Mt. Hood – Adventurous, Delightful and Frightening

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. hoodadventure 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 timberlinecheese 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.