Daytrip: Parkdale

Part 3 of the May 2016 Portland Daytrip Series. This time we are visiting Parkdale, Oregon. A beautiful town, at the far end of the famous Hood River Fruit Loop. {Sponsored by Car2Go}

It’s Tuesday and it’s time for another installment in my May 2016 series on Portland Daytrips, sponsored by Car2Go.  So far we’ve been on a beautiful loop around the Oregon Coast and to Silver Falls State Park. This time, we are heading east to the cute little town of Parkdale, with a couple stops in the Columbia River Gorge on the way.

Parkdale Gorge View Women's Forumn

Most people visiting the gorge will only go as far as Hood River, but if you really want a good look at Mt. Hood, I highly suggest you drive a few miles further to Parkdale.  In my opinion, this town has best views of Mt. Hood anywhere.  Plus, there are two great places to have lunch and one quirky museum (my favorite!)  So without further ado, let me be your guide:


Leave Portland: 
Head east out of Portland on I-84 Exit 22 for Corbett.  From there, you’ll get on the Old Columbia River Highway. Please map on your phone or computer for exact directions.

Parkdale daytrip Visata house high angel

Stop 1: Vista House
The historic Vista House is our destination, but I suggest stopping first at a little viewpoint about a mile earlier called the Portland Women’s Forum Viewpoint where you can get great views (and photos) of the entire Gorge, including the Vista House.  When you’re ready, continue down the road to the Vista House.  The winds are usually blowing here, but the views are excellent.  Be sure to check out the beautiful building and take in the views from the second level balcony.  There’s also a gift shop, restrooms and coffee stand in the basement.  

Stop 2:  Hike

Parkdale Daytrip Latourelle Falls There are lots of hikes to choose from along the Columbia River Highway but I suggest Latourelle Falls or Wahcella Falls.  Both have great waterfalls and should only take you about an hour.  The photos in this post are from the Latourelle Hike.  It includes two large waterfalls and a decent climb on the way in. Either loop should take you around an hour.  Once you are done, continue on the Old Columbia River Highway to I-84, then keep heading east towards Hood River. 

Stop 3: Parkdale

The town of Hood River is where most people spend their time in this area, and with good reason; they have great breweries, food, shopping and water sports.  But this trip, we’re going to try something new with a visit to Parkdale.  From Hood River drive south on Highway 35 towards Mt. Hood.  The views of the valley and the mountain are excellent.  There are also a number of fruit stands, wineries and cider makers along the way.  (You can read more about a number of them in this Cider Tasting Tour from last fall.)  

Once in Parkdale, there are basically three things to do.  

Parkdale Apple Valley BBQFirst, enjoy a meal at Apple Valley BBQ.  If you are debating between the pulled pork and ribs like I was, get the pulled pork. The ribs are good but the pulled pork was excellent.  They also had some interesting sides, like corn bread salad and a slaw made with local pears.  We really enjoyed their patio, but there was plenty of seating inside as well.

Second, visit the Hutson Museum.  It’s full of all kinds of artifacts from the area, including rocks, arrowheads, taxidermy and a lovely tribute to Celilo Falls, a huge waterfall that was lost during the damming of the Columbia River.  Parkdale Hutson Rock Food TableBut most importantly they have table set with a feast, made entirely out of rocks.  I love this kind of stuff, so I was thrilled. 



Last, and most important, Solara Brewery.   It doesn’t look like much from the front, but holy cow, the view Parkdale Solara Beer viewfrom their backyard is AMAZING.  Green grass, orchards, swooping birds, and Mt. Hood towering above.  Even if you don’t drink beer, get a coke and enjoy the view.  As always, please drink responsibly, don’t drink and drive.



Stop 4: Panorama Point
Hood River panarama point car2goAfter thoroughly enjoying your visit to Parkdale, head back towards Hood River.  You can return the way you came, back on highway 35 or complete the “Fruit Loop” by heading west on Highway 281 in Parkdale.   If you complete the loop, be sure to stop at The Old Trunk along the way.  If you return on highway 35, consider making one last stop at Panorama Point, for a excellent view of the Hood River Valley.  

Hood River Parkdale Valley ViewOnce back in Hood River, stop to stretch your legs for a bit in downtown or on their beautiful waterfront, or simply catch I-84 back into Portland.  From Hood River it’s just over an hour back into town.


This is a very packed itinerary, but you can personalize it in lots of ways.  Here are some other cool sites to consider:

  1. Multnomah Falls:  This route takes you right past Oregon’s most famous waterfall.  It’s very touristy, but if you haven’t seen it, skip the hike and see this instead.  There is a lodge with a restaurant and paved trails all the way to the top.  
  2. Bonneville Fish Hatchery:  A great (and free) attraction.  Great if you have small children or just love fish.  Don’t miss the sturgeon viewing window.  
  3. Hood River Breweries:  There are three super popular and super delicious breweries in Hood River to check out: Full Sail, Double Mountain, and Pfreim.  Again, please drink responsibly.
  4. Head home via Mt. Hood: Instead of returning through Hood River and Gorge, continue south on Highway 35 from Parkdale to highway 26 taking the scenic route over Mt. Hood.  This will give you opportunities to visit Timberline Lodge or Government Camp.

So that’s the trip.  If you want to attempt this in the winter, be sure to check road closures and business hours.  Many places operate on limited hours during the winter.  And if you decide to give this a try in a Car2Go like I did, they are sweetening the deal with some special offers for my readers:

  1. If you are not already a member, you can register for FREE (It is normally $35)  and get 15 minutes of free drive time with the promo code KRISTIPDX through June 15th, 2016.  Just click this link to get started:
  2. Spend $100 in drive time (excluding fees and taxes) in the month of May 2016 and receive 20 minutes in drive time. To redeem, email your membership information Offer only valid in Portland until June 15th, 2016. One redemption per member. Drive time will be valid in Portland for 45 days from the date of issuance. This offer is not redeemable for cash or other credit.

I wish you happy and safe travels.  Check back in here next week for the final edition of my May 2016 Portland Daytrip Series.

{Disclosure: Car2Go is sponsoring this post.  They provided me free use of their cars while researching the content.  They are also providing my readers with a discount, but no other compensation was provided and all opinions are my own.}  

Gorge & Parkdale


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