Cyclists enjoy a well-earned glass of Syrah at Cathedral Ridge Winery after a June ride. ##Photo by Dan Shryock

Cycling Series: Part 4

Hood River

By Dan Shryock

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth of six monthly guides exploring places to cycle in Oregon wine country. Cycling can be a safe activity as long as riders continue to practice social distancing, officials say. Research suggests cyclists extend spacing as far as 20 yards when riding single-file to accommodate extended airflow or the slipstream. Wineries are determining how to safely welcome visitors, so check websites or call for the most current information. 

Wine glasses rest on a table outside the Cathedral Ridge tasting room. Chairs positioned on the lawn allow guests a clear view of Mount Adams across the Columbia River. The ride is complete; it’s time to enjoy some Syrah.

Hood River ranks as one of Oregon’s top outdoor recreation destinations. There’s no surprise that wine country cycling here is an extraordinary experience. With quiet rural roads, fruit trees and vineyards along the way, and surrounding mountain views, this area is worth the drive.

“You can pick your scene of the day as you ride,” said Cathedral Ridge owner/cellar master Robb Bell. “You can look at Mount Adams or Mount Hood or the Gorge. We’ve got all of it.”

That goes for varieties, too.

“You don’t have to go to France or Spain or Italy (for wine),” he said. “The climate zones matching the Rhine, the Rhône, Bordeaux and Burgundy regions are all here. You name the microclimate you want, and you can have it here.”

Wine Country Ride

Whether you’re a serious road cyclist or casual cruiser, Hood River has something to offer, including a 12-mile loop (see link in sidebar) leading to a few wineries. As you ride past vineyards as well as pear and apple orchards, enjoy the beauty and fresh air.

The tour starts and finishes at Cathedral Ridge. The winery sits on Post Canyon Drive, a quiet country road and primary path for mountain bikers heading west to the popular Post Canyon trails. Stops along the way include Marchesi Vineyards, Phelps Creek Vineyards and Hood Crest Winery.

MountNBarrel provides guided bike tours of Hood River wineries and farms. ##Photo courtesy of MountNBarrel

“We get a lot of people who bike in,” noted Quinn Macnab, general manager at Marchesi. “We see mountain bikers, road bikers, casual riders. People come into town to do things, and they come by after their recreation and hang out for a glass of wine.”

Winemaker Franco Marchesi produces Italian-style varietals and blends consistent with the vintages made in his home city of Borgosesia in the Piedmonte region of Italy. In fact, both Borgosesia and Hood River share the same geographic latitude (45.7 degrees North).

“We try to provide a relaxing, inviting ambiance on the patio where people can feel really comfortable and escape from the world,” Macnab said. “Franco is in the tasting room almost every day. A lot of Italian lifestyle and hospitality comes through.”

Roll west and south from Marchesi, winding through trees and between orchards and vineyards. The next stop is Phelps Creek Vineyards, an unassuming tasting room within the Hood River Golf Course grounds. Taste the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris at an outdoor table and take in the some awe-inspiring views.

Continue south on Country Club Road and turn east on Portland Drive. Enjoy more than two miles of gentle, consistent gliding before finally rolling to a stop sign at Tucker Road (Highway 281). Exercise caution as you turn north, and use the highway shoulder for a half mile until you reach Hood Crest Winery. The tasting room includes a relaxing outdoor patio near the vines. Sample wines and share a pizza from the wood-fired oven. Check the winery website in advance for a chance to hear owner/musician Tess Barr and her blues band.

Heading back to Cathedral Ridge, refer to the route map for turn-by-turn directions to Portland Drive and then two peaceful miles to the winery, where your table, mountain views and a post-ride glass of wine await.

Though Cathedral Ridge is known for its big reds, Robb Bell is quick to emphasize the options don’t stop there. “We’re blessed to have our varietals,” he says. “That’s what we do. We’ve got 26 of them. I call it a consumer collection.”

Take the Highway

Here’s another route to consider: a remarkable ride along the Historic Columbia River Highway and Trail. This network extends through Hood River east to Mosier where three additional wineries await thirsty guests.

Start at the Senator Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead, located east of downtown Hood River, and enjoy four miles of car-free pavement. Vehicle parking at the trailhead includes a $3 day-use fee.

Ride through the trail’s Twin Tunnels and arrive in Mosier. Continue on the low-traffic historic highway and watch for signs to Garnier Vineyards and Idiot’s Grace Winery. A detour in downtown Mosier will lead you to Analemma Wines.

Gorge Guide

Looking for a guide? Ali McLaughlin’s MountNBarrel tours offer a taste of all Hood River has to offer.

Consider this a farm-to-bike tour. Visit local wineries, have lunch, pedal to nearby u-pick fruit farms and then cap the day with a private wine tasting. Each tour connects with seven local businesses.

MountNBarrel provides bikes — they also have a fleet of six e-bikes — so you can explore the backroads, ride across vineyards and orchards, and enjoy the mountain views.

“All you have to do is show up, and we’ll do everything for you,” McLaughlin explained. “We do the bulk of our ride at the beginning, and then we start tasting. We provide a locally sourced lunch. For the last part, we shuttle up to a private vineyard for tasting and then shuttle back.”

Downtown Wineries

Several wineries maintain tasting rooms in downtown Hood River. Most are within walking distance of one another. Check the Hood River Wine Alliance website for details. 


Ride Resources


Cathedral Ridge Winery 

Marchesi Vineyards 

Phelps Creek Vineyards 

Hood Crest Winery 

Garnier Vineyards 

Idiot’s Grace Winery 

Analemma Wines 

Hood River Wine Alliance

Bike Tour


Maps & Information

Hood River Wine Country Cycling Route 

Hood River/Gorge travel info 

Hood River biking info 




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