & SUP

Whatever your speed, Hood River’s watercraft outfitters have you covered. Choose from guided rafting trips on a number of local rivers, whitewater kayak lessons and instruction, and even raft-guide school.


Fishing opportunities abound in the Columbia Gorge for experienced and beginning anglers alike. Rivers and streams, high elevation lakes and ponds provide a diverse range of settings where you can cast a line, or just sit back and enjoy the scenery.