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Posted on Nov 17, 2013 | 3 comments

A Day in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Part 2: Hood River, Fruit Loop, and Punchbowl Falls

A Day in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon Part 2: Hood River, Fruit Loop, and Punchbowl Falls

The second half of our day in the Columbia Gorge, Oregon continued down the highway towards Hood River, Fruit Loop, and Punchbowl Falls. Just an hour outside of Portland, Oregon and just past all of the beautiful waterfalls we’d seen earlier in the day, starts the 35 mile scenic drive known as the Fruit Loop.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

A brief stop in Hood River included a visit to some vintage Mt. Hood Railroad cars.

After a brief stop in Hood River, we took this laid-back drive through the valley’s orchards, farmlands, and forests of Hood River County. Home to the nation’s largest pear-growing region, it’s the perfect place and one of the few, to be able to experience the growing, producing of eating of not only pears, but many other types of local fruits.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Walking in the flower fields.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

All different types of Dahlias at The Gorge White House.

Our favorite stop along the way was a visit to the historic home, The Gorge White House, on a century-old working farm. We walked through the flower fields while taking in double mountain views. We sampled a flight of hard ciders in the flavors of apple, pear, blueberry, and their new limited edition mixed berry in their newly designed beer and cider room. That hard cider was so good; we still wish we had gotten a growler of it to go.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Sampling a flight of hard ciders.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Anna of The Legendary Adventures of Anna agreed that the mixed berry hard cider was the best!

We made other stops along the Fruit Loop to enjoy fruit and jam samples, have some ice cream to cool us down, interact with farm animals, and eat some delicious BBQ for lunch. It was a great way to send a warm afternoon with our friend Anna of the Legendary Adventures of Anna. The Fruit Loop is a great place to spend a day any time from spring through autumn with something different to offer at all times of the year.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Sampling different pears, apples, and peaches along the Fruit Loop.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Everywhere we looked, the views along the Fruit Loop were spectacular.

On our way back to Portland, we stopped at Eagle Creek Trail Campground in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area to visit Punchbowl Falls. Punchbowl Falls ranks up there with Mount Hood, Multnomah Falls, and Crater Lake as some of the most enduring Oregon icons. As evidenced by the name of Punchbowl Falls, the years of water flow have carved out a deep, bowl-shaped pool at the base of the falls creating a circular basin.

None of us had done much research before heading there and weren’t aware that Punchbowl Falls was accessed by a 2 mile hike, only. Needless to say, we were not the best prepared for the 2 mile hike into the falls. If we had, we wouldn’t have been wearing flip flops and would have brought more water for the steep uphill hike to Punchbowl Falls. As well as, flashlights for the hike back.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Our walk back along the steep cliffs at twilight. Photo by Anna.

The Eagle Creek Trail is the most popular trail in the Columbia Gorge. Starting at the trailhead, we began our hike easy enough through the forest on a well-groomed trail surrounded by new-growth, lush ferns, and moss-covered rocks. As we moved along, the trail steadily started to gain elevation. The path turned steep and narrow carved into sheer basalt cliffs with no guardrails. The Eagle Creek Trail hike offered us spectacular viewpoints and waterfalls along the way. Even though cable lines were built into the walls in some sections to provide some stability, the sheer cliffs make the hike not suitable for children or those afraid of heights.

After what felt like more than 2 miles, we were rewarded with spectacular views of both upper and lower Punchbowl Falls. From the top, the water spilled into a blue-green pool set among a large grotto. No matter the trek, it was worth the hike in.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Rocky banks at Punchbowl Falls.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Upper Punch Bowl Falls.

Hood River Fruit Loop Punchbowl Falls

Lower Punchbowl Falls.

Please note that jumping or diving off of Punchbowl Falls is prohibited and a hefty fine is issued for doing so due to injury and many who have lost their lives.

Have you ever visited Hood River, Fruit Loop, and/or Punchbowl Falls?

All photography by Kimmy Hayes © 2013, unless otherwise noted.

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About Kimmy Hayes


Kimmy Hayes is the founder and editor-in-chief of AfterGlobe; a site on becoming debt free and traveling the world as a married couple. In 2012, she planned and coordinated her own do-it-yourself destination wedding on the beautiful island of Maui while serving as a moderator for the on-line community, The Knot. She is passionate about traveling to experience new cultures, snorkeling the waters of the world and reading with her toes in the sand.

3 Comments

  1. I enjoyed the Eagle Creek trail to Punchbowl Falls a few years ago. Great area to explore when the weather is decent (usually in the summer months).
    Angela recently posted…Glenveagh CastleMy Profile

  2. I’ve never been there but would love to visit. Anna is always fun to hang out with, got the chance to meet up with her while I was up in Colorado but have been trying to cross paths and meet up again since then. But those hard ciders must have been yummy! ;-)
    Ron | Active Planet Travels recently posted…Exploring the Raw Markets of Sapa Vietnam Part 2My Profile

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  1. 14 Travel Blogs to Read in 2014 - AfterGlobe - […] met Anna last year while she was traveling through Oregon. We got the chance to take a day trip …

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