Roughly 50 miles (80 km) east of the city sits the cherry that tops Portland’s sundae — the magnificent Mount Hood. Mount Hood is glorious in all seasons, but it’s a special delight to take in the brisk winter air atop Oregon’s highest peak. With a historic lodge, unbeatable slopes and many food options, 24 hours on Mount Hood will pass in a flash.
Getting to Mount Hood
The mountain is a straight shot east on Highway 26 from the city. The drive takes roughly an hour and a half, so hit the pavement early to make the most of your day. Grab breakfast on the way at Joe’s Donut Shop in Sandy; the old-timey staple has been fortifying skiers since 1974.
Skiing and Snowboarding
The mountain itself is friendly to powder enthusiasts, offering several slopes for serious shredding. Hit Mt. Hood Meadows for some of the Northwest’s best terrain, accessible to all levels of skiers and boarders, with views that’ll stop you in your glittering tracks. Meadows operates 11 lifts, numerous terrain parks and the double black diamond-heavy “Super Bowl,” all on 2,150 acres (870 ha) of pure alpine adventure.
Historic Timberline Lodge
Well in advance of your visit, reserve an overnight stay at the storied Timberline Lodge, which was completed in 1938 by local artisans as part of the Works Progress Administration. Horror enthusiasts will gleefully recognize the exterior from establishing shots of the Overlook Hotel in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” But don’t let that scare you away — inside, a treasure trove of handcrafted Oregon heirlooms and woodsy comforts frame views of the face of the mountain and bring new meaning to the phrase “winter wonderland.” Spend the next few hours exploring the remarkable lodge and soaking in the hot tub beneath snow-covered pines.
Trails and Tubing
Before the sun sets, explore the area around the lodge, featuring numerous trails open to snowshoers and cross-country skiers. The Crosstown Trail is a serene 4.1-mile (6.6 km) loop through a snow-laden forest that would turn Robert Frost evergreen with envy. If you want more speed for less effort, head to nearby Mt. Hood Skibowl for some good old-fashioned inner tubing. The experience turns psychedelic on weekend nights during Cosmic Tubing, the world’s only tubing event that includes 600,000 LED lights and rocking music.
Just a 90-minute drive from downtown, Mount Hood sits right in the city’s backyard and makes for a heck of a winter playground.
Snowshoeing is a peaceful way to enjoy Mount Hood with friends and minimal gear and expense.
For an epic Hood experience, you don’t need crampons and ice axes — or to even leave your room. Here’s a look at some of the mountain’s unique lodging options.
Dinner and Drinks
With all that snow play, you’ll have surely stirred up the type of appetite only BBQ can sate. Make your way 15 miles (24 km) east of Timberline to Skyway Bar and Grill, where the by-the-pound meat menu offers smoky goodness. Hosting live music every weekend, this funky eatery feels like New Orleans meets Twin Peaks and is a guaranteed hit.
If you’re not quite ready to succumb to your comforter, head to Timberline’s Ram’s Head Bar & Restaurant for a nightcap. In the impressive bar, marvel at the ceiling’s gigantic wooden beams, enormous fireplace and suspended lanterns that bask the room in a soft glow. Hot buttered rum and microbrews from nearby Mt. Hood Brewing Co. are served among other nighttime remedies until 11 p.m.
Breakfast in Government Camp
After waking to a spectacular winter vista and checking out of the hotel, stop in Govy one last time. Enjoy a proper diner breakfast at the Huckleberry Inn, a local landmark since 1966, where a darn fine piece of pie awaits alongside full plates of huckleberry pancakes and hash browns. As you settle into your car warm, full and content, you’ll savor the memories of your past 24 hours on Mount Hood.
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