Guidebook

Best Hikes near Hood River, Oregon

Explore the incredible hiking opportunities surrounding Hood River, Oregon.

Greg Heil

Description

The town of Hood River occupies a unique geographical location. On one side of town, the mighty Columbia River flows through a deep gorge on its way to the Pacific Ocean. On almost any given day, windsurfers flock to the river thanks to the vertical walls that funnel ripping winds down the canyon, creating one of the best windsurfing destinations in the country. Beyond the river, Mount Adams forms an imposing backdrop, and on a clear day, you may even see Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier in the distance.

On the other side of town, the massive volcano of Mount Hood soars straight into the sky, its upper slopes covered in the bright white of glaciers. In between Hood River and Mount Hood, verdant valleys are home to countless vineyards, and rolling hills lead to foothill mountains covered in the massive pine forests that Oregon is known for.

All throughout this varied landscape, you’ll find trails: rocky tracks clinging to the canyon walls above the Columbia River, loamy trails of dark black dirt running beneath the towering forest canopy, steep climbs to the peaks of mountains, and almost every other trail variant you can think of. Yes, Hood River provides a nearly overwhelming array of trails to choose from!

In this guidebook, you'll find a deep cut of the best hikes near Hood River. You'll find long-distance ultra-classics, such as the Timberline Trail circumnavigating Mount Hood and several nearby sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. The close-to-town peak climb of Mount Defiance might seem smaller, but at almost 5,000 vertical feet, it is still a formidable challenge!

Hood River is rich with intermediate hikes that can easily be accomplished in a half-day while still reaching incredible views. Two of the most famous are Tamanawas Falls and the hike above Laurance Lake, but the lesser-known Syncline trails above the Columbia River Gorge are also worth investigating.

Finally, there are plenty of short, easy hikes leading to spectacular views—mostly waterfalls—to choose from. The Starvation Creek Waterfalls hike serves up four waterfalls in just two miles, and Wahclella Falls is a perennial favorite. Finally, Catherine Creek Arch on the opposite side of the gorge reaches a rare (for this region) arch formation while also serving up incredible views of Mount Hood.

No matter which trail you choose, it's tough to go wrong while hiking in Hood River!

Tamanawas Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Tamanawas Falls

1 - 2 hrs
5.2 km
159 m
159 m
A beautiful hike through a narrow stream valley leads to a picture-perfect waterfall.
Moderate
Private
Laurance Lake
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Laurance Lake

2 - 3 hrs
10.7 km
367 m
366 m
Gain otherworldly views of Mount Hood from this ridge above Laurance Lake.
Difficult
Private
Wahclella Falls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Wahclella Falls

0 - 1 hrs
2.8 km
149 m
149 m
Hike up a steep-walled gorge to find two unique waterfalls, and witness the resilience of this forest following a wildfire.
Moderate
Private
Starvation Creek Waterfalls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Starvation Creek Waterfalls

0 - 1 hrs
3.3 km
87 m
87 m
You'll get to enjoy not just one, not just two, but *four* incredible waterfalls on this short walk!
Moderate
Private
Catherine Creek Arch Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Catherine Creek Arch Loop

0 - 1 hrs
3.0 km
119 m
119 m
Arches are rare in this area of the nation, making Catherine Creek Arch a highly attractive destination.
Easy
Private
Mount Defiance
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Mount Defiance

5 - 6 hrs
17.2 km
1,513 m
1,513 m
Climb the highest point of the Columbia River Gorge.
Difficult
Private
Syncline Trails: Big Loop
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Syncline Trails: Big Loop

3 - 4 hrs
10.6 km
551 m
551 m
A respectable hike that makes the most of the best trails in the Syncline network.
Difficult
Private
Timberline Trail
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

Timberline Trail

Timberline Lodge
1 day +
62.1 km
3,265 m
3,265 m
One of the finest backpacking routes in the Pacific Northwest!
Difficult
Private
PCT: Lolo Pass to Cascade Locks
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PCT: Lolo Pass to Cascade Locks

1 day +
51.3 km
1,755 m
2,784 m
Miles 2114.2-2146.9 of the northbound PCT: Finishing the state of Oregon with a winding ridge walk, then a grueling descent to the Columbia River at the Washington border, and the lowest elevation on the PCT.
Difficult
Private
PCT: Eagle Creek Alternate
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP's Editorial team.

PCT: Eagle Creek Alternate

5 - 6 hrs
22.8 km
406 m
1,642 m
A popular trail beside jaw-dropping waterfalls, recently reopened following a fire.
Moderate
Private