When it comes to visiting Oregon or Washington, most people immediately balk at any season that isn’t “summer”. The gray skies and rainy reputation are enough to hold people off for nine months out of the year.
We’ll admit: places with a cold and wet climate are generally not someone’s favorite destination for a vacation. However, the beauty of the Columbia River extends beyond just the months of June, July, and August, and we wanted to share some of our thoughts in regards to when would be the best time to visit, as each season comes with both its pros and cons.
Spring brings the bloom, which in a place like the Pacific Northwest, can make you feel like you’re in a wonderland.
Locals love the spring as they see the onset of wildflowers, for which the best time to see would be from late April through June. April is also the peak month to see blooming orchards, both in Hood River Valley as well as the Dalles. That said, these can still be rather “wet” months.
Spring also brings a particularly bubbly mood – locals are finally able to get out and enjoy the city’s outdoor markets and parks. You can feel this joy in the air!
Granted, summer is your least likelihood of seeing rain, as the Pacific Northwest enjoys three months of generally clear blue skies.
With beautiful weather though comes a fair number of crowds. They haven’t grown to overwhelming levels (also that depends on who you ask), but for hikes and such, some people prefer to avoid summers so as to avoid the masses.
Beyond that, and your occasional heat blaze, it’s hard to knock summers in the Pacific Northwest.
Fall is by far the most underrated time to visit. Many locals regard it as their favorite time of year: the crowds have cleared, the rain hasn’t started yet (at least consistently), and the fall colors are possibly the most stunning of the entire year. The foliage here around September is truly glorious.
Not to mention, fall is when the harvests of the Hood River Valley hit their peak, yielding some of the best produce you can get all year. Remember though, clouds and rain typically set in around late-September to early-October, so try to time your visit right!
If you’re asking us, for which most of our team has lived here our entire lives, there really isn’t a bad time to visit the Columbia River. Even the winter, despite being cold and wet, brings half-frozen waterfalls and scenery that’s just spectacular, not to mention the superb skiing and snowboarding on our amazing mountains. So, it’s always “win-win” for you.