Rising 11,240 feet (3,426 meters), Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon and one of the most-climbed peaks in the Pacific Northwest. Twelve glaciers ensure that it remains permanently white throughout the year. Only 45 miles (72 kilometers) east of Portland, this volcano draws backpackers in the summer and skiers during the winter. A member of Captain George Vancouver ’s 1792 naval expedition named it after British admiral Samuel Hood, but local Northwest Native Americans traditionally called it “Wy’East.”
The main cone of this impressive volcano formed about 500,000 years ago. Scientists agree that like all Cascade Range volcanoes Mount Hood is only “resting.” Its last major eruption was between 1754 and 1824, when mudslides and pyroclastic flows surged down its southern slopes. Nestled in its crater is a steaming lava dome called Crater Rock that caps the molten rock bubbling below. Crater Rock stands 1,312 feet (400 meters) across and 558 feet (170 meters) high. Warm fumaroles along its base emit sulfurous gases and steam. The area around Mount Hood is a designated wilderness area, and is rich in wildlife. Visitors can get a great view from the famous Timberline Lodge located on the volcano’s southern slope.