Legendary travel writer and naturalist, John Muir, once said, "going to the mountains is going home."
As a native Oregonian, I can't help but to think of these words while exploring Mount Hood National Forest. There is something so reassuring and familiar about this place when wandering over the trails. No matter if it's a morning hike or a snowy backcountry cross-country ski route, Mount Hood National Forest encapsulates the quiet, rugged beauty of Oregon that I love.
Only about an hour and a half outside of Portland, Mount Hood National Forest encompasses over 350,000-acres of woodlands, lakes, streams, valleys, and yes, Mount Hood. There are is no shortage of things to do here. Camping, hiking, snowboarding, snowshoeing, mountaineering, skiing— you name it and you can do it at Mount Hood National Forest.
It's an adventurer's locale to visit year-round, although winter is one of the very best seasons to experience the best of all that Mount Hood has to offer.
What to Do in
Mount Hood National Forest
Mirror Lake (Pictured) - This easy 2.9-mile round trip hike weaves through the trees to a small lake that reflects Mount Hood on a clear day. Mirror Lake also serves as a pit stop before hikers trek on to Tom, Dick and Harry mountain views (6.6-miles). Limited, first-come-first-serve camp sites are sprinkled around the lake.
Be sure to check out other great hikes such as the Trillium Lake Loop (1.9-miles), Lost Lake Butte (4.6-miles), Ramona Falls (7.0-miles) and alpine hikes from Timberline. There are over 1,000-miles of hiking trails within Mount Hood National Forest that incorporate both the Zig Zag ranger district and the Pacific Crest Trail.
Given Mount Hood National Forest's close proximity to Portland, it's a popular spot for weekend backpackers and campers as well. Well-known places to camp include Timothy Lake, Clear Lake, Lost Lake-- you get the idea, lots of places for lakeside camping.
Fresh powder calling your name? As the mountain has snow year-round, Mount Hood is one of the premier ski and snowboard spots in the Pacific Northwest. Timberline, Mt. Hood Meadows, and Ski Bowl each offer unique runs for skiers and snowboarders. Cross-country skiers will find runs at Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows as well as backcountry options in the surrounding areas. Those looking trek further into the wilderness can find snowshoeing trails around Trillium Lake and beyond.
Built between 1936 - 1938 as a part of the Works Progress Administration to stimulate the local economy during the Great Depression, the historic Timberline Lodge has remained a popular destination at Mount Hood throughout the years. And ever watched The Shining? The opening shots were filmed here for the 1980 movie.
Nowadays, Timberline Lodge is a popular ski resort, boasting a fine dining restaurant, luxury lodging, and outdoor activities for all ages. One of the best parts of Timberline Lodge is the roaring fireplace in the winter. The cozy chairs next to the fire are perfect for a nap and sipping hot toddies after hitting the slopes.
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SPONSORED POST: Naked Juice graciously provided The Paper Airplane with a sponsorship to share amazing adventures with you. As always, all opinions are my own. The goal of The Paper Airplane is to share the best of the best in travel experiences, products, food, and entertainment. If it’s reviewed, it’s because the given entity is genuinely awesome.