Axonal transport is required for neuronal development and survival. Transport from the axon to the soma is driven by the molecular motor cytoplasmic dynein, yet it remains unclear how dynein is spatially and temporally regulated. We find that the dynein effector Hook1 mediates transport of TrkB–BDNF-signaling endosomes in primary hippocampal neurons. Hook1 comigrates with a subpopulation of Rab5 endosomes positive for TrkB and BDNF, which exhibit processive retrograde motility with faster velocities than the overall Rab5 population. Knockdown of Hook1 significantly reduced the motility of BDNF-signaling endosomes without affecting the motility of other organelles. In microfluidic chambers, Hook1 depletion resulted in a significant decrease in the flux and processivity of BDNF-Qdots along the mid-axon, an effect specific for Hook1 but not Hook3. Hook1 depletion inhibited BDNF trafficking to the soma and blocked downstream BDNF- and TrkB-dependent signaling to the nucleus. Together, these studies support a model in which differential association with cargo-specific effectors efficiently regulates dynein in neurons.