Oregon is a great starting point for anyone who wants a full-packed road trip, and the Portland to Hood River route is one that’s worth driving. These two cities are 60 miles apart, which takes only about an hour of travel time. It’s a short yet sweet ride that you can fill with memorable stops to make the journey worthwhile.
Although the trip is too short for a plane ride, you can still use other modes of transportation to get to the destination. You can go by RV, train, or bus, and hire a vehicle if you don’t want to bring your own. Depending on your budget, you can explore different travel options that give more meaning to your trip.
Quick travel information
Portland and Hood River are cities in Oregon that are relatively close to each other. Portland, OR is a bike-friendly city that’s the largest and most populated in the state. There’s a steady stream of vacationers and travelers going to and from the city. In this light, plenty of transportation options abound in the area.
The most common ways of traveling from Portland include the Greyhound bus and Amtrak train. There are also other intercity facilities that take you across different points in the city. TriMet buses, MAX Light Rail, streetcars, and ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.
You will find similar transportation options when in Hood River. The city’s Hood River Taxi can take you around the area, and even bring you in from and to the Portland International Airport. The city is a vibrant community with an influx of visitors who want to bask in the area’s natural beauty.
Traveling by bus
The Columbia Area Transit (CAT) services the Portland to Hood River route, while also passing through Mt. Hood Meadows and other Gorge communities in between. There’s a daily ride seven days a week via the Columbia Gorge Express. This ride allows you to visit several scenic points during the 60-mile drive. You can buy the day pass for $15 if you choose CAT.
You can buy the Gorge Pass, which is an unlimited ticket taking you from and to Portland whenever you want. This costs $40 for adults and $20 for children aged 11-17 years old. The Next Door Hood River Community ID holders are also eligible for this discounted price.
Alternatively, you can book Greyhound bus services on this route. There is one bus that services the area once a day, which leaves at around 10:00 am. The average trip duration is around an hour and 10 minutes. Some buses may have layovers, although the Greyhound bus often runs directly. The average cost of this trip is around $27.
If you choose to ride a Greyhound bus, you can book online tickets or purchase them at the Union Station. This bus service has several ticket types, including a flexible ticket, an Economy Extra ticket, and the Economy ticket.
The flexible ticket lets you do an exchange or refund to your existing ticket anytime without paying any charge. This ticket allows you to bring two bags for storage and a carry-on bag. The Economy Extra allows one bag and one carry-on, plus a priority boarding privilege. For $20, you can swap this ticket on the same day of travel or change your itinerary. For Economy ticket holders, you can have one bag for storage and one for carry-on, with a booking exchange for a surcharge of $20. This ticket is non-refundable.
Traveling by train
Going on a train ride is a great experience when you want to travel to and from these two cities. You can sit comfortably and relax while taking in the scenic path during the trip. Amtrak is one of the safest ways to get to Hood River. Five daily trains service the route with an average travel time of 3 hours and 11 minutes.
You can start the journey by heading to Portland Union Station. If you’re coming from anywhere in the city, you can take the green and yellow light rail options. Several buses also pass by or near the city’s train station.
If you’re taking an Amtrak to Hood River from Portland, you can expect to pay about $37 for the fare.
Traveling by ride-booking apps
Since the trip is only for 60 miles, you can book from your choice of ride-sharing apps like Lyft or Uber. These private transportation services take you to Hood River much like you would when driving your own car. It’s one of the fastest ways to get to your destination, although it’s one of the most expensive options.
Lyft lets you book three kinds of rides—personal, supersized, and high-end—that differ in prices and car model used. The cheapest is around $165-180, while the Lux ride costs about $300. The average travel time is an hour and 7 minutes.
It’s ideal to choose this mode of transportation if you are in a hurry to arrive in Hood River. You can also rest during the trip knowing that someone else is keeping their eyes on the road for you.
Driving by car
Of course, going on a road trip with you behind the steering wheel makes for a memorable trip. You can either take your car or rent one. This option lets you explore the route at your own pace. It also allows you to plan the full itinerary and fill it with must-see stops along the way.
The Portland to Hood River drive is no fuss; you just must take the I-84 that passes through Vancouver, WA. If you’re not planning on any stops, you will arrive within an hour and 7 minutes. The one-way estimated cost when you gas up is about $11.70.
Sure, you can take the direct route, but why not make stops at some of these places to help you discover what Oregon offers for vacationers and adventurers?
You can make Multnomah Falls your first stop on this trip since it’s only 35 minutes away from the city. This breathtaking scenic spot features the ^00+ feet waterfall and an iconic viewpoint that lets you see the majestic beauty of it all. However, if you want to avoid the crowd (there’s a sizeable one on good-weather days), make sure to get on that drive no later than 8:00 am.
There are three hiking trails that you can include on your itinerary while you’re in Multnomah Falls. Firstly, you can take the short hike to the upper viewpoint of Multnomah Falls. There is also a longer trail that leads back around to another stunning body of water, the Wahkeena Falls.
If you want a truly remarkable experience, you can hike Angel’s Rest, which offers a sweeping view of the glorious Columbia River Gorge. There’s a parking spot at Multnomah Falls where you can safely keep your car so you can enjoy nature even for just a while.
Rowena Crest Viewpoint
From the falls, you can drive for around 50 minutes and make another stop at the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. This Instagram famous spot is where you can take magnificent photos of the road that doubles back like a ribbon. It also gives you a spectacular view of nature across the gorge. This stop is worth the extra drive and a few minutes of stay!
While you’re in Hood River
Hood River is just a 35-minute drive from the Rowena Crest stop. It’s a small town that brings out your adventurous spirit with the many recreational activities you can do while you’re in the area. There is a little bit of everything: outdoor sports, water-related activities, a trip to the farm, and the rest of what Hood River can offer.
Enjoy a craft beer
Swing into the city’s Belmont Station for a taste of the local craft beer, which is a staple anywhere in Oregon. There’s a vast selection of bottle brands to cap the night. The place opened in 1997 and is known as one of the area’s most reliable sources for anything related to beers.
Watch kite surfing
Hood River is fondly referred to as the world’s windsurfing capital. If you want to witness something unique, head down to the town’s Waterfront Park and see kite surfers of all ages conquer the winds of the Columbia River. You can even have an outfitter teach you how to kitesurf!
Cycling to Hood River
You can get those leg muscles working by biking all the way to Hood River from Portland. This mode of transportation used to be popular among many since it’s a great cardio activity for everybody. However, the Historic Columbia River Highway’s major section (Bridal Veil to Cascade Locks) of the bike route was closed due to the 2017 Eagle Creek Fire.
There is an alternative route if you insist on taking a bike trip. You can traverse the Interstate for the journey, although that’s not the safest option of the bunch. If you want a comfortable ride to the city, a private transportation service will do the trick.
The best part of traveling from Portland to Hood River is that you can spend a day exploring the in-betweens and must-visit scenic spots en route. If you are traveling with loved ones, this trip can be a great way to bond and create everlasting memories together.
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Gary is an award winning full time professional photographer and videographer with too much wanderlust for his own good. Fuelled by strong coffee, you’ll often find him wandering well off hiking trails in search of interesting photographic subjects or scenery to video. Self taught and with the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a strong client base and has worked with many prestigious organisations, including GQ, BBC, London Fashion Week, Grazia, Sky, Metro, Vogue Italia. He specialising in evocative images of people, places and cinematic videography and his goal is to make the viewer look twice and engage. As well as a penchant for good design, the ketogenic diet and Hungarian Vizslas, he also has a huge affection for Chicago, Bucharest, Scandinavia, Croatia and absolutely everywhere in Italy. Find him on Instagram @garynansome, Twitter @garynansome and his website https://garynunn.co.uk/