The Hood River starts on the northern side of Mt. Hood in Oregon and is a tributary to the Columbia River. A popular day-trip for Columbia River Gorge natives since the removal of the Powerdale Dam in 2010, the Lower Hood run from Tucker Bridge to the Columbia River is beautiful and tons of fun. Perfect for kayakers and rafters alike, the river generally runs half the year from November to June depending on rain and snowmelt.
The water is typically continuous Class III water with potential Class IV consequences. At high water (above 6 ft.) the river becomes a definite Class IV run. You'll boat through a small forested canyon with awesome views of Mt. Hood when clouds are minimal. In Spring it is typical to see Great Blue Heron, Merganser and Harlequin ducks, and hundreds of swallows swooping to and fro across the river.
The trip starts at Tucker Bridge where you should start by getting yourself a fresh berry milkshake at Apple Valley Country Store, a great local mom-and-pop shop. The shuttle is easy. You can park your car right at take-out at Port Marina Park, which is less than 10 miles from put-in.
Mile 0: Put-in at Tucker Bridge. Below here is a mile of warm up rapids before the island rapids: Gilligan (III) and Treasure (III).
Mile 1.4: Prelude (III-) marks the beginning of the Dam Rapids. In 2010 the Powerdale Dam was removed which replaced a tricky portage with a series of great rapids.
Prelude is immediately followed by Upper Dam Rapid (III+) and Lower Dam Rapid (III). This series of rapids ends with Terminus (II+), is a nearly river wide hole which can be skirted on the left side.
Mile 2.3: Mountain View Rapid (III). Look upstream for a stellar upstream view of Mount Hood.
Mile 3.2: Helicopter Hole Rapid (III+) is a swirly rapid with some big waves. Rumor has it, a helicopter crashed there. Watch out for the boily water and strong eddy lines at the bottom.
Mile 3.5 Pipeline (III) is a fun rapid that comes quickly as the river bends to the left. The Hood River Aqeuduct crosses the river just after this rapid. Just below the aqueduct there are 3 channels and most people take the far right channel.
Mile 5.9: Take-out in the town of Hood River where the Hood River meets the Columbia. There are several options on both sides of the river.