awesome hikes and views at mt. hood oregon

Mt. Hood – Adventurous, Delightful and Frightening

Have you ever thought to yourself, “if only there were a place I could go anytime of the year, with fantastic hiking, snow skiing, snowboarding, and that’s famous for scaring the pants off of millions”?

ME TOO; one town to do it all!  Ok, maybe not the last part, but I’ve always wished there were somewhere I could escape to whenever I wanted to get my snow bunny fix…that wasn’t an international flight away.  And had I known this perfect little town actually exists, I would have made a B-Line to Mt. Hood, Oregon a long time ago!

year round ski and snowboarding at Mt. Hood

Just a short two hour drive from Portland is the only year round ski resort in North America!  Now, this isn’t just another resort town…Mt. Hood has a serious amount of Cascadian charm, creepy Hollywood history and a more than respectable adventure park.

Before I go raving about this famous ski mountain, let’s start down at the base.

For miles in each direction of Mt. Hood there are loads of national forest lands, which equal tons of great hiking.  One of our favorite afternoon hikes is the mirror pond trail.

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I think it’s fairly obvious as to why.

In true Wynn tradition we always search out a local brewery after a good long hike.  The Mt. Hood Brewery has some pretty decent pub food, a nice patio for a sunny day and some very tasty brews.  It’s definitely a local favorite and this brewery is well worth a visit (or two) on your way to the mountain.

mt hood brewery

If you’re willing to fork over some cash for an afternoon of fun, the Mt. Hood Adventure Park at Ski bowl is a fun twist on an amusement park.   It’s a crazy mash up of everything from zip lines, race cars, mountain biking, disc golf, horseback rides, to our personal favorite the alpine slides, and every other sort of adventure they can cram onto their mountain.  We noticed at least one bachelor party there and several kids b-day parties (definitely an excellent place for group events).

adventures in mt. hood

adventure park and ski bowl

Ok, now let’s get to that year round ski mountain I was bragging about.  Did I mention that it’s extra cool because it’s a glacier?  Well, it is.  It also has a 3 mile long run, a vertical elevation of 3590 ft and gets around 550 inches of snow each year!  Not bad…not bad at all.

mt hood ski resort

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to board during our short visit, but we did take the Magic Mile chair lift up to the top for the grand view, and for a little extra exercise we hiked down the mountain to the lodge.

jason hiking mt. hood

Then there’s the famous Timberline Lodge built as a part of President Roosevelt’s New Deal policies during the Great Depression.  The Timberline was constructed entirely by hand using local stone, and it’s absolutely stunning.  The architecture has been admired by many, but the most notable scenes of this lodge come from a Stanley Kubrick film.  Remember that one where Jack Nicholson totally looses it at the Overlook Hotel and tries to slaughter his family?  REDRUM REDRUM!  The Shining left me thinking “I should never try to spend a long winter in vacant hotel”…maybe no one should?!?

timberline lodge

Good news is The Shining is just a movie (I think) and the lodge is far from vacant.  In fact, good luck trying to snag a window seat at the bar restaurant!  With views like this, the window tables are the first to go.

timberline lodge view

The drinks and food taste just the same no matter where you sit, but the prices seem more appropriate for the window seats!  We opted not to break the bank on dinner and settled on a cheese platter and fancy beverages.  Luckily, neither disappointed us and after the first cocktail, we forgot all about those window seats.

nikki having a drink at timberline

cheese plate at the timberline lodge

Of course, you’re going to need somewhere to call home while you’re out having all of these adventures. You could splurge and stay at the timberline lodge or even dry camp in the parking lot like this guy (totally legit at the far end of the parking lot if you don’t mind the freezing temps).

free camping at timberline lodge

Or you could stay at a campground, and if you want all the bells and whistles you’ll want to check out Mt. Hood Village!  They have one of the nicest cabin sections we’ve ever seen at a campground (for those of you non campers).  As for the RV and tent camping sites, most are nice and spacious…and I can honestly say it’s better than the state park campground right next door.

Snowboarding on a glacier, fine dining, local coffee roasters, waterfall day hikes, snow mobiling….we missed so much during our short 5 day stay!  Oh well, I guess it gives us the perfect excuse to come back to soon.  Mt. Hood you haven’t seen the last of us!

Have you ever been to Mt. Hood?  Been scared to death of the “Overlook Hotel” since the 80’s?  Let us know your take on this awesome mountain town in the comments below!

Disclaimer: While we were compensated to film the campground (thanks Thousand Trails!)…all of our experiences and opinions are NOT purchased and are still our own.

Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (11)

  • Bob Upp

    Best Corn snow skiing anywhere. Long runs.

  • DaeBakMonkey

    Sweet! I live in portland!

  • Mark

    I lived full time for 3 years in a truck camper. Ive camped, lived or visited most of the big ski resorts in the USA.
    I was very impressed with the camping at Mt Hood. Million dollar views, and actually encouraged to camp there. great town, great restaurants / pubs & pinball among other things when I was there in March 2014. Unfortunately the snow was not cooperative that year. I started in Mt Bachelor / Bend OR March 1 2014 and spent 2 lovely weeks there, and then headed up to mt Hood, then portland, then down the coast to SF. Bachelor & Mt Hood are 2 of the best mountains ive seen for RVing, especially since you are not required to stay at a RV park, but encouraged to camp on the mountain in parking lot. Hood I think was free & Bachelor around 15 per night, extremely modest. Hood was a town straight out of a 80s or 90s ski film. I have not seen anything like that anywhere and I have pretty much been everywhere. Loved Hood. Great potential. Just needs snow. great concerns about global warming and snow there. and you can pretty much park / camp anywhere in town overnight (legally), aside from some alternate side of street snow removal rules.

  • How funny that you were at this particular hotel. I’m just about fished reading Stephen King’s “Doctor Sleep”, which is the sequel to “The Shining”. This particular hotel (with a different name, of course) is mentioned in flashbacks throughout the book. It’s a great read!

  • Cora

    I think I will take the 9 hour drive to this site , sounds like a really good time with a lot of activities the kids and adults will have a ball. I’m looking it up on thousand trails web site but it directs you to a different site have to wait until monday to see if I can book through Thousand Trails. I sure hope so.

    • I think this particular resort might be an Encore park, not a TT park. You should be able to get a discounted rate with your TT membership though.

  • So glad you had a great visit to Mt Hood, Jason and Nikki.

  • Karen

    We go up every summer just for the Alpine Slide. Had no idea there was a camping resort here, too. Once we start fulltiming we’ll have to come back every summer and spend a week in the campground just to do the slide every day!

    • Karen the campground is just down the road…maybe 10 minutes away. One of our favorite spots in 2013 for sure.


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