Hood River is the urbane hub of Oregon’s scenic “Garden of Eden.” The town extends from the Columbia River waterfront up steep slopes of the gorge into the gentle Hood River Valley at the base of Oregon’s most spectacular landmark–glacier-shrouded Mt. Hood. Thanks to a relatively mild four-season climate, lush orchards fill the little basin. The town’s largest industry, fruit growing, is also one of its most compelling attractions (scenic fruit loop drives).
In the early 1800s the accounts of Lewis and Clark attracted explorers and fur traders to the Columbia River Gorge. Hood River prospered as a transportation center, and from rich soils and a sheltered climate that led to the first commercial orchard in 1876. Over the years, the area has become the nation’s largest source of winter pears, along with a cornucopia of apples, peaches, cherries and other deciduous fruits, plus burgeoning vineyards.
Hood River’s downtown is an appealing mix of historic and newer buildings, many offering gorge views from restaurants and lodgings–even from the brewery and well-sited public library. (Unfortunately, there are also parking meters in the only Oregon great town with them.) Restaurants make good use of local fresh food sources, while view lodgings include one of the West’s gems, the Columbia Gorge Hotel. Nearby Mt. Hood sustains winter sports year-round. Months of ideal weather support a wealth of summer sports, while windy conditions on the Columbia River make this a favored destination for wind-surfing and kite-boarding at public beaches and parks.
For more information, go to Hood River Chamber of Commerce.
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