1. Lose yourself in fruit blossoms.
To take it all in, visitors can drive the gorgeous Hood River County Fruit Loop, a gorgeous 35-mile drive that follows the county’s Scenic Tour Route and passes the valley’s plethora of orchards, wineries and farms.
Blossom-lovers can drive it in its entirety or in short hops from Hood River. Stop along the way to pick up baked goods, preserves, yarn, fresh produce, wine, cider and more.
During the month of April, the area celebrates spring with the annual Hood River Valley Blossom Time (April 1-30), featuring family-friendly farm events, craft shows, culinary treats, wine and cider tasting, and the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest (April 16).
2. Get a taste of Hood River’s craft hard cider scene at the Hood River Hard-Pressed Cider Fest on April 16.
Now in its third year, this family-friendly event is an opportunity for seasoned and novice cider drinkers alike to sample the best of Hood River County and other Northwest cideries. More than 20 cideries will be there, with more than 30 ciders on tap. The day-long event also features local food vendors, produce and arts vendors, a kid’s area and a line-up of local music, from bluegrass to classic rock. Spring showers aren’t a problem, as the tasting takes place in a covered hall.
With 11 cideries and counting, Hood River is at the forefront of the new national hard cider movement. These craft cider makers source fruit from the over 440 orchardists surrounding their production facilities to make a unique, local product.
Each of the Hood River-area craft cideries has its distinct personality.
3. Get up close and personal with the Historic Columbia River Highway during its centennial year.
2016 marks the 100th anniversary of this Oregon icon, and visitors can walk and bike the Columbia Gorge Historic Highway State Trail from the Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead.
This 5-mile trail section – which is closed to vehicles – features amazing views of the Gorge and passage through a double tunnel. It ends near the small town of Mosier. A great family adventure!
When it was dedicated in 1916, the Historic Columbia River Highway was considered one of the great engineering feats of the early 20th century. America’s first scenic highway, it runs a total length of 73 miles through the Columbia River Gorge. It was modeled after the great scenic roads of Europe and designed to accommodate Model T cars, plus showcase the natural beauty of the Columbia Gorge.
Today, the Historic Columbia River Highway and State Trail looks and feels much like it did in 1920s, but it is no longer simply a highway for cars. The two-lane road is divided into different segments – some of which are only accessible by foot and bicycle – and is one of the most amazing 73 miles visitors can experience in Oregon.
4. Take a wildflower hike.
This trail, completed in Summer 2013, begins in the town of Mosier, follows Mosier Creek through the Pocket Park (community park), and then ends up on Mosier Plateau, which is owned by Friends of the Columbia Gorge Land Trust.
The best time to hike is March through May. Top off your hike with a cider or pizza from Rack & Cloth in Mosier.
5. Head to a waterfall.
Spring run-off from Mt. Hood means thundering waterfalls in the the Columbia River Gorge, which has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America.
Beautiful Tamanawas Falls is just 20 minutes from downtown Hood River. A 3.5-mile loop takes hikers to a 125-foot falls that you can walk behind into a large dry cave. Other Gorge waterfall hikes can be found at Friends of the Columbia Gorge.