The stunning snow-capped ranges of Mt. Hood makes up just a small fraction of the glorious landscape of Mt. Hood National Forest. While the view is breathtaking, there is more to do around Mt. Hood than just take in the scenery. Here is our guide to seasonal outdoor adventures around Mt Hood in Oregon.
The summit of Mt. Hood is covered in snow all year round, and Palmer glacier is one of the only ski slopes that can be ridden all summer long. The Timberline Lodge offers the longest ski season in the country, with high-elevation lifts running from Labor Day through the winter. The lodge also offers summer ski and snowboard camps for skiers of all ages.
Fishing at Little Crater Lake
Just 18 miles from Mt. Hood Village is Little Crater Lake, one of the most scenic fishing spots in the country. Whether you prefer baitcasting, fly fishing, or spinning, you are sure to catch a bite as the lake is well-stocked with varieties of trout and Kokanee salmon.
After spending the day by the lake, cook your catch at your campsite, which is equipped with a campfire ring and grill. Alternatively, wander through the lush forest in search of huckleberries or catch a glimpse of some of the native wildlife in the surrounding meadows.
Hike the Trails of Mt. Hood National Forest
One of the most thrilling ways to experience all that Mt. Hood has to offer is to hike the mountain trails on foot. There are hundreds of trails to choose from, so it is a good idea to set up camp at one of the many Mt. Hood camping options before you head off exploring.
One of the more popular trails to explore is the Ramona Falls trail. This trail is a 7-mile round trip with sweeping views of the Sandy River, and Mt. Hood. Plus, this lush trail is dotted with stunning waterfalls throughout. Another trail to try is the Glade trail, which is a steep trail that runs from Timberline Lodge down to Government Camp.
Visit Timberline Lodge
You can’t go to Mt. Hood and not visit this iconic historical site. Built in the 1930s and famously visited by President Franklin Roosevelt, Timberland Lodge is the perfect place to cozy up with a mug of hot cocoa after spending the day on hiking trails.
You can also stay at the lodge. The rooms are limited so it is recommended that you book early. Make sure you check out the lobby, which often has historical exhibitions on display and also features a stunning grand fireplace.
Timberline Lodge is also the starting point for the Magic Mile Sky Ride, which takes you up 7,000 feet with views of Mt. Hood scenery the entire length of the ride.
Mt. Hood Meadows provides the second-longest ski season and plays host to several special events throughout the summer. These include the annual Sno-Kona Pond Skim, where intrepid skiers and snowboards attempt to skim their way across 100 feet of freezing glacial water.
Mt Hood Skibowl, the third and lowest elevation resort is home to the largest night skiing area in the entire country. Skibowl offers everything from steep double blacks at the “upper bowl” to rope tow terrain parks open until 10 p.m. Ski bowl also offers snow tubing which is a great option for families looking for a snow adventure.
Cross-Country Skiing at Trillium Lake
While most people head to Mt Hood in Oregon for the unbelievable downhill skiing experience, the area also offers impressive cross-country skiing trails. One of the most popular trails is the Trillium Lake loop. It is a 5-mile loop that offers spectacular views of Mt. Hood to the north, while you traverse across the vast frozen lake.
The trail has a mild elevation and it is signposted well, making it suitable for beginners as well as experienced cross country skiers.
Snowshoe to the Frozen Waterfalls
Although hiking around Mt Hood in Oregon is best enjoyed during the warmer months, the Tamanawas trail remains open all year long, and for good reason. The frozen waterfalls at the end of the trail are an unforgettable winter marvel.
The trail covers about 6 miles through pristine old growth forest, full of sweet-smelling Douglas fir, cedar, and hemlock. You’ll then cross Cold Spring Creek before reaching the breathtaking 150-foot tall and 40-foot wide Tamanawas waterfalls.
Wear waterproof gear and make sure to weather-proof any photography equipment you bring along, as the powerful waterfall still emits mist during the middle of winter.
Scenic Driving Tours
One of the best ways to take in the dazzling scenery of Mt. Hood is with a scenic drive. There are many routes through the mountains, but the two most popular routes are The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, and the north section of the West Cascades Scenic Byway.
The Mt. Hood Scenic Byway runs 105 miles from Troutdale, just outside Portland, along Highway 26. It then diverges up the eastern slopes of the mountain until you reach the quaint town of Hood River.
Along the way, you’ll pass by some of Mt. Hood’s most famous historical attractions, including The Gorge White House. Continue your drive by taking a detour off the Interstate to take the Historic Columbia River Highway, or loop back around and follow Interstate 84 back to Troutdale.
Free Ride Mountain Biking at Post Canyon
Post Canyon is a complex network of winding mountain bike trails suitable for bikers of all levels. For adventurous kids, try out the Family Man Staging Area, which offers fun and challenging man-made obstacles to test out and improve their biking skills.
Advanced mountain bikers who love a challenge can ride the 8 Track Trail. The Bad Motor Scooter Trail features stomach-churning swoops, wooden ladders, seesaws, and log rides to test the strength and endurance of even the most seasoned biker. Check the Hood River Area Trail Stewards website for trail conditions before heading out.
If you still can’t get enough of the awe-inspiring Oregon scenery, about 2 hours away from Mt. Hood is Silver Falls State Park. This park is considered to be the “crown jewel” of the state parks in Oregon. You can stay at the Silver Falls Campground and enjoy the many activities and amenities they have to offer.
Have you had a great outdoor experience at Mt. Hood National Forest? Join our outdoor-loving community and share your story at The Dyrt.