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umbrellafallsHood River is an awesome spot for hiking! Trek through the forest, climb a mountain, stroll along the river bike out of this world trails all in one loop.

Lost Lake – Nice easy stroll around the entire lake – stunning views along the way, located in Dee

Walk the ice caves on Mt Adams

Tour the turbines at Bonneville and The Dalles Dams

Dog MountainTrailhead – steep, steep, and more steep – amazing views once you make it!

Oak Ridge Trail

Tawanamas Falls Trail – an HRVR favorite! Best in the late spring early summer.

Dog River Trail – just off of HWY 35 beautiful so pretty in the summer!

Laurence Lake – sparkly lake to admire while your hikin’

Multnomah Falls – on your way from PDX stop for your first hike

Twin Tunnels – epic views of The Columbia – easy paved path great for biking also, perfect for beginning bikers

Umbrella Falls – (shown in the picture) on your way up to the mountain this is a wonderful hike through the shaded woods to a beautiful waterfall.

umbrellafallsWaterfalls are a plenty in The Columbia River Gorge. There are over 20! One of the first things we always tell our guests is be sure to stop at all the waterfalls on your trip from the PDX airport. It’s a straight shot once you get onto I-84 from the Portland Airport to Hood River with SO many waterfalls in just a 45 minute drive. If you are  feeling lazy or if it is raining cats and dogs you can just do the drive by route on Highway 30. If you have time or want to get in the true Pacific Northwest spirit and hike some trails these are the ones worth the trek! If you only have time to make it to just one on your drive from the airport, may we suggest the largest of the bunch – Multnomah Falls the typically the main attraction and tallest coming in at a 600 foot fall Standing at the bottom of this guy is sure to knock your socks off when you first land in Oregon! You can take an easy walking path up for a closer view and even get a little spritzer from Oregon’s finest Mt. Hood watershed. Once you arrive in Hood River I have a personal favorite for you to check out – this one does involve hiking, so strap on your boots and find a hiking stick! Drive South on Hwy 35 heading towards Government Camp and Mount Hood approximately 25 – 30 miles from Hood River. Close to 4 miles round trip and well worth it the hike – you can even climb up to the falls and stand under them should you be feeling very adventurous! For a complete list of all of the waterfalls in the area check out Columbia River Gorge Info. They have done an excellent job of compiling all the waterfalls in the area! Happy travels! photo credit to Lewis Taylor

waterfrontparkHood River Oregon is a wonderland for bigs and littles alike! Take a peak at our top 10 things to do with kids in Hood River and The Columbia River Gorge…




  1. Waterfront Park – bang the drums, climb the walls, spin till your sick!
  2. Hiking – there are some excellent hikes for little ones a few of our favorites would be Tamawanas Fall Trail, Lost Lake Loop Trail, and Umbrella Falls Trail are just a few of our favorites.
  3. G. Willikers – just try and get your kids out of here in a hurry! It will not happen so much to see so much to play with so much to do!
  4. Cicci’s Gelato – mmmm.. such a refreshing way to end the day at the waterfront park.
  5. Biking the Mosier Twin Tunnels – This is excellent bike as little or as long as you would like, if you are feeling up for it you can actually bike the whole way to the next town over – Mosier! There have been known sightings of bobcats and eagles:)
  6. Mike’s Ice Cream– Always a hit located right downtown in the heart of all the action complete with a fort!
  7. Mount Hood Railroad – There are a few train rides that have proven again and again to be a big hit with the kiddos – Western Robbery Train Ride, Thomas the Train Ride and of course The Polar Express.
  8. Sandbar – This would be my daughter’s favorite – just a day of sand and water play left to your own imagination of whatever you make of it – also within walking of Cicci’s Gelato, Solstice (super kid friendly restaurant) and The Local Grind.
  9. Stand up paddling – Kids can totally do this on a non windy day at The Columbia River or you can head up to Lost Lake – which is just beautiful crystal clear water. You can rent paddle boards at either place.
  10. Movies – Okay so this is not my first choice for Spring, Summer or Fall but sometimes those Winter months a movie could be just the ticket for happiness, we have 2 theaters in little old Hood River… Hood River Cinemas and Andrew’s Skylight Theater and Pub.



waterplayOne of the best things about Hood River is that there is always something to do! But if you are kid “Adventure Town” takes on a whole new meaning! Kids could spend a day…  literally a day from sun up to sun down with non stop action at the waterfront.


Usually our day goes something like this in the Summer (when I am not styling someone into a Hood River Vacation Rental home) We head to The Columbia River waterfront at the sand bar – spread out a blanket and get out the sand shovels start digging a little,  trying ever so hard to create something that remotely resembles Mt. Hood  – then dip our toes a little, splash around just waiting for the rental shops to open up to rent a paddle board for the day  Big Winds and Gorge Paddling Center just to name a few of the experts – eventually everyone gets a little grouchy – this must mean one thing… lunch time! Here is where the decisions start so many options just steps away – The Local Grind yummy teriiyaki, The Sandbar cafe, grab a beer and burger and you set! Stroll a bit further down the waterfront path and of course you come to the kid favorite (and adult:) Solstice – we try and wait to hold off for Cicci’s Gelato later in the day – hah! Like that is going to happen usually directly after lunch, truth be told sometimes before:) It’s just so darn delicious personal shout out to chocolate hazelnut! Burn all of those delicious calories while chasing around those little ones on the playground – which is full of fun stuff!  Climbing walls, bouncy seats, run-a-bouts and musical instruments! If they are completely tuckered out by then, take a stroll, scooter or bike down the paved path along the riverfront.

pow1Dogs in Hood River Oregon

I am a dog and I live in Hood River I know it’s doggy Nirvana.

Some may be a little put off by the less than canine friendly history. Don’t be fooled that they named the town after us, – Dog River. Sounds like true recognition but NO, they actually ate our furry brethren. Call themselves civilized? I don’t think so.

But it’s easy to forget this dark history (there are some benefits in having a short attention span) when you get to drag your “owner” sic. down to the waterfront and run wild and make them throw a Frisbee for you 2000 times. Yes it’s crazy good down at the Columbia River waterfront. Running and swimming and running and chewing sticks. When you get tired you can even find something really good to roll in (oops tmi). The Hood River is much cooler for summer swimming for those of us with thick fur. And then there’s snow! Even in the summer. Imagine -more running, sniffing and rolling pleasure.

There are a million cool hikes. Choose from tall grass, ferns, sage brush, sand, rocks, fallen trees and waterfalls. Forest, desert, meadows, mountains and beaches. My favorite is Dog Mountain (it’s an easy name for me to remember). They think I’m so cute smelling the wild flowers (heh heh …suckers!).

I love the seasons. Napping in the hot sun. Romping in the squishy mud, cruising with the wind at my tail. I love the restaurants and cafes. My personal fave is Gorge Dog 🙂 Petting ops galore and a little cleanup here and there- just to help out. I’m not sure I get the whole beer thing thou’. Why would they drink that weedy tasting foamy stuff and then laugh all silly. It’s a mystery to me. Dog River Coffee is much better.

For the art loving pooch amongst us there are all these great outdoor sculptures to pee on.

Yes Hood River is the best place on the planet to be a dog.

Canoeing on Lost Lake near Mt. Hood, Oregon.In the June 2015 issue Sunset magazine will name our little town of Hood River The Best Adventure Town and we are stoked! From biking and hiking to kayaking and white water rafting to world class kiteboarding and windsurfing no wonder we are on the map for adventure. The sweeping scenery of the mighty Columbia River Gorge make for a perfect back drop to frolic and play in the wonder of a town. With Mt. Hood also in the background just minutes away lead to epic winter recreation as well. Most years Timberline Lodge even offers year round skiing and snowboarding!  It’s no wonder people are heading to Hood River for vacation or even trying their best to relocate to this perfect spot for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts. If you are unable to make the jump to move here make sure you stay in style for your vacation with us at Hood River Vacation Rentals.