Mount Hood (height 11,239 feet) is the highest mountain in the state of Oregon and a major outdoor recreation site in the Pacific Northwest. Located about 50 miles (80 km) east-southeast of Portland, the mountain is visible from the city on clear days and usually forms the backdrop for the Portland skyline in postcards and photographs of the city.
The main route into the Mount Hood area is U.S. 26. The quickest way to get to U.S. 26 from Portland is to follow Interstate 84 east, take any of the Gresham exits, then follow the road south to U.S. 26 (Powell Street). Follow U.S. 26 east to the Mount Hood area; this will take you through the town of Sandy and the Mount Hood National Forest. To get to Timberline Lodge, turn left onto Timberline Road at Government Camp.
There are many things to do including downhill skiing and snowboarding, hiking, and cross country skiing.
- Skiing and Snowboarding: Mt. Hood is home to three skiing and snowboarding resorts: Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge, and Ski Bowl, as well as the two lesser known Summit Ski Area and Cooper Spur. Mount Hood has the only ski area in North America that is open 12 months of the year and Ski Bowl has the largest night skiing area in America. There are a number of ski and snowboard camps offered. It is best to contact each resort to find out the details.
- Mount Hood Meadows (operates November through April or May) offers four high speed quad lifts (and 5 other lifts), including the Cascade Express, which climbs to an elevation of 7,300 feet. The lifts are open daily 9AM-4PM, with night skiing until 9PM on Fridays and Saturdays. For those with limited skiing and snowboarding abilities, Meadows also offers the "Groove Tube" tubing hill on certain days for $5 and includes tube rental. As a side note, Meadows also the hosts local High School Snowboard Club/Team competitions.
- Timberline (year round, except maintenance closure 2 weeks following Labor Day) offers four express quad chairlifts (and two other lifts), including the Palmer Chairlift, which reaches an elevation of 8,540 feet. Timberline is able to offer skiing and snowboarding 12 months out of the year, boasting the longest season in North America. Lift hours are 9AM-10PM Winter weekends, 9AM-4PM weekdays and after Spring break; 8AM-3PM late Spring; 7AM-1:30PM Summer. Timberline Lodge is a registered National Historic Landmark. It offers four star dining (come as you are) as well as casual and fast food, and the south deck from the second floor provides a panoramic view for over 50 miles.
- Skibowl (November through March) offers 4 chairlifts, with a peak elevation just over 5,000 feet. Boasting the largest night skiing area in America, Skibowl's lifts are open 3PM-10PM M-Tu, 1PM-10PM W-Th, 9AM-11PM F, 8AM-11PM Sa, 8AM-10PM Su. They also offer a Snow Tube and Adventure Park on Saturday and Sunday.
- Summer Activities: During the summer months Ski Bowl offers its infamous Alpine Slide, a 1/2 mile, grooved, sledding course down the face of Mt. Hood. Hiking, Biking, Horseback Riding, and Ice-Climbing are also popular summer activities on the mountain. Also check out Timberline Lodge's Magic Mile Sky Ride, a roundtrip chairlift ride to an elevation of 7,000 feet.
- The Pacific Crest Trail is a 2,650 mile footpath which follows the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountains from Canada to Mexico and passes around the west side of Mount Hood. It traverses one-tenth mile above Timberline Lodge and descends between Timberline Lodge and Mount Hood Meadows to continue southward toward Timothy Lake.
- Timberline Trail is a 40+ mile loop hiking and equestrian path around Mount Hood mostly in protected wilderness, with a variety of magnificent vistas, primitive river crossings, alpine meadows, wildflowers, and dense forest. 17 miles of the Timberline Trail coincides with the Pacific Crest Trail.
- Trillium Lake is an easy two mile detour off the Mount Hood Scenic Loop and provides a great view of Mount Hood, as well as camping, fishing, and paddling.
- Little Crater Lake is a narrow but deep spring-fed lake beside the Little Crater Lake Campground near Timothy Lake.
Timberline Lodge is the infamous lodge used in the 1980 Stephen King horror classic, The Shining, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Jack Nicholson. However, only a few exterior shots in the movie are actually from the hotel - on the inside it looks completely different. Room 227 doesn't exist, nor does the ballroom. Room rates start at $90, not including tax or creepy old ladies in the bathroom.
Always check the local weather before heading up to the mountain. It is not uncommon for chains or snow tires to be advised or required. While there are snow plows as well as other precautions, it never hurts to be on the safe side.
If you are planning a hike or skiing adventure into areas less traveled it is advised to take a Personal Location Transponder. If you should become lost, injured, or trapped this device will help emergency crews to locate you quickly via a GPS signal. The technology can now locate you to within 10 feet of your actual placement, a great accessory for snow enthusiasts in avalanche zones.