Mount Hood, the highest point in Oregon and the site of an active volcano, is full of scenic views and outdoor recreation. The mountain’s slopes await hikers, climbers, skiers and snowboarders. Swimmers will enjoy its many surrounding lakes and rivers, which are also great for sailing, windsurfing and fishing. The mountain is just a short trip away from Portland where hand-crafted beers, crafts and charming shops line the city’s streets.
Here are five things to do while visiting Mount Hood:
5…A place to relax
With more than one million acres of land to explore in Mt. Hood’s national forest, you will need a relaxing place to stay. Perched 6,000 feet up on the mountain, the Timberline Lodge was built in 1936 as part of the Federal Works Progress Administration born out of the Great Depression and is now a National Historic Landmark. Enjoy warm fires, a heated outdoor swimming pool, fitness room and sauna.
The lodge has several dining options including the Cascade Dining Room which includes on it’s menu fresh seafood, organic produce and locally raised beef and lamb, bringing diners a true taste of Oregon. Be sure to check out the gift shop and pick up a unique gift for friends and family back home.
The hike to the Fivemille Butte Lookout is well worth the trip. The destination? A cabin with views of the cascading slopes and snow-covered peaks of Mount Hood. Built atop a 40 feet tower, the cabin is furnished with a small bed, wood stove for heat, propane cook stove, a dining set and solar lighting system. Be sure to pack plenty of food and water to cook over campfires and barbecue pits.
Pack a pair binoculars and be on the lookout for golden eagles, wild turkeys, grouse and the brilliant blue jays. Other wildlife you may encounter includes elk, deer, coyote, cougars, and bears.
The cabin is available to rent year round and costs $50 a night per groups of up to four people.
The Deschutes River runs through Central Oregon to the Columbia Gorge, carving out a 300-foot canyon through the volcanic rock. The accompanying state park offers a variety of recreational activities including fishing, shooting the rapids, hiking, equestrian trail riding, and sightseeing. Whitewater, kayaking and canoeing rafting are popular along the Bend and Warm Springs. Enjoy fly-fishing for trout beginning in April and running through October. Salmon and steelhead fishing season runs in August through September.
At a 620-feet plunge, Multnomah Falls is the nation’s second highest waterfall and one of the top visited sites in Oregon. More than 2 million visitors make the trip to the easily accessible fall, located 30 miles east of Portland along Interstate-84. Walk across the Benson Bridge for great views of the fall, but for a full spectrum experience, hike up the 1.2 mile trail for inspirational views of the falls and the Gorge.
Take a break from the woods and visit the of Portland. The Aerial Tram carries commuters and visitors into the city complete with picturesque views of the Willamette River, Mount Hood and downtown Portland. Jump on the Light Rail for a quick trip to Portland’s Pearl District known for it’s art, dining and shopping scene. Enjoy restaurants serving locally grown foods and wines, Powell’s, the world’s largest independent bookstore and various microbreweries.
You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.