Mount Hood, Oregon


The Portland area has an abundance of scenic side trips. One that shouldn’t be missed is the Hood Mountain Scenic Loop, which follows US 26 east to OR Rte. 35 north, around the base of Mount Hood.

The route isn’t all that scenic, until Mount Hood comes into view. After that, it’s hard to notice anything else.

This stretch of US 26 was traveled by pioneers in covered wagons, more than a century and a half ago. Known as the Barlow Road portion of the Oregon Trail, it provided an alternative to floating down the rough Columbia River. If you’re interested in this piece of history, watch for roadside markers.

Timberline Ski Resort

At the town of Government Camp, turn off the highway headed for Timberline Ski Resort. After climbing a few miles up the base of Mount Hood, you’ll reach the resort, which offers skiing year round.

Even if you didn’t bring your skis or snowboard, you can still take a lift up the mountain. The lift is called the “Miracle Mile”, a mile long ride that ends at 7,000 feet. The views are spectacular.

I think they take their search and rescue policy seriously, don’t you?

The view from above the ski lift station.

Stanley Kubrik used Timberline Lodge in the Jack Nicholson film “The Shining”.

There’s a small lodge at the 7,000 foot level, which was closed for a private engagement during my visit.  Just beyond it is the patch of powder that never melts away.  If you’re here to ski, a second lift takes you up to the snow.

At this height, it’s possible you’ll be above the surrounding clouds. One cloud drifted over the peak of Mt. Hood, just before I left.

Mount Hood’s peak may seem within walking distance from the end of the Miracle Mile ski lift, but don’t be fooled: it’s another 4,239 vertical feet to the top (that’s 3/4 mile, straight up!)

Once you’ve finished exploring the historic Timberline Lodge, purchased a sweatshirt, and grabbed a bite to eat, head down the mountain, then up OR Rte. 35, which will run along the Hood River, ending at the city of the same name.

Note: This trip was first published in 2004.

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