The Mt. Hood Railroad is located in the center of the Columbia River Gorge approximately 60 miles east of Portland and 30 miles north of Mt. Hood, Ore. A vital rail-line for the valley since 1906, it was eventually used as a commuter-train route until the 1930s. Today, it is still an active freight line and offers visitors excursions on original cars that include enclosed coaches, concession cars and air-conditioned dome cars that provide views of the surrounding mountains and forests.
Odell Excursion Train
The Odell Excursion Train, departing from the town of Hood River, offers an 11-mile two-hour journey southeast to the Hood River Valley. The tour includes a narrated 45-minute trip to the historic fruit-packing town of Odell where passengers receive a 30-minute layover to walk around and visit the local grocers. The excursions are offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 3 to 5 p.m. during the months of June through September. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made two weeks in advance although walk-ins are welcome to call and confirm possible availability.
The Parkdale Excursion is a four-hour trip that departs from downtown Hood River and travels 22 miles southeast to Parkdale, near the base of Mt. Hood. The tour includes a narrated journey and a one-hour layover in the fruit capital of Parkdale where passengers can walk to the Elliot Glacier Brew Pub for a root beer or Alabama Jims for ice cream. Sack lunches, which include a sandwich, chips, locally-grown fruit and a 12-ounce beverage, are also available from the concession train. The excursions are offered every day at 10 a.m. (except Monday) between the months of April through November.
Friday Night Wine Train
The Friday Night Wine Train is offered weekly from September through the end of October. Each tour includes a freshly-prepared boxed meal from the Celilo Restaurant (a Travel Oregon rated restaurant) and a host who selects a wine pairing for the meal from a variety of limited production reserves. As of October 2010, a recent menu has included barbecue-roasted chicken served over cabbage slaw along with fresh-baked bread and an assortment of cheese and fruit. Each Friday night tour departs at 6:30 p.m. and features a different local winery. Reservations are highly recommended.