Wednesday, August 14, 2013/lk
With a deep-green, slow-moving swimming hole shimmering in the afternoon sunlight, the Hood River at Tucker Bridge has long been one of the best swimming holes on the river anywhere between the Punchbowl in Dee and the old Powerdale Dam powerhouse just outside downtown Hood River.
Parking can be an issue here, access is steep and there’s not much of a beach for lounging on, so this spot is better for a quick dip on a hot afternoon than for picnicking and lounging around on lawn chairs all day long.
Tucker Bridge crosses over the Hood River about two miles south of Windmaster Market near the Odell/Parkdale junction. Roadside parking is limited to just a few cars on both sides of Tucker Road, while the large parking lot at Apple Valley Country Store is designated for store customers only, with no parking for river users due to space limitations and liability issues.
A small trail on the south side of the bridge leads down to the river, with a metal ladder of about 10 steps to negotiate at the bottom. The access trail and limited beach/rock space makes the Tucker Bridge swimming hole less-than-ideal to bring dogs, small children, coolers, glass or other beach-wares.
Adding to the fun of this particular location is a beginner-friendly rope swing strung from the underside of the bridge. It’s nothing crazy, but the rocks you swing from are high enough to build up speed, skim your toes across the water, launch into the air and land a giant cannonball in the middle of the river.
The site is also a popular put-in for kayakers and whitewater stand-up paddlers headed for a quick downstream run to the mouth or take-out for kayakers coming from middle sections of the Hood.
As an added word of concern about accessing the river at this site: Adjacent landowners do not condone recreating in the river here due to liability concerns. Please respect their property rights when parking/walking and respect the river and the beach by keeping it clean and safe.