15 Best Things to Do in Government Camp, OR
Government Camp is an unincorporated community in Clackamas County, a ski town resort in Oregon.
Its reputation as a ski town resort comes from its proximity to Mt. Hood, one of the biggest volcanoes in the country and a natural wonder of Oregon.
Located at the base of Mount Hood, just five miles away, Government Camp opens many opportunities for you to explore the sprawling attractions on the mountain.
Mount Hood isn’t its only attraction too.
Government Camp has many more natural wonders, such as lakes, rivers, and forests.
The attraction sites surrounding the town can be overwhelming, so check this list of the best things to do in Government Camp, Oregon, to get your adventure started.
Book a Room at the Historic Timberline Lodge
Whether you want comfy accommodations or want to start your itinerary with a bang, you should go to Timberline Lodge in Government Camp.
Beyond a ski resort, Timberline Lodge is a historic area perched on the snowy slopes of Mt. Hood along East Timberline Road.
Dating back to 1937, Timberline Lodge has a rich history on top of its prime location on Mt. Hood.
The ski resort was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977, making it a treasure chest of historical architecture and design.
Of course, history isn’t their main selling point.
Reputable architects constructed this resort to give you access to excellent and varied terrain areas of Mt. Hood.
From their historical building to amazing terrain parks, Timberline Lodge is a fantastic start to your Mt. Hood adventure.
Try Snow Sports at Mt. Hood Skibowl
Offering ice skiing tracks year-round, Mt. Hood Skibowl is one of the best places in Oregon for all sorts of skiers, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned veteran.
The resort here has a fantastic communal atmosphere, making it an excellent place for newbies to congregate with experts in skiing.
While the daytime is pretty, Mt. Hood Skibowl does an excellent job at making its evening skis elegant and memorable, adding a lot of lighting that brings vibrance to the area.
You can do many things here besides skiing, as they also have snowboarding and tubing along with amenities like lodging and a restaurant.
Mt. Hood Skibowl is one of the best ways to enjoy Mt. Hood if you’re planning to experience its icy slopes.
You can start your adventure with them by visiting their base along Highway 26.
Go Kayaking at Trillium Lake
Trillium Lake is an artificial lake situated southeast of Government Camp, a little farther away from the base of Mt. Hood.
Boating activities are one of the best things to do at Trillium Lake, which offers tons of scenic views, making this one of the most Instagram-worthy areas in Government Camp.
Trillium Lake offers some of the best landscape views of Mount Hood, an excellent background as you take photos with friends or family.
Once you’re done with the photographs, you’ll be busy with the number of activities you can do here.
You can kayak, canoe, fish, or swim in Lake Trillium.
There’s also a trailhead and some campgrounds if you want to explore the surrounding forests.
You can reach Trillium Lake along Mt. Hood Highway, where you can access the beginning of its trail.
Visit the Mysterious Pioneer Woman’s Grave
If you’re a history buff, visit the Pioneer Woman’s Grave to discover an eerie but fascinating remnant of Oregon’s history.
Pioneer Woman’s Grave, as the name implies, is an old gravesite that dates back to the 1800s, found off a trail along Mt. Hood Highway west of Government Camp.
In 1924, highway construction workers found the grave.
No one knows who lay in the grave and when they were buried, but evidence shows it dates back to the Oregon Trail era in the early 1800s.
Besides seeing this unique landmark, the short hike off Mt. Highway is a scenic experience.
For quirky adventurers, an 1800s mysterious gravesite is an attractive addition to any itinerary.
Learn Local History at Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum
The Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum is one of the few destinations you can easily access in the center of the Government Camp.
It’s an excellent little addition during your stay, as the rustic museum has a nice collection of documents, photographs, and artifacts that relate to the history and culture of Mt. Hood.
Many exhibits in Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum represent a rich history that dates back to the Oregon Trail in the 1800s.
They also have a broad geographic scope regarding their artifacts, as many items are taken from Clackamas, Multnomah, and Wasco County.
Besides a museum, it’s also a community area where many locals congregate.
It’s an excellent opportunity to learn about Government Camp and its tourist attractions.
Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum sits along Government Camp Loop.
Bring Your Pooch to Clear Lake
If you want to add more lakes to your itinerary, Clear Lake is another place to go boating and fishing.
It’s a little further down south than Trillium Lake, making the lake less scenic.
However, few tourists visit this lake, which brings a charm of its own.
The waters here are gentle, so camping and bringing your dog for a swim is recommended.
Since it’s also close to Mt. Hood National Forest, you can see lots of wildlife here.
Clear Lake sits along Fs 2660 Road off Highway 26.
Stroll along the Snowy Glade Trail
Government Camp’s Glade Trail is a perfect spot if you plan to hike without any skiing or snow sport activity.
Easily accessible, it starts in the northern part of town, just a few minutes from Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum.
The well-kept trails offer a serene atmosphere as you hike along the snowy fields full of lush trees.
If you’re not up to hiking, you can also do snowshoeing and biking on Glade Trail.
Pets are also allowed, so this is a perfect family destination given its proximity to Government Camp’s epicenter.
Take a Scenic Trip to Mirror Lake
The third lake on this list, Mirror Lake, offers a unique charm compared to the other lakes in Government Camp.
The lake is a lot smaller compared to Trillium and Clear Lake.
Because of this, Mirror Lake has a different atmosphere, making it feel more like an oasis than a lake.
When taking photos of Mirror Lake, you can capture its basin in one shot, given its size, emphasizing the flora surrounding it along with views of Mt. Hood.
The hike to Mirror Lake starts along Highway 26 at the western part of Government Camp.
Bring the Family to Little Zigzag Falls
While Ramona Falls is a moderately challenging hike due to its location in Mt. Hood, Little Zigzag Falls is much more forgiving and ideal for kids or older adults.
Relatively an easy hike, Little Zigzag Falls is another beautiful waterfall that’s part of the much smaller Zigzag Mountain, west of Government Camp.
Little Zigzag Falls’ trailhead begins in Government Camp.
It will only take you around 15 minutes before you see lush greenery and a beautiful creek that leads to the waterfall.
Dubbed a “mini–Ramona Falls” by many locals, Little Zigzag Falls is a must-visit if you want an excellent family adventure without much pressure.
You can begin your hike at the trailhead along Kiwanis Camp Road.
Climb the Tom Dick and Harry Mountain
If you want to add more to your mountain exploration plans, Government Camp is also near Tom Dick and Harry Mountain.
Tom Dick and Harry Mountain is a more leisurely hike with less elevation, roughly taking eight miles to complete a roundtrip journey.
You can see gorgeous scenery here and lots of wildlife, mainly insects and birds.
Because it’s a neighboring mountain, you can see Mt. Hood from this mountain.
Tom Dick and Harry Mountain is another fantastic natural wonder south of Mirror Lake.
Take a Breather at Government Camp Rest Area
While not necessarily a tourist destination, Government Camp Rest Area is necessary for your trip.
Most of the things to do in the area are exhausting, so visiting this place is a great way to catch your bearings.
It’s a reliable pit stop that can act as a snow park if you want to enjoy Government Camp fully.
They have clean bathrooms, a fuel station, and several walking trails.
Government Camp Rest Area is on its eastern side, along Highway 26.
Experience Government Camp’s Nightlife at Ratskeller
Ratskeller is an American-style pub that attracts many locals and tourists, making it a lively place for hangouts.
One of the things that makes this a fun place is its pinball machines, a great experience for friends, family, and even strangers.
Of course, the food and drinks here are stellar, such as pizzas and classic American favorites like burgers and fried chicken.
If you want a nice glass of beer and a memorable night, few places in Government Camp offer as good an atmosphere as Ratskeller.
Other Things to Do Nearby
Explore Mt. Hood National Forest
Mt. Hood National Forest is one of the top attractions surrounding Government Camp, located in Sandy, Oregon, 15 minutes away.
There are many things to discover inside its sprawling woods that feature all sorts of natural wonders like lakes, rivers, and icy slopes.
Some famous activities here are snowshoeing and sledding, making it a popular place to go hiking with your pet dog.
As a refuge for all sorts of animals, Mt. Hood National Forest also attracts many wildlife photographers and observers.
Full of safe and scenic campgrounds, you can also set base here at Mt. Hood National Forest.
Trek to the Famous Ramona Falls
While there are a lot of beautiful waterfalls to explore in Mt. Hood, Ramona Falls has a strong case as one of the best.
With awe-inspiring rock formations and strong water flow, Ramona Falls is one of the most picturesque sites in Mt. Hood that’s a worthy addition to any itinerary.
Situated on the mountain’s western side, Ramona Falls can be accessed via a hike leading you to more interesting natural areas.
For instance, you can see the Sandy River that runs along its trail.
Along this river, you’ll see beautiful foliage, depending on the season you go, along with sprawling trees and varying terrains.
You can start your journey to the falls at the Ramona Falls Trailhead in Rhododendron, Oregon, 30 minutes from Government Camp.
Go Skiing at Teacup Nordic Snow Park
Teacup Nordic Snow Park is smaller than the others mentioned on this list if you want a more relaxing and quieter place to ski.
Since it’s not as big and has less variation in its terrains, Teacup Nordic Snow Park is an excellent place for beginners who want less pressure in skiing.
The park also has some of the best-groomed trails here, adding to its bonus as a beginner’s choice to ski.
Moreover, this snow park holds its scenic area in Mt. Hood.
Teacup Nordic Snow Park is on the eastern part of Mount Hood, along Oregon 35 Highway, 14 minutes from Government Camp.
Government Camp is easily one of the most scenic areas in Oregon, offering fantastic mountain range views and access to all sorts of ski resorts.
It also has a bunch of trailheads that lead you to various interesting spots, from forests and waterfalls to remnants of the past.
Going to Government Camp for a week or so is a no-brainer if you love mountains and nature, especially if you plan to visit the Beaver State.
For the best experience, use this list of the best things to do in Government Camp, Oregon, to guide you in your adventure.