Here at Wet Planet, we know firsthand that rafting the White Salmon River is one of the best ways to work up an appetite, so it’s always ideal to end the day with something sweet! One of our favorite ways to continue your adventure in the Columbia River Gorge post-rafting is by exploring the Hood River Fruit Loop. Here is our guide to this rich agricultural area, including some of the best stops on the Hood River Fruit Loop.

The Hood River Fruit Loop

Different than the cereal, the Hood River Fruit Loop boasts bountiful harvests at 27 different fruit and farm stands, wineries, breweries, bakeries, and flower fields. Hood River, Oregon is located just across the Columbia River Gorge from Wet Planet, with 35 miles of rural roads leading into this famous agricultural site. It’s an easy drive to these farms from our base in Husum, Washington. With the sun setting late – i.e. 9:30 or 10 PM in the high summer season – many of our guests head across the river to satiate their post-trip hunger.

Depending on the season, you can find pears, apples, cherries, and more – plus stellar views of Mt. Hood year-round. In fact, you can easily make a self-guided tour of the Fruit Loop stands using online resources. You will find a wide range of food-centric adventures – from “U-Pick” orchards to multi-course winery experiences. Seasonality is important to keep in mind when visiting the Hood River Fruit Loop! While you can find preserves at spots like the Apple Valley Country Store, we recommend reading on to see what will be in season during your trip to Wet Planet per the Hood River Fruit Loop calendar.

Lavender Valley Mt. Hood

Lavender Valley. Photo by Bonnie Moreland via Flickr.


Though a bit early for edible produce to be its best, April is peak blossom time in the Hood River Valley. We refer to this super bloom of pear, apple, and cherry trees as the Hood River Blossom Festival. The north end of the valley begins blooming first, followed by the southern end. Visitors can expect to see peak blooms in mid-April, but they start as early as March and continue into May. The Hood River Fruit Loop website or Facebook is a great way to get updates on this stellar floral season, which is best experienced by taking a drive using the Hood River Fruit Loop map as your guide.

In April, we love to head out to Grateful Vineyard for a view of Mt. Hood alongside a culinary experience centered around the fruit they grow at their orchard, paired with local, small craft beer, hard seltzer, wine, and cider. In fact, they have been featured on Bravo’s Top Chef! Because Grateful Vineyard has apple and pear orchards onsite, you have a great chance of seeing some of the blossoms here. The grounds are open to all ages, and reservations are required for 21+ tastings and food pairings.

Grateful Vineyards Mt. Hood

Guests enjoying lunch at Grateful Vineyards


Blossoms continue into May, and the stellar view of snowy Mt. Hood is a year-round highlight of exploring the Hood River Fruit Loop. Though you might be a bit too early for any of the fruit to be harvestable, we recommend checking out Packer Orchards & Bakery, which has free samples in addition to locally made salsas, jams, honey, pickled vegetables, and more for purchase. If you’ve left the Hood River Valley and are craving local jam, Packer Orchards also has a great online store

Packer Orchards Jam

Farm fresh pear jam from Packer Orchards.


The first true harvest season starts in early June when the strawberries come out to play. Our June rafters are sure to get their red fruit fix by cruising the Hood River Fruit Loop. Strawberries only hang around for that month, so get them before they’re gone!

By late June, cherries and raspberries are also in-season. A local classic for opportunities to pick these fruits yourself is The Gorge White House in Pine Grove, Oregon. The house itself has been around for over 100 years, making it a landmark of the area and an opportunity to learn some local history while also enjoying time outside in their expansive U-Pick fruit and flower fields.

The Gorge White House

Locally-made cider at The Gorge White House.


Cherries and raspberries continue to grow strong, joined by tasty apricots and other pit fruits in early July. Mid-July is when blueberries burst on the bushes, so visitors to Wet Planet can make colorful fruit salads with all these edible gems. A stop at Montavon’s Berries in Parkdale, Oregon is a great call since they have both U-Pick and ready-picked berries galore! If you want a bit more than berries, Pearl’s Place Fruit Stand in Pine Grove is a superb stop too.

For a produce stop even closer to the Wet Planet base, we recommend the White Salmon Farmer’s Market, which is open 4 PM – 7 PM on Tuesdays from mid-June until late September. Dickey Farms Inc. in Bingen, Washington is also a fun stop with a larger range of hours!

White Salmon Farmers Market

White Salmon Farmer’s Market. Photo by Gorge Grown Food Network.


August is a BIG month for the Fruit Loop! Apricots and cherries are still in season early in August, and blueberries hang on a bit longer. In addition, a plentiful array of new produce pops up as the month continues.
Excitingly, August marks the beginning of peach season! Red Haven peaches are the first species to ripen and have one of the shortest harvest seasons of any fruit on the Hood River Fruit Loop. If you’re rafting with us in August, seize the opportunity to try one while they’re still warm from the sun – as a peach is meant to be eaten! As soon as Red Haven peaches leave the scene, Elberta peaches make their debut.

Early August is also when the Gravenstein apples become ripe enough to pick. Plus, the lavender and herbs go into bloom. These floral fields with picturesque views of Mt. Hood are a great place to snap a serene picture that will balance out the pictures of you looking stoked on the White Salmon.

Thrown into the “fruit” mix in mid-August is corn – try it grilled on the cob! Mid-August is also when Bartlett pears and tomatoes come onto the “in-season” scene.

With so much in season, you can really do it all in August! We highly recommend Hood River Lavender Farms, which has amazing views of Mt. Adams and is the perfect spot to relax post-rafting. The lavender farm boasts rows of purple, pastures with goats, a wine garden, music and a farm store. Their locally distilled essential oils will inspire a sense of Zen and offset the adrenaline you might feel after taking on Husum Falls!

Hood River Lavender Farms

Stunning view of Mt. Adams from Hood River Lavender Farms


While Gravenstein apples go out of season in early September, the herbal bouquets, corn, tomatoes, and Elberta peaches push on until the middle of the month. As they dwindle, Anjou and Bosc pears, plus autumn apples and specialty apples, mark what might feel like the beginning of fall…or a continuation of summer, depending on how the wind blows.

The end of September is also the end of the Wet Planet season, but the Fruit Loop season will continue through October, churning out chestnuts, pumpkins, and gourds to initiate full-on autumn.
Hood River U-Pick is a superb spot to see animals, have a picnic, and – obviously – do some U-Picking! They close after cherry season and re-open Mid-September to show off their organic apples.

Hood River U-Pick Pears

Organic Bartlett Pears at Hood River U-Pick

The Hood River Fruit Loop has something for everyone!

No matter when you visit Wet Planet to hit the river, you can be sure there is something special happening on the Hood River Fruit Loop. Beyond the farms, you can discover delicious restaurants, breweries, and wineries, or just take a cruise up the scenic highway as the sun sets and illuminates Mt. Hood. After a day of whitewater rafting on the White Salmon River, we personally love to hit the Hood River Fruit Loop and recommend it to anyone visiting the area!

Author Grace Bohlsen works as a Reservation & Guest Service Specialist at Wet Planet Whitewater. She enjoys connecting adventurers with nature and getting them stoked to be out on the rapids of the White Salmon River.