Ride the rails through Hood River’s rich history

The historic Mount Hood Railroad “Valley Tour” takes you through fertile land dotted with farms and orchards.

HOOD RIVER, Oregon – You don’t want to be late for the Mount Hood Railroad “Valley Tour.” The train rolls into the town of Hood River depot at noon sharp to pick up passengers for the 2-hour journey down the valley.

This is a ride that provides insight into Hood River’s history that dates back over a century.

“Rail service is how people got to this city in 1906 and we’ve been running continuously ever since,” said Ron Kaufmann. “We carry freight all year round and also run tours with passengers. It’s great to feel the jostling of the carriages as you ride a line that looks pretty much like it did back then. .

He added that passengers love to get on board and touch the past.

“There’s something really old-fashioned about it that people can’t find anywhere else,” Kaufmann said. “So I feel pretty lucky to be doing this and it’s great to do it in my hometown.”

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The train rolls on and immediately offers spectacular river and valley views that you can’t see from the tarmac highway – and there’s a bonus to the pace of the ride.

“It’s a bit slower and it takes people back to a bygone era when life wasn’t so fast,” Kaufmann said. “I tell people to just look out the window and enjoy the unique scenery and views.”

Sights include dozens of family farms and orchards where fruit trees are heavy with the bounty of autumn.

The Mt. Hood Railroad will take you along the Hood River Valley. It’s a chance to leave the driving to someone else on a scenic ride that will leave you wide-eyed and mouth-opening for Oregon’s bountiful seasonal beauty.

The Kiyokawa family’s orchards near Parkdale lure shoppers with many of their favorite apples grown on their fertile land. Popular apples like ‘Gala’ and ‘Fuji’ are available alongside lesser-known varieties like ‘Ginger Gold’.

Randy Kiyokawa said they offer more than 80 varieties, including the plate-sized giants called “Hanner’s Jumbo”; it is a variety of apple that can weigh up to 4 pounds.

He also wielded a stunner of an apple with an incredible surprise called “Mountain Rose”. With a quick flick of the blade of his pocket knife, Randy showed off the beautiful inside of an apple that looked more like a crimson red watermelon.

“It’s become one of my favorites,” noted the longtime apple grower. “It retains that shiny color and doesn’t brown quickly – people love how sweet it tastes and it really is absolutely delicious.”

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Don’t forget to take a look at the many rows of u-pick fruit trees. Over three acres of apples and pears are grown next to the family store and Randy said picking the fruit is so easy anyone can try.

“Fruit is close at hand and no ladder is needed. It’s really great fun whether you’re young or old, there will be an apple to pick.

Ingi Song brought her family to the valley from Beaverton and they had fun loading boxes of beautiful apples. He said the activity was the perfect one-day getaway for his family: “It’s away from the city and it allows us to do something different together. The scenery is also stunning here in the Hood River Valley.

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