Editor’s Note: We encourage you to practice good physical distancing. Be sure to wear a mask and be patient when visiting local businesses.
For a lot of people, the thought of Oregon wine triggers images of the Willamette Valley. However, if you’re looking for another grape-growing region to explore, and are hoping to squeeze in an outdoor adventure in the process, you should head east to Hood River County.
This beautiful area along the Columbia River Gorge is almost perfectly placed beside Mount Hood, offering majestic views of the mountain at nearly every turn. You’ll also pass by many farms, orchards, breweries and wineries.
To enjoy the scenery and an active weekend overall, we recommend heading out on bicycles to the Hood River Fruit Loop, a 35-mile scenic tour that includes about 30 potential stops at various wineries and farms throughout the valley.
Before you go, download a free map of the loop from the Chamber of Commerce, and then plot your ride.
Here are a few must-visit spots along the way:
1. Marchesi Vineyards & Winery specializes in Italian varietals, such as an award-winning Sangiovese, and provides a lovely view of Mount Hood from its tasting room patio.
2. Mt. Hood Winery also offers mountain views from its vineyard, and pours several different types of wine, such as estate-grown Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Riesling.
3. Fox-Tail Cider is not a winery, but their delicious hard cider will still leave you pleasantly refreshed. Harvested from apples on the farm, the sweet, crisp drink makes for a perfect fall beverage.
4. Cathedral Ridge Winery was named Oregon Winery of the Year in 2007 by Wine Press Northwest. With views of both Mount Adams and Mount Hood, and samplings of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Rose and more, you may want to stay for a while.
5. The Gorge White House allows you to sample wines from various local vineyards while eating a farm-fresh meal in a gorgeous garden setting. This historic home and working farm also offers seasonal U-pick flowers and fruit.
If you’re looking for a group cycling tour of the region, check out Bicycle Adventures. For additional routes in the area, visit Ride Oregon Ride and Oregon Scenic Bikeways.