Mount Hood offers scenic recreation ranging from camping, hiking and fishing to nearly year-round skiing. Whether you’re hitting the slopes, exploring the mountain’s miles of trails or cozying up to a fireplace, Mount Hood offers seemingly endless opportunity for adventure. This guide includes things to do and ways to experience Mount Hood. Read on to learn more.
Traveling to Mount Hood
Getting to Mount Hood from Portland’s downtown will take a little less than two hours by car. The mountain is approximately 70 miles (113 km) away and there are two route options: Interstate 84 through the Columbia River Gorge or Highway 26. Either way, you’ll get to the Mount Hood Scenic Byway, a breathtaking route around the edge of the mountain. Those who prefer not to drive themselves can take an organized day trip or shuttle.
Public transportation is available, too, although the trip will take at least three hours. From Portland, riders can take the bus or MAX light rail to Gresham Transit Center. From there, the Sandy Area Metro takes riders from Gresham to Sandy, where the Mount Hood Express bus will take them the rest of the way.
One of Oregon’s prime points of interest, Mount Hood is located approximately 90 minutes outside of Portland on the border between Clackamas and Hood River counties. Mount Hood stands at 11,239 feet (3,425 meters). It is the highest point and mountain peak in the state of Oregon, and the second most-climbed mountain in the world (second only to Japan’s holy Mt. Fujiyama).
More About Mount Hood
What is Mount Hood known for?
Is Mount Hood worth visiting?
What is it like to ski on Mount Hood in the summer?
Timberline Lodge is the place to be, as it runs the longest ski and snowboard season in North America. During spring and into summer, operations transition off the lower mountain and up to two chairlifts: Magic Mile and Palmer. Usually by Memorial Day, only those two lifts remain open to access the slopes.
Starting June 1, skiers and snowboarders can usually get daily access to these two chairlifts. Snow conditions and weather dictate which chairs operate. As summer progresses, the Palmer Snowfield offers a thin ribbon of snow that descends to the parking lots and is open through August. The terrain available for the public in summer is limited due to the number of ski camps that train in lanes groomed onto the slope. At least one lane is reserved for the public.
This so-called mountain is actually a dormant stratovolcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc. Mount Hood’s last major eruption was September 21, 1865. Today, it is mostly a place for enjoying outdoor recreation. Located inside Mount Hood National Forest, Mount Hood is one of eight wilderness areas. The others are:
- Badger Creek Wilderness
- Bull of the Woods Wilderness
- Clackamas Wilderness
- Lower White River Wilderness
- Mark O Hatfield Wilderness
- Roaring River Wilderness
- Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness
Know Before You Go
Before starting your trip to Mount Hood, check the National Weather Service’s website for up-to-date information on current snow conditions and weather advisories that may be in effect. For current travel advisories and road conditions on the route to Mount Hood, visit Oregon Department of Transportation’s Trip Check website.
Weather on Mount Hood
Mount Hood receives an average of 55 inches (138 cm) of snowfall each year. It experiences high temperatures of approximately 80º Fahrenheit (27º Celsius) in the summer and lows around 30º Fahrenheit (-1º Celsius) in the winter.
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.
Don’t hit the slopes on an empty stomach! This guide dishes on where to fuel up for the day, lunch mid-mountain and relax with pizza and pints après-ski.
Mount Hood Tours from Portland
Explore Oregon’s highest peak, located 90 minutes from Portland, with Mount Hood tours from these local operators.
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