15 Best Things to Do in Mount Hood, OR

Mount Hood, OR
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Lace-up robust hiking boots in a visit to Mount Hood, an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Hood River County, Oregon.

After all, outdoor activities are the main points of interest in this community’s nearby namesake mountain, Mount Hood.

At 11,249 feet, Mount Hood is Oregon’s tallest mountain and the fourth highest peak in the Cascade mountain range.

The Mt. Hood community already sits at 1,535.4 feet above sea level, and from here, you will have an option on five nearby skiing and snowboarding resorts on the mountain’s expansive slopes.

Skiing and snowboarding are notably year-round in Mount Hood, thanks to its wetter and heavier snowfall averaging 300–500 inches annually.

Many other places are as enticing to explore around the slopes of this magnificent mountain and in the Mt. Hood community.

Learn more on the following list of best things to do in Mount Hood, Oregon.

Camp at Lake Trillium

Duck family near Lake Trillium
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Oregon State’s Department of Fish and Wildlife created this 63-acre lake in 1960 through a dam at the headwaters of Mud Creek, a Salmon River tributary.

Accessible from Mount Hood Highway, the lake now features a family-friendly campground, providing spectacular views of Mount Hood.

The campground nestles amid a lush conifer forest providing privacy between dozens of single and double sites for RV and tent camping.

Trees reflecting on Lake Trillium
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Each campsite is provided with a table, a campfire ring, a grill, drinking water, and vault toilets.

There’s also a picnic shelter that can accommodate up to 30 campers.

Boating, swimming, and fishing are popular activities in Trillium Lake, and there’s a 2-mile trail on its shoreline for hikers.

Person on a canoe on Lake Trillium
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Catch an Event at the Mt. Hood Town Hall

Located on Mt. Hood Highway, this historic building is the hub of various community activities.

Each year, the Mt. Hood Town Hall grounds come alive in July and August with the community’s Mid-week Summer Market.

Held Wednesdays in those months, the market offers wares from local artisans and members of the Gorge Farmer Collective.

During those days, the town hall’s lawn also features live music entertainment, plus free root beer floats.

Other events hosted in the town hall include lessons on yoga, Scottish dance, arts, and physical fitness.

Climb Mount Hood

Scenic view of Mount Hood
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The Hood River Ranger Station provides information about ascents to Mount Hood, which is a technical climb that requires careful planning.

A dormant volcano with 11 glaciers, this mountain is the best-climbed middle of the week when climbers are fewer.

Novices in mountain-climbing would be in safer hands if they go on a guided ascent.

One of the trails of Mount Hood
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Northwest School of Survival and Timberline Mountain Guides are the two groups authorized to conduct guided Mount Hood climbs.

The hazards to expect in an ascent of this mountain include bad weather conditions, avalanches, rock falls, and hidden crevasses.

Snow covered terrain on Mount Hood
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Plot a Forest Adventure at the Hood River Ranger Station

This ranger station and visitor center is located on Oregon Route 35 and is one of the gateways to the Mt. Hood National Forest.

The Hood River Ranger Station puts up a strong first impression on its large taxidermy collection.

It is also here where visitors can ask for tips on the best places to hike in the vast expanse of the Mt. Hood National Forest.

Covering over 1 million acres, this forest boasts 170 developed recreation sites and eight wilderness areas.

The largest among these is the Mt. Hood Wilderness, which includes the mountain’s summit and upper slopes.

Stay for Skiing at Timberline Resort

Exterior of Timberline Resort
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Since then, this ski lodge on East Timberline Road was built during the 1930s and has provided family-friendly skiing and snowboarding.

The ski slopes of Timberline Resort are mellower than other popular Mount Hood lodges.

This is partly because the resort’s part of Mount Hood spreads on an old lava flow.

Its ski area’s upper part, with a striking vertical of 3,690 feet, is also open and above the timberline.

A person snowboarding at Timberline Resort
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In addition, the Timberline Resort’s ski slopes have multiple terrain parks and a half pipe.

Timberline Resort’s 70 guest rooms are as impressive, featuring sturdy handcrafted furniture and original artworks as décor.

To cap these off, the resort offers fine dining and exciting souvenirs in its in-house shop.

Chairlifts at Timberline Resort
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Hike the Paradise Park Loop Trail

This 12-mile trail starts just east of Timberline Lodge and tackling it is best in summer or early fall.

Once hikers reach the trail’s Paradise Park end, the wildflowers blooming in July and August will welcome them.

Along the trail’s route, hikers will be mesmerized by Mountain Hood’s vistas and several falls cascading on the southern and western sides of the mountain.

Some of the most dramatic views of the Paradise Park Loop Trail can be enjoyed at the exposed lip of Zigzag Canyon.

Aside from hikers, backpackers on a day camping trip as well as horse riders will also love this trail.

Explore Little Zigzag Falls with the Kids

Rushing waters of Little Zigzag Falls
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This Instagrammable cataract is easily accessible via the gentle, kid-friendly Little Zigzag Falls Trail.

Its trailhead is on 39 Road, and the out-and-back pathway to the falls runs just 0.8 miles on easy terrain.

Surprisingly, the Little Zigzag Falls Trail, accessible year-round, doesn’t draw too many crowds.

Trees beside Little Zigzag Falls
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This short trail follows the Little Zigzag Creek to its eponymous falls, which cascade in two drops for a total of 41 feet.

Informative signage at the falls proclaims the benefits of negative ions abundantly generated by waterfalls.

Treks to Little Zigzag Falls loom most memorable in July when the rhododendrons along the trail erupt in pink blooms.

Front view of Little Zigzag Falls
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Explore the Wildwood Recreation Site

Wooden pathway in Wildwood Recreation Site
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The Wildwood Recreation Site, located along the Mount Hood Highway, is wedged on a bend of the Salmon River.

Its area encompasses 550 acres of woodlands comprised of old-growth western red cedar, Douglas fir, and western hemlock.

The Wildwood Recreation Site is a kid-friendly and pet-friendly destination for swimming, picnics, and hiking in its two trails: Stream Watch and Wetlands.

A boy looking at an aquarium in Wildwood Recreation Site
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On the Wetlands Trail, you will take a boardwalk, while a paved pathway goes in the Stream Watch Trail, which is accessible to wheelchairs.

Visitors of the Wildwood Recreation Site can explore wetland and natural stream ecosystems along accessible, interpretive trails and boardwalks.

In addition, they can also observe native fish in a remarkable underwater chamber for viewing fish.

Bridge at Wildwood Recreation Site
Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington from Portland, America, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Have a Drink at the Grateful Vineyards

Located on Trout Creek Ridge Road Grateful Vineyards was established in 2016

Its owner, Katrina McAlexander, set up a tasting room soon after to create a place for folks to be refreshed in the heart of the orchard,

Grateful Vineyard is a partner of Elk Cove Vineyard in the Willamette Valley and serves the latter’s exceptional wines under the Grateful Vineyard brand.

The Grateful Vineyard is tucked within the equally amazing Mt. View Orchards, which is also home to Mountain View Brewing and its fresh farm beer.

Enjoy the Swimming Hole of Punch Bowl Falls

Downstream of Punch Bowl Falls
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This amazing waterfall is located in the Columbia River Gorge and is accessible via the Eagle Creek Trail, which has its trailhead on US 30.

This trail goes 3.4 miles round trip passing through an emerald green forest and a dramatic cliff edge.

The hike’s highlight is the Punch Bowl Falls which cascades 35 feet into a huge crystal clear basin that gave this falls its name.

Aerial view of Punch Bowl Falls
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A dip on this basin is quite inviting, especially after a hike on a warm summer day.

After the trek to Punch Bowl Falls, you can check out near the trailhead across the highway the Eagle Creek Overlook Group Campground.

This is a historic site developed in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps to view the Bonneville Dam construction.

Autumn trees near Punch Bowl Falls
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Make Snowshoe Tracks on the Meadows Nordic Center

The Meadows Nordic Center is located at the parking lot of Hood River Meadows, a mile north of the main entrance to the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort on Highway 35.

The Nordic Center is the starting point for the Sahalie Falls and Elk Meadows snowshoe trails.

The Meadows Nordic Center provides up to 15 kilometers of groomed and set track through beautiful meadows and lushly wooded trails.

The Center has have both classic striding and skating lanes for cross country skiing.

Snowshoeing is not allowed on the groomed Nordic ski trails.

Experience Lavender Valley Fragrance

Beautiful rainbow over Lavender Valley
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Located on Boneboro Road, Lavender Valley Fragrance offers its visitors the opportunity to hand-cut a bundle of lavender to take home.

While on a visit, you can also learn how it grows and harvests 11 different lavender varieties, distills their essential oils, and formulates botanical products right on the farm site.

Vibrant lavender at Lavender Valley
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You can also wander around the farm’s fields and watch bees pollinate the lavender flowers.

The shop of Lavender Valley Fragrance offers handcrafted lavender soap, balm, oil, spray, and honey.

Closeup of Lavender Valley's lavender
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Have Dinner at Crooked Tree Tavern & Grill

This charming restaurant is located on the Cooper Spur Mountain Resort on Cooper Spur Road.

Crooked Tree Tavern & Grill boasts home cooking and farm-to-table meals at their finest.

It combines these delightful servings with drinks from breweries and wineries that put the Hood River Valley on the radar screen of wine and beer lovers.

The exquisite dinner fare in this restaurant includes Wild Pacific Northwest salmon blackened and pan-seared, topped with Beurre Blanc, and served with creamy parmesan risotto and the vegetable of the day.

For wine, try its Oregon private label Pinot Gris Cooper Spur or the Chardonnay Chateau of Ste Michelle in Washington.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Pick Cherries at Montavons Berries

This berry farm is located on Sperry Road in Parkdale, only about 5 miles east of the Mt. Hood Town Hall.

Montavons Berries spreads between Hood River and Mt. Hood and allows its visitors to pick blueberries, raspberries, and cherries on its farm.

This farm grows four varieties of blueberries on 6.5 acres and are harvested in June and July.

In these same months, visitors of Montavons Berries can also pick raspberries which come in just one variety—Williamette.

Around mid-June, picking cherries is likewise expected to begin on the farm’s dwarf rootstock of cherry trees.

Visit the Antique Air & Auto Museum

The Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum (WAAM) is located on Air Museum Road in Hood River, about 13 miles south of Mt. Hood.

WAAAM boasts one of the most extensive US collections of antique aeroplanes and automobiles that remains functional.

The items on exhibit at this museum are not only brimming with history, but they also remain full of life.

At WAAAM, visitors will truly enjoy its unique collection of antique aircraft.

These include the 1917 Curtiss JN-4D Jenny with an OX-5 90 HP engine, the WACO and Piper Cub collections, the Aeronca collection, the Stearman collection, and many more fun aircraft.

WAAAM’s exhibit of antique cars is as impressive, with more than 130 autos in the collection and still growing.

In this museum, you will see a Ford Model A or Model T, the 1914 Detroit Electric, a Studebaker a Packard, and even a Locomobile that many visitors have raved about.

If motorcycles are the wheels you fancy, WAAAM got you covered too, with its Cushmans, Harley Davidsons, Indians, and more.

Aircraft, tractors, automobiles, military jeeps, motorcycles, and engines all get their space at WAAAM.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to pristine outdoor destinations, very few places can match the offerings of Mt. Hood, thanks to its majestic namesake mountain.

Moreover, this mountain's travel attractions are but part of the larger tapestry of natural wonders of its national forest.

Within this lush forest of a million acres, there are numerous trails, lakes, creeks, waterfalls, and valleys to explore in any season.

Consequently, the Mt. Hood area has become a fertile ground for family-friendly mountain resorts with plenty of amenities to enjoy.

In addition, fertile farms abound within the periphery of Mount Hood, thereby creating more magnets for visitors in this part of Oregon.