Mount Hood is the state’s highest, and its silhouette is almost iconic for Oregonians. Winter or summer, this glacier-clad 11,239-foot volcano exerts a mighty pull. Many visitors to Portland take a day trip to Mount Hood—which reaches into the sky like a mighty incisor— and some make it a vacation destination.
Campers may claim that a tent tucked into a forested glade is the best place to stay on Mount Hood, but those looking for creature comforts among the mountain wilderness will check in at Timberline Lodge. Built during the Depression by unemployed craftspeople hired by the Works Progress Administration, Timberline is the very model of rustic Northwest Craftsman design, with handmade furniture in the lodge rooms, handwoven curtains, and newel posts hewn from giant logs The lodge’s Cascade Dining Room is considered the best on the mountain.
This is also where you’ll begin the 41-mile Timberline Trail for a summertime trek encircling the mountain. There’s even summertime skiing at Timberline Ski Area—head for Palmer Lift reaching up to over 8,500 feet, making it the mountain’s highest; it stays open nearly year-round for skiing and snowboard-ing on its vast glacier. Timberline is just one of the mountain’s five ski areas, with Mount Hood Meadows being the largest and most visited because of its varied territory and network of trails. For the country’s largest lighted nighttime ski area, visit Mount Hood SkiBowl, the closest of them all to Portland.
Many summer visitors come to hike the dormant volcano (moderate experience is enough to get you to the top, making it the most climbed major peak in the U.S.) or to hike to the many waterfalls or clear lakes, with eyes east down to enjoy wildflowers (even orchids) and up to catch sight of the top of Mount Hood. In summer, there’s no better reflecting pool than Trillium Lake, just south of the mountain, which captures a perfect image of the peak—and serves as a wonderful swimming pond for dusty hikers along the Cascade’s crest.