Mount Hood is best known globally as a climbers hot spot and a skiers dream come true. It sits just a quick hour and change drive from Portland and serves as a playground to those outdoor enthusiasts living in the area. What many people don’t know, however, is the vast amount of activities that can be found on the mountain during the summer. If you are visiting Mount Hood this summer here are 5 things to do when you stop by.
Visit Timberline Lodge
Timberline Lodge is world famous perhaps mostly from the filming of Jack Nicholas’ 1970’s thriller The Shining. It was built from 1936 to 1938 by the WPA during the Great Depression and in 1937 was dedicated by Franklin D Roosevelt. The lodge has stood as a symbol of Mount Hood over the years and now serves as a day use lodge for Timberline Ski Area and a starting point for the majority of climbers attempting to reach the summit of Mount Hood. During your visit to the lodge you can check out the historic area which acts as a museum outlining the history of the lodge as well as Mount Hood. Once you are done learning you can enjoy a cold or warm beverage in the bar or sit down for a delicious meal at one of the restaurants. If you are here on a weekend don’t be surprised if you run into a wedding party as the lodge is a popular destination for those looking to get hitched. Lastly, while you are up there, do not forget to sit back and take in the amazing views of Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson. For more information, room reservations and accommodations visit Timberline Lodge’s website.
Summer Ski on one of America’s only year-round Ski Resorts
If you are heading up to Timberline Lodge this summer don’t forget to bring your skis! That’s right, Timberline is one of the very few places in the continental US that you can ski or snowboard year round. The Palmer snowfield offers year round skiing and is where many professional athletes spend their summer dialing in their skiing or snowboarding skills. A large portion of the snowfield is privately reserved for summer campers and professional athletes however there is plenty of space for those who want to ride during the summer. A ticket for the day will run you close to $60 which might be steep for just one chairlift, however, where else can you ski or snowboard during the summer? If you do plan on riding Timberline, be sure to get up there early. Due to the slushy summer conditions the lifts begin running at 7am and typically close at 1 or 2pm depending on how quickly it warms up.
Don’t Ski or Snowboard but want to go Up the Mountain?
You can ride the Magic Mile chairlift to the top of Palmer snowfield for just around $15 for one trip. You don’t need skis or a snowboard – just hop on and let the chairlift do all the hard work. If you thought the view from the lodge was nice wait til you get up to the 7,000 ft mark at the top of the Magic Mile. Don’t forget to dress warm if it is a cold day and bring your camera!
Go for a Hike
Mount Hood is home to some of the greatest outdoor adventures in all of Oregon. Because of it’s proximity to the Portland metropolitan area there is no shortage of hiking trails, mountain biking or camping. There are many easy day hikes you can access right from Government Camp and for those more adventurous you have plenty of longer hikes to choose from as well. One of the more popular hikes in the area is to Mirror Lake, a short one and a half mile hikes with roughly a 800ft gain that drops you at the bottom of Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain. The Lake was given its name because on a clear day it offers a beautiful reflection of Mount Hood in the water. If time is limited, Mirror Lake is a popular choice as the experienced hiker can complete the round trip in about 2 hours. For a longer hike consider climbing up Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain. It offers incredible views of Mount Hood and is another popular hiking destination for visitors. For more hikes around Mount Hood visit The Northwest Hikers interactive Mount Hood Page.
Visit Ski Bowl’s Adventure Center
For those looking for a little adventure on the mountain and want to take the kids somewhere family friendly, try out Ski Bowl’s summer adventure park. Sure, Ski Bowl boasts that it is the largest night ski area in America during the winter, but in the summer the place transforms into a mountain fun park. Some of the top attractions at the park include bungee jumping, zip lines, alpine slides and downhill or cross country mountain biking. And if you don’t have a mountain bike, don’t worry – you can rent on at the resort. If you are looking to have fun for the whole family while visiting Mount Hood, then Ski Bowl’s summer adventure park might just be it.
Swim in a Mountain Lake
On a hot day there is nothing like a quick dip in a mountain lake. Mount Hood has not shortage of these lakes and while they can be very chilly at times, on a hot day they can also be just what the doctor ordered. Trillium Lake is one of the more popular lake destinations on the mount and it is located just a few miles east of Government Camp. You can drive to Trillium Lake and it offers a day use area near the dam which is great for lounging in the sun, fishing, swimming or letting the dogs run. If you choose to visit this area be sure to pay the $5 day use fee as the area is heavily regulated due to its popularity. Clear Lake Reservoir is another lake that is great for swimming and is located about 20 minutes from Government Camp off highway 26. It also offers great views of Mount Hood and is slightly larger and allows motorized boats, unlike Trillium. The shore of clear Lake is quite rocky and not exactly beach like but it is a great place for swimming or boating. Lastly, there is Timothy Lake, which is located about 30 minutes from Government Camp and far off the beaten path. For those looking to make the trek to Timothy lake for the day, you will find warm water and plenty of day use areas to choose from. Motorized boats are allowed but there is a 5mph speed limit on the whole lake. Timothy is probably the best choice when it comes to swimming as the water is almost always warm and many of the day use areas have great views of Mount Hood.