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The Ultimate Guide to Hood River Oregon Kayaking

Unraveling the Best Kayaking Spots in Hood River

Hood River is in Oregon State, USA, right in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. This city is located about 48 km north of the Mount Hood. Hood River Valley is south of the city and it is known for producing pears and cherries.

The river is located at the transition zone between the wet temperate rainforest to the west and the dry shrub desert to the east.

Photo by Headshatter

The river, which starts on the northern side of Mt Hood in Oregon, is a tributary to the Columbia River. It is perfect for kayakers and rafters. The river runs half the year from November to June, depending on rain and snow.

As you traverse the river, you will boat through a small forested canyon with spectacular views of Mt. Hood. You will start your trip at the Tucker Bridge, then park your car at the take-out at Port Marina Park.

Paddle the day away

One of the best parts about living in Portland is the abundant day trips you can take. These are less than a two-hour drive away. The Hood River, Oregon, is famous for homes to hikes galore and many outdoor activities for every season. The Hood River is less than an hour and a half away from Downtown Portland. It is full of activities and places to eat. This is the best place to escape the city’s hustle and bustle.

Hood River is quite popular for its windsurfing conditions, the mesmerizing downtown, and steep hikes. This river is beautiful in all seasons. However, summer and early fall is the best time to indulge in all the river’s outdoor/recreational activities! It has a gorgeous waterfront; one will find the Gorge Paddling Center.

The serene water of the Hood River is perfect for kayaking and paddle boarding. The center also rents various paddleboards and kayaks. They provide daytime and sunset kayak tours with incredible view. The center has a dock where customers can easily launch from.

Renting paddleboards and kayaks

Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented for only $20 and $10 for each additional hour. One can also rent the paddle or kayak for $60 for the entire day.

A tandem kayak is another type that can be rented for $30 an hour, $15 for each hour after that, and $75 for the entire day. Gorge Paddling Center also helps its visitors with life vests.


The weather in the Hood River is not sunny all year round. During the warm and sunny days, the Gorge Paddling Center is open from 10-5, and on cloudy days, they are open from 11-4. The center is closed on rainy days. Thus, if you plan to visit, it’s better to call them in advance!

What are the top kayaking spots near Hood River?

Following are some of the most famous top kayaking spots near Hood River:

Kayak Laurance Lake

Found about 25 miles south of Hood River, the lake is the perfect place to escape the crowds! The place is not very crowded during the summer. Thus, you might be able just to show up and find a spot to camp. Some great activities here are fishing, swimming, and paddle sports!

The lake is great for kayaking and a great destination for camping, fishing, and hiking. Motorized boats are not allowed at this place so one can expect a calm paddling experience, provided the weather is good. A night paddle on the lake gives you an exceptional view of the night sky and the Milky Way.

Pinnacle Ridge Trail and Elk Cove Trail are two of the most famous hiking options you can opt for. The lake is at an elevation of 2980 feet.

Backpack the Mark. O Hatfield Wilderness Via Eagle Creek

If you want to experience true wilderness, discover pristine alpine lakes, and enjoy the best views, all you have to do is drive just 45 minutes from Portland! The Eagle Creek trail can be traversed from Wahtum Lake via the Chinidere Cutoff and the Pacific Crest Trail.

If you want to see the unobstructed views of Mt. Hood, you must hike to the top of the Chinidere Mountain. Kayaking is a major tourist attraction in Eagle Creek, and many avid kayakers come from all the way from different cities to immerse in the kayaking experience.

Lost Lake Kayaking

Lost Lake is the perfect place to escape as the temperature starts to creep up in summer. What better way to enjoy holiday than kayaking on a warm, sunny day? If you love illuminating sunrises and breathtaking sunsets, then summer is the best time for kayaking!

Apart from kayaking, the campground also lets you indulge in a multitude of water activities and hiking activities. There are lakeside tent campsites which are first-come, first-served.

Kayaking at Lost Lake during summer is the perfect way to get some fresh air and enjoy beautiful coastline views.

Trillium Lake

One of the most picturesque locations in the world, Trillium Lake is famous for kayaking or stand up paddle board. Nestled against Mt. Hood, the snow-fed Trillium Lake reflects the snow-capped mountain above it.

You can glide across the lake in a kayak and indulge in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The lake is famous for many recreational opportunities, and it is a family-friendly place to camp.

The lake is an hour drive away from Portland and it is a very popular destination for alpine recreation. The lake sits at an elevation of 3600 feet. Apart from kayaking, the other activities which are popular here are boating, swimming and fishing.

Clear lake kayaking

You have no idea what lies underneath Clear Lake in Oregon. Kayaking over Clear Lake can be a life-changing experience. From above, you might see calm, clear water. However, the real mystery lies beneath the lake.

This is where the underwater adventure awaits you! The lake is an Oasis surrounded by fir trees which tower above the shores. Clear Lake is bestowed with pristine waters and marine life. It is important to know that no motorized boats are allowed here.

When you kayak, you will be able to see the crystal clear waters of the lake. It was a volcanic activity that took place 3000 years ago, which turned the forest into a lake. Kayak rentals are available at the lodge, and you need to make the reservations for the same.

The boat rentals at the Clear Lake Oregon are available for full and half day for row boats or kayaks. A kayak costs $30 a day and $15 for half day. If you want to rent a boat on weekends, you should arrive as early as possible, as reservations are not taken for rental boats.

These boats are well equipped with life jackets and oars and the kayak launcher. The launcher makes the boarding and launching the kayak is much easier by holding the kayak still.

White River Falls State Park

Located 35 miles south of Dallas and 4.5 miles east of Tygh valley, the White River Falls are only a short walk away from the parking area. The trails lead down to the water.

The falls drop about 75 feet with multiple channels and at high water that can reach 250 feet wide. You will be amazed to know that every summer, the River lives up to its name and turns a Milky White color.

This happens due to the glacial sediment that is being pushed downstream from the White glacier on the Mt. Hood.

Takhlakh Lake

The Takhlakh Lake is the lake with most scenic views in the Cascade Mountains. It provides breathtaking views of the Mount Adams and it is the perfect place to enjoy the fresh mountain air.

There is a one-mile hiking path around the lake, and the lake is perfect for people looking to fish and boaters looking to kayak. At every campsite, you will find a picnic table and a fire ring. There are many vault toilets throughout the campground.

If you want to just sit back and relax, you can also enjoy the views of dark skies of Mt. Adams for lakeside camping and stargazing. The 1.1 mile flat trail of the campground features a boat ramp which encircles the lake.

Kayak Lacamas Lake

Known as the crown jewel of Camas, the Lacamas Lake has a dock that invites boats, swimmers and kayaks! The lake is extremely popular for all types of water activities, and it has easy access because of its dock! It even has free public parking.

The entire area is family and dog-friendly. It has picnic tables for sitting down and having a nice lunch after swimming.


Kayaking is an adventure sport that allows you to explore serene waters and immerse yourself in nature! Kayaking in Hood River, Oregon is an experience in itself!

The sound of the gentle ripples of water, the boat moving at a slow speed, and the sun rays that penetrate through your skin refresh your mind! Thus, kayaking at Hood River, Oregon is a delight you should not miss out on!

Written by Emma Parker

Hi, I'm Emma Parker, a passionate outdoors enthusiast and blogger. I love nothing more than exploring the great outdoors and sharing my experiences with others.

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