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East Ridge Hike

East Ridge Hiking Trail
by Andy of

Here’s a nice easy trail with jaw dropping scenery, good for all levels of fitness, and only about 10-15 minutes from downtown Hood River. To get there, head South on Highway 35 from Hood River. A little over 2 miles later, you’ll see Eastside Rd. on your left. Take Eastside Rd. until you come to Old Dalles Rd. heading east up the hill, again on your left. From there, it’s a couple miles up a windy country road up to the crest of the ridge where you'll find spots on either side of the road to pull over and park. Dogs and kids will be fine here, provided you don’t let either of them roam too freely.

The 400 ft. elevation gain here comes pretty much all in the first mile, winding through the trees with intermittent shade. As soon as the clearing comes, it's smooth sailing from then on.

A little over a half mile down the trail from the crest is a radio tower area which has a small point that juts out, making it a dandy spot for a picnic/break.

Past that another mile, the trail curves around to the east and comes back to Old Dalles Road again.


To go out and back at that point is just under 4.5 miles, but if you decide to complete the loop and follow the road back to your car, it’ll be just about 4 miles.

Here you'll find 200 plus degree views, from Mount Hood south, to Mt Adams north. The Mt Adams viewing comes in the beginning of the ridge, since the trail curves ever so lightly to the southeast and blocks Mt Adams.

Looking west, there’s Mount Defiance and Chinidere Mountain. Clear enough days will get peeks of Mt St Helens to the NW.

Not much animal interaction to be had here. The majority of the trail is in clear meadows, so the various soaring birds above you will have to do. On the nicest days, you can catch crow and eagles spending the day coasting and floating on the updrafts. You may luck out in the small wooded sections with a glimpse of a deer or small forest creature but this is not a real "nature" hike. Views are king here.

SDS Lumber, which is based just across the river in Bingen, owns the land you’ll be traversing so there’s no need to worry about stumbling into anyones backyards. They own quite a few thousand acres in the Gorge, and are usually quite generous when it comes to opening them up for public use. Bikes are fine on the trail, but with virtually no downhill, head to Post Canyon to get your extreme on.

A great time for this hike would be starting in May (or April if there’s a nice day) going through September. For time of day, this is an early afternoon to early evening hike. Not that there‘s anything wrong with hitting it in the morning, but the author isn’t much of a morning person.

It would stand to reason that you might get some lovely views to the east and the Hood River Valley would be looking quite pretty. You‘ll have to send me some pictures…. The later in the day the better since the Hood River Valley is an absolute jewel at dusk in summertime.

A good headlamp would be a plus in case you stay out too late. They will run you 20-30 bucks at basically any outdoor store.

The truly hardcore can attempt this hike in the winter time, but snowshoes will be a must. The payoff however, will be EPIC views of a snow covered valley (I’m just guessing here…I don’t own a pair of snowshoes).

Your time on the trail will of course depend on your pace, but a leisurely stroll on an average day, with time accounted for flower sniffing, picture taking, and the like will run about a couple of hours. If you decide to take the loop instead of out and back, the difference is basically nil.

On your return to Hood River, a stop at Andrew’s Pizza and Skylight Theater is recommended in order to grab a slice of New York style pizza, a pint of microbrew (multiple northwest favorites on tap) and grab a seat on the couch in the theater portion to reward yourself with a first-run flick. Ask for Sarah and tell her that Andy sent you. (Shh, don’t tell the McMenamins!!)

Check out pictures of the trail below!

Picture of the East Ridge Trail

View of the East Ridge Trail in Hood River

Picture of East Ridge Hike

East Ridge Hillside

East Ridge Hiking Trail Photo

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"On The Lighter Side"

The Dalles Murals Loop - For those looking to take a stroll without inclines and wilderness. Located in downtown The Dalles, this 2 mile stroll is under rated to say the least!



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