The Best Washington Huckleberry Picking

Though there’s plenty to love about all four seasons in the Hood River area, summer is arguably our favorite. There are plenty of fantastic things to do in the Columbia River Gorge, but one of our perennial favorites is when Washington Huckleberry picking season comes into focus! 

The Columbia River Gorge is a true fruit lover’s destination, as our dedicated Hood River Fruit Loop makes abundantly clear. But aside from visiting local farms and orchards, there’s another fantastic fruit to find in the Gorge, and that’s the Washington Huckleberry.

Though you can pretty easily find huckleberries in this neck of the woods – with 12 different varieties of huckleberries growing in Washington and Oregon – the sweet-tart flavor of the Washington Huckleberry is often thought of as a hiker’s treat. One of our favorite places to enjoy this time-honored summer tradition is the Gifford Pinchot National Forest on the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. 

We’d be more than happy to share our favorite spots for Washington huckleberry picking with you – but first, you need to book your cabin at our top-rated cabins in Washington. With private cabins, gorgeous grounds, and unbeatable hospitality, you simply won’t find any lodging better than ours. Book your cabin today!

A freshly picked handful of Washington Huckleberry - a summer tradition in the Columbia River Gorge

Washington Huckleberry Season!

The Washington Huckleberry is a wild, sweet-tart treat sought by avid hikers and foraging enthusiasts. It’s considered a cousin of another of our favorite berries, the Blueberry – and, luckily, they can be found all over the state. They thrive on the sunny hillsides of our mountain forests! You’ll have to compete with local bears, though, as these small wild berries are a favorite of theirs, too!

Each summer, we rejoice when Washington huckleberry season comes into focus, usually sometime in mid-August. Though these berries can pop up in various locations, they grow best on slopes somewhere between 3 and 7,000 feet in elevation. You’ll know they are ready for picking when they are plump and deep purple and, of course, sweet to the taste. 

Given how prolifically huckleberries grow around Washington and Oregon, you can find them just about anywhere you’re willing to hike. Locally, our favorite place to go for Washington huckleberry picking is the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. We love to head to the Sawtooth Berry Fields in the Indian Heaven Wilderness, a historically significant area long-used by Native American tribes. Watch for designated Washington huckleberry picking areas here, and avoid areas designed for local tribes.

Before heading out on your Washington huckleberry picking adventure, print out your permit – a requirement established to help the forest service maintain a sustainable huckleberry population. For personal consumption, you’re allowed to pick no more than one gallon of berries per day, with a maximum of three gallons per season.

Of course, if you miss your chance to grab your own handful of the Washington huckleberry this summer, you’ll still find plenty of huckleberry jams, shakes, syrups, and pies in farmstands, markets, restaurants, and stores. 

Aside from picking during Washington Huckleberry season, there are plenty of great things to do in Hood River - aerial view of this charming river town

More Things to Do in Hood River This Summer

Though enjoying Washington Huckleberry picking season is one of our favorite summer traditions – and something we look forward to every year – it’s just one of the many fantastic things to do in Hood River and the surrounding Columbia River Gorge. Summer is a spectacular season to explore the Gorge – whether hiking, biking, chasing waterfalls, or driving the Hood River Fruit Loop and indulging in local flavors at area farms, restaurants, wineries, and breweries. 

With long, sunny days stretching out before us, there’s more time than ever to enjoy the best things to do in Hood River. There’s a little something for everyone here – and below, you’ll find eight of our favorite things to do in Hood River.

  1. Undoubtedly, the Columbia River Gorge is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream – so it’s easy to say that one of our favorite things to do in Hood River and the surrounding area is getting outside for an adventure! Whether enjoying one of these fantastic Columbia Gorge hikes or biking regional roads and trails, you’ll have ample experiences to choose from this summer! 
  2. You can’t visit Hood River in the summer without seeing kiteboarders (windsurfers) flying through the air on the Columbia River. This area’s windy conditions are legendary in the kiteboarding community, and watching them is super fun! You can try it yourself, too – just work with a local company like Cascade Kiteboarding to keep safe. If you’d prefer a more relaxed water-based adventure, head to the Gorge Paddling Center or Hood River SUP and Kayak.
  3. Summer is a wonderful time to visit the farms on the Hood River Fruit Loop Trail – a delicious and scenic way to experience the best of the Columbia River Gorge and arguably one of our favorite things to do in Hood River!
  4. Though summer is one of the busier times to be in the Columbia River Gorge, witnessing the area’s natural beauty at places like Multnomah Falls, one of the most famous waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest, is more than worth it. Of course, this is just one of the many worthwhile Columbia Gorge waterfalls to see this summer, which is easily one of our favorite things to do in Hood River! 
  5. Though the outdoors features prominently in any trip to the Gorge in summer, there are plenty of other things to do in Hood River, too! One of our favorites is visiting local Hood River Breweries.
  6. We’ll happily supply you with a delicious bottle of private-label Friendship Wine when you stay at our luxury cabins in Washington, but if you want to do even more wine tasting in the Columbia River Gorge, don’t miss these amazing Hood River wineries

As the sun sets on your day, return to the comfort of our luxury cabins in Washington – by far the best place to stay near Hood River. Book your cabin today!

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