Hiking Hood River
Easily billed as one of the last intensive, family-friendly, dog-friendly, heart-healthy activities there is, hiking is second nature to the locals of Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge region. Join them as they tackle the trails, from easy to strenuous, in this area that Mother Nature so richly blessed. You’ll find all level of hiking near your Hood River accommodations, something for everyone, from day hikers to overnighters.
You’ll find that much of hiking Hood River is centered on the area’s plentiful waterfalls. If you’d like a tour of the falls good for hiking in the area, consider contacting one of the esteemed tour companies that know the area so well, including Martin’s Gorge Tours. A Columbia Gorge waterfall loop is a great idea on a hot summer day, through Oneonta Gorge and Ponytail Falls. For directions to the area’s favorite falls, see Columbia Gorge Scenic Waterfalls.
For hiking Hood River, check out the options and tips on the following websites:
Hood River Ranger District: This site, managed by the USFS, offers a map of trailheads in the area.
Friends of the Columbia Gorge: Here you’ll find more than 100 favorite Gorge hikes categorized by trail features, elevation gain, difficulty and distance. If you need assistance in planning or even accompaniment on your hike, Friends of the Columbia Gorge also offer hiking guide services and planned group hikes throughout the year.
The Gorge Is My Gym: Get the lowdown on four of the region’s most popular hikes. These include Tamanawas Falls, Dog Mountain, Eliot Glacier and Falls Creek Falls.
Pacific Crest Trail Association: Here, backpackers will find an extensive list of trails in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
Portland Hikers Field Guide: This comprehensive list is a fantastic starting point, with details including distance, difficulty level, elevation gain and a brief trail description when hiking Hood River.
A few favorites when hiking Hood River include:
Multnomah Falls Hike: This moderate two-mile trail climbs 700 feet along paved switchbacks that ultimately land you at the top of the state’s highest waterfall. Explore the Multnomah Falls Lodge at the base of the falls, a historic building dating back to 1925. Be sure to take a photo of the famed Benson Bridge, built in 1914.
Angel’s Rest: While not for families, due to its cliffside drop-offs, Angel’s Rest boasts a 270-degree view and is a favorite of experienced hikers. Beacon Rock and Silver Star Mountain are both glimpsed from the summit. The easy-to-moderate climb is 2.4 miles one way and you’ll pass two waterfalls along the way, Coopey Falls and Upper Coopey Falls.
Elowah Falls: This extremely popular and beginner-friendly hike can be combined with the Upper McCord Creek Falls Hike. This is a great choice for low effort that results in “wow” views at the end.
Tamanawas Falls: A traditional choice for families hiking Hood River, Tamanawas Falls is at the eastern base of Mount Hood. Adventurous and sure-footed folks can climb around the right of the falls to reach the amphitheater behind the curtain of thundering water, an awesome experience to be sure.
Dog Mountain: On the more difficult end of the spectrum, this popular hike in the eastern Columbia River Gorge boasts views of Mount Saint Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Defiance and the tippy top of Mount Hood. Alpine wildflowers are in abundance in the springtime.
Falls Creek Falls: Another waterfall favorite, these falls are located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Look for three tiers, the first dropping 60 feet, then second over a 90-foot cliff and then a 70-foot thunderous drop to a huge bowl at the base of the falls.