Mount Hood is the mountain you can most often see from downtown Portland. The mountain is the highest peak in Oregon at 11,249 feet, and is part of the Cascade Mountain Range. It’s only about 50 miles from the city, so makes not only a lovely backdrop for your city photos but also a great day trip.
Although Mount Hood (you’ll also see it referred to as Mt. Hood) is a volcano, the odds of an eruption in the next 30 years are placed at only between three and seven percent. Still, it’s considered the most likely volcano to erupt in Oregon. This possibility is generally overshadowed by its sister to the north, Mount Saint Helens, which is much more seismically active.
There are 12 glaciers on Mt. Hood, and the mountain is home to six ski areas. In fact, it’s home to the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America at the Timberline ski area. For this reason, Portland has served as a temporary for many a professional skiier training up at Mount Hood. The mountain is a popular wintertime destination for skiing, climbing, snowboarding and other snow-related activities, but there are plenty of summertime activities up on the mountain as well. There is horseback riding, mountain biking and lots of hiking trails to enjoy. The famous Pacific Crest Trail runs through the area around the western side of Mount Hood.
A great stop for movie buffs and nature enthusiasts alike is Timberline Lodge, which served as the exterior of the hotel in the movie of Stephen King’s horror film, “The Shining.” The interior shots are from elsewhere, so don’t go looking for the ballroom or room 227. Even if you haven’t seen the movie, the lodge is a National Historic Landmark and an excellent place to stay overnight. The restaurant has four-star food (though you probably won’t see any fancy dress here), and if you’re just visiting for the view there’s a fabulous deck on the second floor.
If you’re planning a wintertime trek up to Mt. Hood, keep in mind that weather conditions in Portland are not necessarily indicative of what you’ll find on the mountain, and chains or other traction devices are often required on cars. Also know that people can and do get lost up on the mountain, so it’s a very good idea to rent a system which will transmit a GPS signal in case you lose your way. The vast majority of people who visit the mountain require no additional help to get down, but it’s always a good idea to have a GPS transmitter as a little extra insurance.
To learn more about visiting Mount Hood, including weather and road conditions, area festivals and recreation options, visit the Mt. Hood information site here. And for more about Timberline Lodge, see this site.