It’s hard to believe, but fall is officially here! The weather is changing and pumpkin spiced lattes are all the rage again. Pretty soon, the Pacific Northwest will become an explosion of red, yellow and orange—creating one of America’s favorite autumn destinations!
To help you maximize the season, we’re sharing several outdoor fall adventures worth embarking on in the Hood River area, from apple picking and hiking to leaf peeping and marathon running. Happy fall!
Pick Apples or pears along the Hood River Fruit Loop
The Hood River Fruit Loop is a scenic 35-mile drive through the Hood River Valley featuring 29 member stands offering a variety of wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, food and more. The farm-fresh goodness continues well into the fall at a number of stands, including Pearl’s Place, Smiley’s Red Barn, Fox-Tail Cider & Distillery, Packer Orchards & Farm Place, Draper Girls Cider Company, Kiyokawa Family Orchards & Fruit Stand, Mt. View Orchards Cidery & Fruit Stand, and many more. Learn more about the many stands along the Hood River Fruit Loop using our complete guide.
Go on a fall hike
Because of all our gorgeous scenery and rolling hills, Hood River is a spectacular place to go on a hike. And in the fall, when all the leaves are changing colors, these hikes come to life with hues of golds, oranges, reds and purples. We have a list of our favorite fall hikes in the area, each offering incredible views of everything the Columbia River Gorge has to offer. Click here to read the whole post and make sure to bring your camera when you go!
Get lost in the corn maze at Packer Orchards & Farm Place
Photo courtesy of Packer Orchards & Farm Place
Situated in the scenic Hood River Valley between Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams, Packer Orchards is a beloved destination in the fall for seasonal fruit, homemade baked goods and pumpkins. The farm shuts down in the first two weeks of September to prepare for fall festivities, including pumpkin picking, pumpkin bowling, fall treats and a sprawling corn maze for you to get lost in. Looking for an even spookier fall adventure? Check out the corn maze at night, which you’re encouraged to explore with nothing but a flashlight.
Explore Mt. View Orchards’ U-Pick pumpkin patch
Mt. View Orchards is a 50-acre third-generation family farm and fruit stand with you-pick fruits, including apples and pears, plus hard ciders, hayrides, and other seasonal activities in October! But the biggest draw to Mt. View Orchards in the fall, however, is their huge U-Pick pumpkin patch. You and your family are welcome (and encouraged!) to wander through the patch and pick out your perfect pumpkin. Click here for all the information and to learn more about their other fun, seasonal activities!
Take pictures at Panorama Point County Park
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For a view you just can’t beat—head to Panorama Point County Park this fall! This must-visit destination along Highway 35 offers a view of more than 15,000 acres of orchards and vineyards, the Hood River Valley and, of course, Mt. Hood. This magical spot, just 10 minutes outside of downtown Hood River, is easily accessible via the road and features several picnic tables where you can sit and enjoy the view.
Drive past the area’s most haunted hotels—at night
While fall in Hood River usually evokes mental images of warm colors, pumpkins, corn mazes and hayrides—for some, fall means it is finally spooky season! While we don’t have a lot of haunted house attractions in the area, there are a few actual reported haunted destinations that you can explore. The first is the Columbia Gorge Hotel, a historic manor-like hotel situated on lawned gardens along the Columbia River. Built in 1904, many claim they have experienced the supernatural within the decorated walls like the smell of phantom cigar smoke, furniture barricading itself inside of rooms and encountering several ghostly residents. The second haunted destination in Hood River is another hotel: the Hood River Hotel. This historic inn is the oldest in town and is believed to be haunted by a former owner.
While you’re welcome to stay a night in one of these haunted attractions this season, for the faint of heart, we recommend simply driving past them at night.
Hood River is a haven for water sports of all kinds, as it is situated at the confluence of the mighty Columbia River and Hood River, with several rivers and lakes nearby. Exploring these beautiful bodies of water is most enjoyable via kayak—a very popular outdoor activity here in the Hood River area. While most choose to go during the summer, in the fall you’ll find pleasant weather, fewer crowds and unbeatable scenery bursting with fall color! If this sounds great to you, click here to read our guide to kayaking in the area, featuring recommendations on rental places, kayak tours and the best places to get into the water.
Sip hard cider on Crush Cider Café’s outdoor Cider Garden
Sweet, tart and gluten free, cider is a perfect seasonal drink—especially when it’s made locally! Luckily, Hood River is packed full of great places to get hard cider, so you can celebrate the season with the taste of fall. Crush Cider Café is one of our favorite hard cideries in the area, offering house-brewed cider, beer and small plates inside their taproom and outside in their Cider Garden.
Wander around Hood River Valley Harvest Fest
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Welcome fall at the Hood River Valley Harvest Fest, the largest harvest celebration in the Gorge! This old-fashioned fall festival brings together more than 125 vendors offering local produce and food products, locally made arts and crafts, plus a variety of wineries and cideries, live music, eating contests, kids’ activities and much more. This year, the festival is taking place at the Hood River Event Site from October 15–17. Click here for all the information!
Take a scenic fall colors tour of the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop
Spanning more than 100 miles, the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop is a stunning sight all year long. The winding drive, which skirts the mountain through fruit valleys and thick fir forest, takes about 3-4 hours to traverse—but we promise it’s worth it! The drive is spectacular during the fall, highlighting the best of our area’s fall foliage as well as plenty of views of one of our area’s most iconic sights: Mt. Hood. Click here to learn more and here to see the full road map.
Get moving at the Columbia Gorge Marathon & Half Marathon this season! This action-packed race travels from the historic Columbia River Byway, through the small town of Mosier, and up to Rowena Viewpoint, where you can take in views to the east and the Columbia River Gorge to the west. All the while, enjoy breathtaking fall foliage and crisp autumn air. The marathon ends along the banks of the Columbia River, making this one of the most scenic runs in the region! Register now for the half or full marathon taking place on October 24, 2021.
Have a great fall!
What outdoor adventures are you planning to embark on this fall in Hood River? Let us know in the comments below!