Top 5 Reasons to Make Hood River Your Winter Base Camp
There’s fresh snow on Mount Hood, which means it’s time for winter vacation planning. Hood River is the perfect winter destination with something for everyone, both on and off the slopes.
Located in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Hood River is a welcoming winter destination for art lovers, foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and anyone just looking to get away from it all. Here are just a few compelling reasons to plan a winter vacation to Hood River this year:
1. There’s no better place to take a nature bath. When you stay in Hood River, you’ll find lots of ways to get back to nature. Go for a hike on one of the local trails. Cross-country ski or snowshoe in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Take a bike ride on the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Or check out the area’s beautiful vineyards during Thanksgiving Wine Weekend.
2. Hit the slopes! Just 45 minutes from downtown Hood River are two great ski options: Mt. Hood Meadows, the mountain’s biggest ski area, and Cooper Spur Mountain Resort, which is perfect for families. A huge extra incentive: Throughout the winter season, those who stay at participating Hood River lodging partners gain access to special Ski & Stay deals for Mt. Hood Meadows (see below for additional details).
After an awesome day on the slopes, ease back down from the mountain via the beautiful Highway 35 (avoiding congested Highway 26). Once in town, refuel at one of Hood River’s great brewpubs or restaurants, and then spend the night. Need a down day? Go wine tasting, museum hoppingor shopping in historic downtown.
3. A cornucopia of art. The winter season is jam-packed at the Columbia Center for the Arts (215 Cascade Ave.), which offers a full calendar of eventsranging from live performances to lectures to painting classes—and just about everything in between. Spend a sunny day discovering the unique sculptures along Hood River’s BIG ART Walk. This 4.5-mile walking tour of public art winds its way around the community, including stops at local eateries. Or you can browse the numerous galleries and shops featuring local artists.
4. Breathtaking scenery. With a dry, arid climate and fascinating geology, the eastern Columbia River Gorge offers year-round hiking opportunities. Located within a 20- to 30-minute drive from Hood River, local hiking trails such as Catherine Creek, Columbia Hills State Park, and the Deschutes River Trail are off the beaten path and nothing short of spectacular. After your hike, go wine tasting at one of the area’s beautiful vineyards.
5. Post-holiday recovery. With its Gorge-ous views, spas, coffee shops and more, Hood River is the perfect place to unwind in January and recover from the holiday season. The historic Columbia Gorge Hotel is also home to Spa Remedease, where you can immerse yourself in one of their relaxing spa treatments, from a holistic facial to a couples massage. Want to kick back with a good book? Stop by Waucoma Bookstore in downtown to find their staff picks for good reads. Then head to local favorite Dog River Coffee for a freshly brewed cup of joe or tea while sitting in cozy armchair.
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