Summers in Mt Hood Territory offer the classic American summer vacation experience. You get a taste of The Great Outdoors, exploring mainly unadulterated land, while doing activities that are simply… fun. In today’s day and age, when people are inundated with the extreme connectivity of the world, heading up to Mt Hood provides some much needed respite and a chance to bond with nature. Coming from a city girl, this says a lot!
So whether you are looking for an active vacation destination to explore as a young couple, a family, or even a group of friends, Mt Hood should be top on your list!
Check out my top 5 summer activities to do in Mt Hood Territory:
You can hike everywhere, and you SHOULD hike everywhere. Each trail is a little different than the last. Some taking you to grand overlooks, others wind by impressive waterfalls. Not to miss: Little Zig Zag Falls Trail, Tom Dick and Harry Mountain for a view of Mirror Lake, and the Wildwood Recreation Site… just to name a few.
Stand Up Paddleboarding
If you’ve never tried Stand-Up Paddleboarding (aka as SUPing), now is the time! Seriously, it’s not as hard as it looks. I was standing on my very first time out—AND I didn’t even fall in the water! Double bonus. For those more experienced, you can actually SUP downriver on rapids! I am going to get a few more sessions under my belt before I opt for that. #SUPgoals We took the Twilight Lake Tour with Clackamas River Outfitters owner Luke and had a blast! Being my first time, Luke was patient and instructed well. Halfway through the tour I was even confident enough to switch from the larger “first-timers” board to the sleeker more experienced board. (Hear that? That is me patting myself on the back!) I was so close to being convinced to jump into the river from one of the cliffs, but chickened out. I guess I’ll have to come back to I can take the plunge!
Note: They also offer kayaking tours!
Bike and Wine Tour
Mt Hood is home to the famous Wilmette Valley. Sound familiar? They produce some of the most delicious wines, most notably their Pinot Noir, and they have expanded successfully over the years. There’s no better way to explore the region than by bike. The Bike Concierge, run by owners Thom and Shelley, offer bikes tours through the hilly region to three delicious wineries. Wine lovers themselves, Thom and Shelley curate the bike tour to stop at some of the most notable non-commercial vineyards. Our 19 mile bike ride was broken up with visits to the Christopher Bridges Winery, Kings Raven Winery, and the Villa Catalana Cellars. The best way to learn about wine is from the ones who make it!
Kayaking to Willamette Falls
Just a little background on the Willamette Falls and why they are so amazing… The Willamette Falls are the largest falls in the Pacific Northwest. Completely natural, in 1889 they were the source for the first long-distance electrical energy generation. Basically they produced much of the electricity for the West Coast! Ok, enough nerd time, back to kayaking. Understanding the history of the Falls, I think, makes this trip much more exciting because the river is the only way to get the closest to the Falls. ENRG Kayaking took us on a 90 minute paddle up to the Falls. Personally, it was my first time kayaking (weird, I know), but it was easy, fun, and educational. Not a bad combination! Glenna was our guide and extremely knowledgeable. She also put up with my constant GoProing!
Snowboarding by the Timberline Lodge
The Timberline Lodge, a Natural Historic Landmark, is located at nearly 6,000 ft and a is popular tourist destination. Since it offers one of the longest ski seasons, it really is a haven for snow lovers. We visited in early June and were walking in snow while wearing shorts and tank tops! The Lodge was a perfect stopping place for a delicious lunch to refuel. Be sure to check out their Magic Mile Sky Ride to cruise the mountain while skiers and snowboarders fly down the slopes.
Side note: For those movie buffs, The Shining was filmed here!
5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Visit to Mt Hood
- Rent a car, you’ll need to one to drive around.
- Buy a National Forest Recreation Day Pass for the days that you will need them!
- Stay in a cabin, not a hotel, for the classic Mt Hood experience.
- Get up early to catch the sunrise at Trillium Lake! It’s worth it!
- Plan your visit around Lavender season and visit The Oregon Lavender Farm. A plus, plan your visit around the big yearly festival, the Clackamas County Lavender Festival! (June 25th and 26th, 2016)