This Ultimate Outdoor Adventure is 10/10

I thought the perfect day didn’t exist, but I was wrong.

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My tween daughter is an unofficial part of the PDX Parent team, and she has tested dozens — maybe hundreds? — of activities. She is always editing her mental list of top five outings, and within the first two minutes of riding the Mount Hood Railroad Railbikes, she said, “This is my new favorite thing to do,” which is high praise indeed, coming from her.

Why are railbikes so fun?

Wondering what all the fuss is about? Here’s what makes this outing a 10/10:

Courtesy of Mount Hood Railroad

The Views

We enjoyed views of Mount Hood, a small waterfall, Hood River, fun bridges, pine trees, and an orchard and vineyard. We were never bored — there was always something new and exciting to see.

The Novelty

There’s nothing like this experience. It’s a glorious cross between cycling and train travel and going for a scenic drive or hike.

The Exercise

I admit we relied heavily on the pedal-assist motor on the uphill climbs, but we still got plenty of exercise and the endorphins added to our good mood. (FYI: Not all railbike adventures offer pedal-assist motors; check before booking.)

The One-on-One Time

When you have more than one child, one-on-one time can be hard to come by. On the railbikes at Mount Hood Railrood, you’re naturally divided into pairs. My daughter and I chatted for two hours with no distractions, and it will be one of my favorite memories of all time. If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with your tween or teen, this is it.

Is my child old enough for railbikes?

Each venue will have their own requirements, but at Mount Hood Railroad, bikes are not suited for children under 44 inches. My daughter is 11 and had no trouble reaching the pedals, thanks to the adjustable seats.


On Joseph Branch Railriders, however, you may attach carseats to the railbikes on some of their routes, so even the youngest kiddos can ride.

Is there anything not to love?

A railbike experience is a splurge. For our family, this outing falls into the special occasion category — perfect for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or an outing with visiting family members. Even if it’s a one-time splurge for your family, Mount Hood Railroad gets it exactly right when they say, “the memories will last a lifetime.”

Where to Railbike in Oregon

We loved our experience in Hood River so much, that we’re adding the rest of these to our summer bucket list ASAP:

Railbikes at Mount Hood Railroad

Where: Hood River, Oregon
When: May-October
Cost: $199 for a two-person tandem railbike
Details: Single riders must be 18 years of age. All riders must be 44 inches tall and under 250 pounds. The excursion lasts approximately 2.4 hours. Pedal-assist motor is available, and this makes the experience completely relaxing. There are two stops at the unique switchback, and one stop at The Fruit Company to rest and shop for snacks, beverages, and gifts.

Twins Ranch Rail Riders

Where: Wheeler, Oregon and Bay City, Oregon
When: May-September
Cost: $30 per person
Details: The railbikes on this adventure seat four. All riders must be taller than 48 inches and weigh less than 240 pounds. Tour lasts approximately two hours, and you’ll see beautiful views of the Nehalem Bay. The ride is mainly flat but “can be strenuous” (no pedal-assist); you must be physically fit for this tour, according to the website.

Oregon Coast Railriders

Where: Coquille, OR
When: May-September
Cost: $25/child, $40/adult
Details: This two-hour tour features four-seated railbikes with no pedal-assist motors. Expect to see wildlife and farm animals on this scenic tour of the Coquille Valley, along with a wood processing mill and log pond. The “wildflowers are spectacular through much of the summer,” according to their website.

Joseph Branch Railriders

Where: Joseph, OR and Minam, OR
When: May-October
Cost: Varies by route, $30-$75 per person
Details: This railbike adventure offers seven different route options departing from Joseph and Minam, all of them with stunning views. The routes vary by length, difficulty, and whether or not they offer pedal assist. Unlike most railbike adventures, you can bring a carseat for very young children on this adventure. Car seats are required for ages 2 and under. Maximum weight per seat is 300 pounds.

Meg Asby
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