A Travel Price Comparison for Oregon Hood River vs. Columbia River Gorge for Food, Hiking, Families, and Couples

Should you visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Should I visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge? This is a common question asked by many travelers. By figuring out which city has activities that align with your interests along with knowing which is more affordable, you'll understand where you can get more bang for your buck. So, let's dive into the details and the data, which all comes from actual travelers.

Hood River

Hood River is a charming, agricultural, and quaint town. This is also a very beautiful destination which attracts plenty of visitors. It's also known for shopping, skiing, and nightlife.

Columbia River Gorge

Columbia River Gorge is a natural, beautiful, and scenic region. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the food, hiking, and shopping.

Hood River and Columbia River Gorge: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular for skiing
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights
Pros
  • Active nightlife
  • Good for hiking
  • Family-friendly
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Good for backpackers and budget travelers
  • Impressive beauty
Things to Consider
  • Less museums and historical sights


Is there more to do in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Travelers will usually find more to do in Hood River. Although Hood River and Columbia River Gorge are popular destinations, Hood River has more sights and attractions for tourists. Hood River is famous for its waterfalls, wineries, and impressive mountains. It is also well known for Multnomah Falls. Columbia River Gorge is famous for its hiking, biking, and high number of waterfalls.

How is Hood River different from Columbia River Gorge?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Columbia River Gorge and Hood River. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Skiing?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Hood River is a nice place to visit for snow skiing. However, Columbia River Gorge is not a skiing destination.

Hood River is a great destination for skiing with plenty areas to explore. During the winter months, Hood River makes a nice base for nearby skiing. Timberline and Cooper Spur and both less than an hour away and offer great skiing opportunities.

Columbia River Gorge is not a skiing destination.


Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Visiting museums and landmarks is a fun activity in both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge.

While most people don't head to Hood River specifically for the museums and attractions, it does offer a few options. There are a couple of interesting museums in town such as the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automoblie Museum, the History Museum, and 301 Gallery.

Columbia River Gorge offers a handful of options for museums and historical sights. There are a couple of local museums in the area, but most visitors spend their time exploring the region's natural beauty.

Is the Food Better in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Dining out at restaurants in both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge can be an enjoyable experience.

Hood River has a huge number of terrific restaurants. Head to the downtown or waterfront areas for the best selection of restaurants. Most restaurants pride themselves on using local ingredients and supporting local farms. Dishes use fresh and healthy ingredients that make simple but high quality meals.

Dining out in Columbia River Gorge is an experience not to be missed. You'll find many great restaurants in the area that serve local dishes that make use of the region's agricultural scene.

Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Nightlife?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

The nice nightlife scene is relatively similar in Hood River and Columbia River Gorge.

With a handful of venues, visitors can find a fairly lively vibe in Hood River. There are breweries, wineries, and local bars in the area that offer a laid back place where you can enjoy the local atmosphere.

Columbia River Gorge has an active nightlife scene for those who seek it out. Local breweries, wineries, and bars offer a relaxing setting with a local vibe.


Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Hiking?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

If you're looking to go hiking, Hood River and Columbia River Gorge both have very good trails.

Many visitors explore the nearby hiking trails while visiting Hood River. There's a diversity of landscapes in the area that include waterfalls, agriculture, vineyards, and high-reaching mountain peaks. The best way to experience these is through the many hiking trails. Drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway and stop off at the trails that lead to the waterfalls, or head south of town to explore the vineyards on foot, and to the north where you'll find mountain peaks.

You'll find a nice variety of hiking trails around Columbia River Gorge. There are world-class hikes that take you to iconic waterfalls, breathtaking viewpoints, and along scenic waterways.

Is the Shopping Better in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Shoppers can find a variety of nice stores in both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge.

Shopping is a popular activity when visiting Hood River. Local shops sell local produce, artisan crafts, and wine. There are boutiques and independent vendors that are fun to visit and many visitors enjoy spending an afternoon shopping.

Many visitors go to Columbia River Gorge to go shopping. Art galleries feature local artwork and artisan crafts. There are photography shops and other venues that sell items highlighting the region's beauty.

Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Families?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Kids will enjoy a visit to either Hood River or Columbia River Gorge.

Because of its large number of kid-friendly activities, Hood River is very family-friendly. The area is filled with outdoor adventures that the whole family can enjoy. There's swimming, tubing, hiking, and even windsurfing. Make sure you check out the Waterfront Park and Powerdale Substation.

Columbia River Gorge is known to be a very family-friendly place to visit. Kids will love exploring the waterfalls and mountains as much as the adults do. There are kid-friendly hikes as well as bakeries and restaurants with many kid options.


Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Couples?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

With fun activities for couples, both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge make for a very good place to visit.

Hood River makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. Couples will enjoy the scenic natural setting and charming hotels and bed and breakfasts in the area. There are romantic hikes, local wineries, and many great restaurants that you can try.

Couples visit Columbia River Gorge frequently as it offers plenty of romantic activities. Couples will love the romantic hikes and waterfalls. There are also beautiful scenic viewpoints and wonderful restaurants.

Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Backpackers and Budget Travelers?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Hood River and Columbia River Gorge are both very good destinations for backpackers.

Many backpackers visit Hood River. There are a couple of hostels and some nice campgrounds in the area as well as many great hikes and a laid back atmosphere that backpackers appreciate.

Columbia River Gorge is a very popular town for backpackers and budget travelers. You'll find hostels and campgrounds in the area that are perfect for backpackers and budget travelers.

Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Visitors will find reasonable public transit in both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge.

Public transit is mostly limited in Hood River. There are buses in the area but you really need your own transportation to see the region efficiently.

Public transit is generally limited in Columbia River Gorge. There are some buses, but don't rely on them to efficiently explore.


Is Hood River or Columbia River Gorge a more walkable city?

Hood River
Columbia River Gorge

Hood River is a moderate town for its walkability. However, Columbia River Gorge is not a good region for its high level of walkability.

Hood River is generally not very walkable. While there are parts of the town that are walkable, if you don't have a car you'll miss out on the surrounding natural landscapes and most of the hiking opportunities.

Columbia River Gorge is not a very walkable town. You really need a car to explore the area, but some visitors rely on a bike.

For even more information, also check out Is Hood River Worth Visiting? and Is Columbia River Gorge Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Columbia River Gorge or Hood River?

How long in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Visitors can find plenty of fun things to do in both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge. In our opinion, Hood River has more to see and do, so we recommend that you spend more time in Hood River than Columbia River Gorge. However, 2-3 days is a good amount of time to spend in either destination.

Families should spend more time in Hood River than Columbia River Gorge. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Hood River, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Hood River than Columbia River Gorge. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Hood River that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Hood River than Columbia River Gorge if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Hood River.


  • How many days in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge? Ideal Length of Stay
    Hood River 2-3 
    Columbia River Gorge 2-3

One day in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Many travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the beautiful destination of Hood River. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. With so much to do, one day is probably not enough time to see everything.

With shopping and nightlife around the natural region of Columbia River Gorge, there's plenty to do. Anyone can find something fun to do here. Make sure you spend some time hiking while you're in the area. But since there are so many activities, you'll likely want to spend more than one day exploring.

A weekend in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Hood River is a fun place to experience. If you have a weekend, this is a great place to go. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. A weekend should give you a good understanding of everything this town has to offer. This town offers a variety of activities to choose from.

With nightlife and food around the destination of Columbia River Gorge, there's plenty to do. Many travelers plan to spend time hiking while in the area. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this region.


Five days in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Many people visit Hood River for five days. You'll find shopping and skiing around the beautiful town of Hood River. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything.

Columbia River Gorge, a popular region, is full of activities for travelers. Hiking can easily take up a good amount of your time here, too. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

A week in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

The quaint destination of Hood River offers skiing and nightlife. Hikers are also drawn to this area. It will give you the chance to have new experiences. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare.

Columbia River Gorge is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.


For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best 3-Week Tours in United States of America, The Best Bicycle Tours in United States of America, Tours for Outdoor and Nature Lovers in United States of America, and The Best Coach Bus Tours in United States of America.


Which place is cheaper, Columbia River Gorge or Hood River?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Hood River is $145, while the average daily cost in Columbia River Gorge is $179. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Hood River and Columbia River Gorge in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Hood River $78
    Columbia River Gorge $89
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Hood River $156
    Columbia River Gorge $178
Compare Hotels in Hood River and Columbia River Gorge

Looking for a hotel in Hood River or Columbia River Gorge? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Hood River


Hotels in Columbia River Gorge


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Hood River Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Hood River $46
    Columbia River Gorge $78

Is it cheaper to fly into Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Prices for flights to both Columbia River Gorge and Hood River change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Hood River $40
    Columbia River Gorge $46

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Hood River $18
    Columbia River Gorge $20

Tours and Activities in Hood River

For Hood River, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Orchard Tour: $31
  • Gift Basket Factory Tour: $31
  • Portland: Multnomah Falls Scenic Air Tour: $199
  • Railbikes Experience: $211

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Hood River $19
    Columbia River Gorge $12


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Hood River and Columbia River Gorge, we can see that Columbia River Gorge is more expensive. And not only is Hood River much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Hood River would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Hood River and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Columbia River Gorge would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Columbia River Gorge than you might in Hood River.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Hood River Expensive? and Is Columbia River Gorge Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Columbia River Gorge has a larger population, and is about 83% larger than the population of Hood River. When comparing the sizes of Hood River and Columbia River Gorge, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Hood River as well as Columbia River Gorge. Many travelers come to Hood River for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences. Additionally, many visitors come to Columbia River Gorge in the summer for the hiking and the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Hood River is generally around the same temperature as Columbia River Gorge. Daily temperatures in Hood River average around 68°F (20°C), and Columbia River Gorge fluctuates around 68°F (20°C).

The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Columbia River Gorge. People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Hood River this time of the year. In the summer, Hood River often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia River Gorge. Hood River gets 338 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia River Gorge receives 338 hours of full sun.

Hood River usually gets around the same amount of rain in July as Columbia River Gorge. Hood River gets 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain, while Columbia River Gorge receives 0.7 inches (18 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Hood River 68°F (20°C) 
    Columbia River Gorge 68°F (20°C)

Should I visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge in the Autumn?

Both Columbia River Gorge and Hood River are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Many visitors come to Hood River in the autumn for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, most visitors come to Columbia River Gorge for the hiking trails, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area during these months.

Hood River is around the same temperature as Columbia River Gorge in the autumn. The daily temperature in Hood River averages around 55°F (13°C) in October, and Columbia River Gorge fluctuates around 55°F (13°C).

Hood River usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia River Gorge during autumn. Hood River gets 155 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia River Gorge receives 155 hours of full sun in the autumn.

In October, Hood River usually receives around the same amount of rain as Columbia River Gorge. Hood River gets 2.6 inches (67 mm) of rain, while Columbia River Gorge receives 2.6 inches (67 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Hood River 55°F (13°C) 
    Columbia River Gorge 55°F (13°C)

Should I visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge in the Winter?

Both Columbia River Gorge and Hood River during the winter are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Hood River for the skiing, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months. Also, the winter months attract visitors to Columbia River Gorge because of the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

The weather in Columbia River Gorge can be very cold. Hood River can be very cold during winter. In the winter, Hood River is around the same temperature as Columbia River Gorge. Typically, the winter temperatures in Hood River in January average around 40°F (4°C), and Columbia River Gorge averages at about 40°F (4°C).

In the winter, Hood River often gets around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia River Gorge. Hood River gets 86 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Columbia River Gorge receives 86 hours of full sun.

Columbia River Gorge gets a good bit of rain this time of year. It rains a lot this time of the year in Hood River. Hood River usually gets around the same amount of rain in January as Columbia River Gorge. Hood River gets 5.2 inches (132 mm) of rain, while Columbia River Gorge receives 5.2 inches (132 mm) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Hood River 40°F (4°C) 
    Columbia River Gorge 40°F (4°C)

Should I visit Hood River or Columbia River Gorge in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Hood River and Columbia River Gorge. The spring months attract visitors to Hood River because of the natural beauty. Also, the natural beauty are the main draw to Columbia River Gorge this time of year.

In April, Hood River is generally around the same temperature as Columbia River Gorge. Daily temperatures in Hood River average around 51°F (11°C), and Columbia River Gorge fluctuates around 51°F (11°C).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Columbia River Gorge this time of the year. In Hood River, it's very sunny this time of the year. Hood River usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Columbia River Gorge during spring. Hood River gets 231 hours of sunny skies, while Columbia River Gorge receives 231 hours of full sun in the spring.

In April, Hood River usually receives around the same amount of rain as Columbia River Gorge. Hood River gets 2.4 inches (61 mm) of rain, while Columbia River Gorge receives 2.4 inches (61 mm) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Hood River 51°F (11°C) 
    Columbia River Gorge 51°F (11°C)

Typical Weather for Columbia River Gorge and Hood River

Hood River Columbia River Gorge
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 40°F (4°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm) 40°F (4°C) 5.2 inches (132 mm)
Feb 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm) 44°F (7°C) 3.9 inches (98 mm)
Mar 47°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm) 47°F (9°C) 3.6 inches (92 mm)
Apr 51°F (11°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.4 inches (61 mm)
May 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 57°F (14°C) 2 inches (51 mm)
Jun 64°F (18°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.5 inches (39 mm)
Jul 68°F (20°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm) 68°F (20°C) 0.7 inches (18 mm)
Aug 69°F (20°C) 1 inches (25 mm) 69°F (20°C) 1 inches (25 mm)
Sep 63°F (17°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm) 63°F (17°C) 1.7 inches (44 mm)
Oct 55°F (13°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm) 55°F (13°C) 2.6 inches (67 mm)
Nov 46°F (8°C) 5.4 inches (136 mm) 46°F (8°C) 5.4 inches (136 mm)
Dec 40°F (5°C) 6.1 inches (156 mm) 40°F (5°C) 6.1 inches (156 mm)