Co-written by Travel Journalist Jeff Game
Put Mt. Hood Territory on your travel bucket list – right now. Ok, now you’re ready.
Just a short drive outside the bearded hipster-haven of downtown Portland lives a whole other world of skiing Sasquatch sightings, reliving the opening shot of “the Shining,” and sleeping in a village of tiny houses. Mt. Hood Territory is also home to the finest beer makers in the world, an outdoor enthusiasts paradise of a playground, and over 11,000-foot climb to the top iconic Mt. Hood itself.
Oh, and it’s dang pretty up in these neck of the woods.
If the extreme call of the wild peaks your adrenaline needle, then year-round skiing, snowmobiling, snowboard shredding, or mountain biking, stand up paddle boarding, fly fishing and kayaking along their pristine rivers and lakes might be your outdoor jam. Maybe you hear the more calming whispers of wine tasting in an estate vineyard, gourmet farm-to-table dinners under the summer skyline, tipping your toes through fields of tulips, or maybe even day drinking some of the best craft beer on the planet. Whatever floats your boat, Mt. Hood Territory might just be able to scratch whatever itch you may have.
The winding roads up US-26 to the historic Timberline Lodge may look familiar, being that the exterior opening shots of the Jack Nicholson-starring horror movie classic “the Shining” were filmed along this stretch of highway. Hollywood aside, Timberline Lodge is a top-rated luxury hotel, right at the base of Mt. Hood. Can’t get much closer than that!
Oregon City Brewing Company is one of premiere beer producers in “The Territory,” with award-winning brew master David Vohden at the helm, creating some of the best brews in the area. What started off as a family run garage brewing business just a few short years ago, has now grown into their own brewery, tasting room and event space right in the middle of town. This beer “station-of-the cross” is must stop in Oregon City, with friendly bearded bartenders pouring cold, cold beer, as you listen to the vocal stylings of Swedish metal music, while soaking in some Oregon sunshine on their spacious patio.
Nothing pairs better with a frosty Elevator IPA at Oregon City Brewing Company than some fancy meat in tube form. The folks at OP Wurst have set up shop in OC Brewing Company and make some of the best gourmet hot dogs and sausages you may ever taste. Does a mac & cheese dog or Philly cheese dog tickle your fancy? Dogs and beer are what make America great!
Get your hike on as you tackle the rugged Tom Dick and Harry Mountain along with a transcendently beautiful view of Mirror Lake. You won’t want to miss this one!
Tiny houses are all the rage these days. Crashing for a few nights in one of the uniquely designed small houses in the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village is an excellent way to get away from it all, even though they are located less than an hour outside of Portland.
With a stunning view of Mt. Hood as their backdrop, Beckham Estate Vineyard is eight acres of beautifully landscaped grounds to relax and taste some of their natural blends of pinot noir and more. Owner and winemaker Andrew Beckham also creates the ceramic art that dot the grounds and tasting room.
Beef is certainly what’s for dinner! Executive Chef Jason Stoller Smith of the Timberline Lodge is all about the meat at the Cascade Dining Room, with the newly launched “gate to plate” menu. Partnering with a local rancher, Chef Stoller Smith and his Timberline team purchased 52 cows that are born and raised humanely without growth hormones for their proprietary beef program. So good!
Feckin Brewery blends traditional flavors of Irish beers with Northwest influences and is a short walk to Willamette Falls in Oregon City. This Irish clan run brewery really keeps it deep in the family roots, with a picture of a Great Grandfather and his early “Ireland Troubles” cohorts plastered on bottles of their tasty IRA red ale.
Surrounded by 58 acres of lush certified organic farmland, Our Table Cooperative is a co-op that is helping to a create a resilient and independent food culture in their local community. Pick up some fresh food from their 80% Oregon-sourced farm store, spend some time taking a cooking class, or dine alfresco under the stars at one of their popular summer farm-to-table dinners.
Trail Distilling is the first distillery in the first city west of the Mississippi since prohibition. This family run distillery is a great atmosphere to hang out and enjoy some cocktails with their line of gin, vodka or newly released rum.
Oregonians love to give back. Not only does the Portland Cider Company make amazingly fresh tasting cider, but they also donate to Foundation First, who build schools and provide education in rural villages around the world.
600,000 colored LED lights illuminate the largest night skiing and cosmic tubing adventure in the country at the Mt. Hood Skibowl. Keep an eye out for the Bigfoot mascot that has been seen around the rave-like slopes from time to time.
A mountain biker’s dreamscape awaits, with so many trails to choose from along the way. Whether you take the paved Springwater Corridor Trail along the Willamette River, or glide along the 70-mile stretch of the Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway, or hop on the chairlift up the Skibowl to Mountain Bike Park only to barrel back down again.
Who you gonna call? Walk amongst the spirits in Oregon City with local historian and paranormal investigator, Rocky Smith, on his popular and sometimes spooky Northwest Ghost Tours.
Take a hair-raising two-hour jet boat tour all the way to Willamette Falls - the second largest waterfall by volume in the United States behind Niagara Falls. Hop aboard the Willamette Jetboat Excursions as you explore scenic downtown bridges, Willamette River history, and wildlife along the way.
Instagram-worthy moments are a plenty along with a kaleidoscope colors around many of the thriving farms. From the breathtaking lavender fields that may rival the famed fields of Provence, to collecting bushels of lush Oregon cherries, to taking selfies whilst tip-toeing through acres of stunning tulips, are just some of the ways to connect with nature, and make your followers a little jealous.
More beer, sunshine and a lake are all you need. In the heart of Lake Oswego, Stickmen Brewing Company might be a perfect location to grab one of their craft beers, chill in their large patio with a view of the lake and soak in some Oregon sunshine.
One great way to finish off your tour around Mt. Hood Territory is to take a soak in the natural beauty of Bagby Hot Springs. Another favorite Instagram hot spot, Bagby Hot Springs does allow nudity on parts of the bath decks, so don’t be shocked if you catch more than an eyeful of skin up in these neck of the woods...so to speak.