Archives for category: Mt Hood Things to Do!
300 days of sunshine a year is the recipe for a great rafting experience on the Deschutes!

300 days of sunshine a year is the recipe for a great rafting experience on the Deschutes!

If you are staying at our Mt Hood Cabin in the summer there is one thing that you do not want to miss…Rafting the Deschutes!  Less than an hour away is the Oregon capital of river rafting, Maupin.  Maupin is a cute small high desert town east of Mt Hood.  There are over eight different rafting companies that will take you on a half day or more river rafting extravaganza.

Like all residents of a state that live close to tourist activities, I was guilty of not taking advantage of this opportunity.  I have lived here for over a decade and heard about Maupin and the river but never ventured over the mountain to this part of the state.  After I see a Groupon coupon for rafting I was determined to do it.  I’m not getting any younger and the bucket list needs to be worked on.  So I bought some vouchers, convinced some friends to do the same and we were off for the weekend, staying at our Mt Hood Cabin.  That Saturday we left the cabin at about 11:45AM for a 12:30PM check-in.  We were scheduled to hit the white water at 1PM.  Our Groupon was for a company called High Desert River Outfitters.  They ran a special for 50% off.  So for $30 a piece we had ourselves 3 hours of fun…the best $30 I’ve ever spent.

Just traveling over Mt Hood is a treat.  The peaks, glaciers and trees are always refreshing to look at.  As you are headed east on highway 26 head towards central Oregon. and watch for the signs that say Maupin on Route 216.  This road gives you the complete Oregon landscape from fir trees, then ponderosa pines, to the hay fields and ranches of the high desert.  Don’t worry about weather.  Maupin has 300 days of sunshine a year so if it’s cloudy on the west side come on over to the east side for some sun and warmth.  You eventually hit highway 197, go right to Maupin.

We arrived, parked and checked in.  After filling out the proper paperwork we had a tailgate picnic and loaded up on some much needed calories as we knew it would be 3 hours before we ate again.  We used the dressing rooms provided and changed into our bathing suits, sandals, sun tan lotion (a must) and were fitted for our life vests.  We then loaded the shuttle bus with the crew and we were off to the river.

The trip lasted about 2.5 hours on the water with one stop to swim the rapids, which I highly recommend (I did it twice…why not).  The rapids ranged from a Class II to V, mostly III’s.  At the entrance of each rapid we were briefed, no one fell out, teamwork a must.  I saw young kids and grandma’s in rafts, everyone enjoying the day and the water.  After a great trip we loading the rafts and the bus and headed back to base camp while listening to the jokes and stories of the guides.  The whole trip made you feel like family, wanting to come back again.  As we reached Maupin the guides gave us some recommendations for dinner.  We ended up hitting Oasis Café.  This historic (hole in the wall) café…yup…you guessed it, great food.  We had the recommended burgers, beer battered fries and peanut butter shakes.  If you tell the waitress the name of your HDRO guide they get a free shake the next time they come in.  After dinner we crossed back over the Deschutes bridge on highway 197 and wouldn’t you know it, our guides walking on the bridge headed to their hangout place for that free shake…and a few beers I presume!

Here is a list of all the rafting companies in Maupin.  Happy vacationing in our pristine state!

While here make sure you stay at our Mt Hood Cabin.  This 3 bedroom, 2 bath home has it all from hot tub, firepit, bbq, ac, full kitchen, wifi, flatscreen TV, cable, DVD and pillowtop mattresses with quality sheets and linens.  Not to mention our summer heated outdoor pool, tennis court and Sandy River hiking trails exclusive to our cabin community.  See the Mt Hood Cabin website here at www.greatnorthwestcabins.com or call us at 503-492-8783 any day from 9-9 PST for information and reservations.  We will be glad to answer your questions.

photo

That’s me, Bob to the right, my 2 daughters to the left and friend Don and his son Ethan…good times had by all!

 

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When I go away on vacation I struggle to decide what to do in an area when there are so many choices.  Here are 10 things to do when staying at our beautiful Mt Hood Cabin in the summer, all within miles of this paradise!

Firepit, hot tub, bbq and patio furniture ready to use at our Mt Hood Cabin!

#1 Sit, Relax, BBQ, Hot Tub, Cook Smores, Eat Breakfast On the Deck…

Why go anywhere right away?  When you rent a place you need to enjoy it first before jumping up and heading out.  When we go to the cabin we love to sleep in and get up at about 10AM.  The sun shines in the great room windows and that is a great sign that it’s time to eat breakfast on the deck.  Gather the breakfast cereal, coffee and sweet rolls and enjoy the trees, birds and forest smell as the sun shines down and warms your morning!

Mt Hood Cabin Hot Tub

After breakfast we hit the hot tub for more relaxing.  “Why go anywhere right away when we have rented a beautiful vacation home in the middle of forest heaven?”.

Within minutes from the cabin, walk here!

#2 Take a Short Walk or a Long Hike right from the Cabin…

Our cabin is in a village of other fine vacation homes and cabins called Zig Zag Village.  Go out the door and take a right and the trail starts right at the end of the road.  This trail meanders through the woods, over the creek and within a few minutes the trail is following the mighty Sandy River.  There are so many spots to go down to the river, picnic, play and enjoy the views of Mt Hood.  You can take this trail up into the National Forest and to the trail head to Ramona Falls (Apx 6 miles total, 12 mi roundtrip).   You can also go out the door of the cabin and go left.  Follow the road and before it goes left go right and follow it down to the pool and tennis court.  Beyond the tennis court are more trails that lead to the Sandy River and beyond.  We love taking morning or after dinner walks with our dog.  This is one of the reasons why we fell in love with this village and bought this lot to build this cabin.

The pool is heated and ready for a refreshing swim!

#3 Head to the Pool and Take a Swim or Play Tennis…

Go out the door of the cabin and go left.  Go to the end of the road and before it turns left go right.  Follow this road down to the pool and tennis area.  It takes less than a few minutes to walk there and is real safe for the whole family.  The pool and tennis court sit in the middle of the forest.  Bring your towels, chairs and pool floats.  There are showers and bathrooms.  We love to sunbath and enjoy the trees blowing in the wind.  The setting is wonderful and the pool heated and clean.  Our tennis court is very nicely maintained so bring the rackets with you.  Our village is small so many times the tennis court is available for you to just walk in and play.

Ramona Falls

4. Take your Mt Bike(s) and head out…

Our village is located off of Lolo Pass Rd.  You can ride your bike on our hiking trails or head up Lolo Pass Rd towards Mt Hood.  Your option is to stay on Lolo Pass and go above the trees to enjoy rare views of Mt Hood.  You can ride for miles on this road which eventually goes to Lost Lake (apx 20 mi) or Hood River (there is 4 mi of unpaved road when riding to Lost Lake – this road is closed in winter).  If you want a shorter ride head up Lolo Pass Rd for about 2 miles and go right onto Road 1825 labeled “campgrounds and trailheads”.  Go over the Sandy River bridge and ride past the McNeil Campground and the road to Riley Horse Camp.  This road eventually leads to the Ramona Falls trailhead.

If you are not into biking then go hiking…the most popular thing to do on Mt Hood in summer.  Take your car to the Ramona Falls trail head and venture up to the falls.  This is about a 4 mi trek (8 total) and is an easy trail that follows the Sandy River with views of Mt Hood.  Or take your car to Lost Lake and hike around the lake.  This is a great 3 mile family trail again with great views of Mt Hood.  At the 3200′ level, it is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day.  Treat the family with an ice cream at the general store.  You can picnic or rent a canoe or row boat…sunbath…fish…enjoy!

Wildwood Park and the Cascade Streamwatch

5. Wildwood Park and the Cascade Streamwatch is 3 mi away…

Go out the cabin and take a left onto Lolo Pass Rd to highway 26.  Go right onto 26 past Welches and Wemme and on the left you will see the sign to Wildwood Park.  This is a must see and a great morning or afternoon activity…especially with the kids.  There is a $5 per passenger car fee, worth it totally.  This is a day use area home to a wide range of recreation facilities and the Cascade Streamwatch Trail. Visitors have a chance to explore natural stream and wetland ecosystems along accessible interpretive trails and boardwalks and observe native fish in a unique underwater fish viewing chamber.  There are many picnic tables, playing fields, volleyball and basketball courts and trails.  Take the wooden bridge over the   Salmon River and head to the elevated wooden walkways that meander through the marshland.

Mirror Lake on Mt Hood

6. Mirror Lake Trail…

Read our blog, “Hike to Mirror Lake on Mt Hood.”  We love this trail.  Go down Lolo Pass to Highway 26 and go left up Mt Hood.  About a mile below Government Camp to the right is the trail head.  You will see the cars parked right along side the highway.  Our blog gives a detailed explanation of the trail.  This is a great family hike.  Bring a small backpack with drinks and lunch and eat at the lake as a reward yourself for the climb up.  Again..as always…do not forget the camera.

Golfing on Mt Hood

7. Golf at the Resort at the Mountain or visit their Spa for a Massage!

The Resort at The Mountain’s 27-hole golf course, is nestled in the Salmon River Valley of the Mt. Hood National Forest.  Golfers seeking an exceptional and scenic outing in the Mt. Hood area will find The Courses an exceptional choice.  The full service spa offers massages, body wraps, manicures and pedicures.  Call 503-622.2270 for a tee time or spa reservations or log onto www.theresort.com .  Out the cabin go left onto Lolo Pass and go right onto 26.  At the light in Welches go left and the resort is a little ways down on the left.

Ski Bowls Alpine Slide

8. Visit Ski Bowl’s Alpine Slide and all it’s exciting outdoor activities…

Go down Lolo Pass Rd  and go left onto Highway 26.  Drive 10 miles up to Ski Bowl.  You will see the lodge and parking area on the right.  There is so much to do here and this can be a half day or full day activity.   The Alpine Slide is FUN for all ages.  After you purchase your tickets you choose a sled and head up the main lift.  After reaching the top there are 2 tracks (fast and slow).  My kids always go on the fast track and I at first take the slow one to get the hang of it…again!  If you have little kids you can take them on the same sled as you.  Ski Bowl also has kayak rentals/tours, white water rafting, bungee jump, zip line, indie carts, reverse bungee, sky ride, summer tube hill, mini golf, frisbee golf, mt bike park, batting cages and so much more.  Log onto www.skibowl.com or information, daily passes or a-la-cart tickets.

Timberline Lodge in Summer

9. Tour Timberline Lodge and ride the lift…

Read our blog called “Visit and Tour Timberline Lodge.”  If you are staying at the Mt Hood Cabin this is a must experience.  Tour the lodge and witness the amazing architecture.  The dining experience is highly recommended.  You can ski all summer in the morning and hike or play golf in the afternoon.  We love to head up to the Cascade Dining room for the full breakfast buffet, served till 10AM, well worth it!  Log onto www.timberlinelodge.com for more information.

Trillium Lake

10. Trillium Lake is great for boating, swimming and hiking…

Trillium Lake is an extremely popular destination for picnickers, photographers, anglers, and just about any other outdoor enthusiasts.  Its popularity is understandable.  The lake boasts such a gorgeous view of Mount Hood, the place is frequently featured in national calendars and photo books. A wonderful trail circles this mountain gem.  We took that hike a few years ago and as we headed east on the trail a bald eagle swooped down and glided along the water.  It was a gift for the start of a perfect day.  There are many picnic areas to act as a base, swim, fish, bring the blow up rafts and boats and bbq up some burgers and hot dogs.  The area around the dam at the end of the lake was recently renovated and is a great place to relax and take in the views of Mt Hood.  Bring your camera, this is a number one picture taking opportunity on Mt Hood!

Government Camp in Summer!

BONUS #11. Visit Government Camp…yes this is a town…with pubs, shops, restaurants and museums…

Go out the cabin and go Left down Lolo Pass and go right up highway 26 towards Mt Hood’s Alpine Village, Government Camp at 4000′.  Once you hit Ski Bowl (on the right) take your next left and go into the town of Government Camp.  In the past few years this town has gotten a facelift with new sidewalks and streetlamps.  There are some great restaurants like the Huckleberry Inn or Mt Hood Brewing Co. and local pubs like Charlie’s Mountain View, all great experiences.  Visit the Mt Hood Cultural Center and Museum and discover the mountains history.  Make some time to visit the Arts Cabins and sign up for classes which include knitting, beading, jewelry, spinning, book making and binding, painting, glass work and so much more.  For more information about the Villages of Mt Hood (Zig Zag, Rhododendron, Welches, Wemme and Government Camp) log onto www.mthoodmagazine.com or www.mounthoodinfo.com.

When planning your trip to Mt Hood stay in our luxury vacation home in Zig Zag Village.  Log onto www.greatnorthwestcabins.com or call 503-492-8783 for information and reservations anyday till 9AM-9PM PST.

We take visa or mc and dogs are welcome!

The Orchards of Hood River

In summer, we have tons of people come from all over the world and stay in our Mt Hood Cabin.  They come to hike, golf, ski and take in all that the area has to offer.  If you only have a few days and you love to drive, this is the trip for you.  This trip takes you on a big circle from our cabin in Welches, OR, up Mt Hood, down the east side into Hood River back through the Gorge and past all the amazing waterfalls and up through Troutdale, Gresham, Sandy and back to the cabin in Welches, OR, all about 110 miles!

GETTING READY…load the car up with gas and a cooler full of cold drinks and snacks.  In summer you don’t need to worry about the weather but if you are traveling in early spring or late fall, always make sure that you are ready for all kinds of weather when traveling over Mt Hood.  Always bring an extra jacket or hoodie with you, you never know what the weather is like not only on Mt Hood but in the Gorge as well.

FIRST LEG…head out of our community and go left onto Lolo Pass down to highway 26 (2 mi).  Go left on Highway 26 and begin to head over Mt Hood.  Our other blog topics go into detail about the hikes and tourist things to do on and close to Mt Hood like Ski Bowl Summer Fun, Government Camp, Timberline Lodge and various day hikes and such.  So we suggest you drive over Mt Hood, past Government Camp and go right onto highway 35 North towards Hood River.  This is a beautiful drive with many opportunities to stop and take in some amazing views of Mt Hood and the surrounding scenery.  From the cabin to Hood River is about 40 miles.  As you head furthur north you will pass Meadows Ski Resort, one of the larger ski areas on Mt Hood (we will blog about Meadows later).  The road winds down into some of the most furtile territory in the northwest where orchards are in abundance with over 14000 acres of farmland growing commercial pear, apple, cherry and peach.  This county leads the world in Anjou pear production and 50% of the countries winter pear crop comes from Hood River.  Cherries in spring, apples and pears in fall…stop by the many road side stands and pick up some fresh produce.

The Windsurfing Capital of the World

HOOD RIVER…you could spend a whole day here in this city on the mighty Columbia River.  You have just entered the wind surfing capital of the world.  You can also kite board, paddle board, kayak, raft, rent a boat or jet ski or just take a dip in the ole’ Columbia.  If anything, head down to the waterfront and watch the pros and the newbees taking a lesson.  If you are a newbee sign up for a lesson and try it out.  You never know it may become a passion or try it just to say, “I windsurfed in the Windsurfing Capital of the World.”  The town of Hood River has a vibrant shopping area (remember that Oregon has no sales tax) and many restaurants to fit any budget.  Try one of the local wines or microbrews or attend one of the many cultural events in the area.  There is something for everyone in Hood River and perhaps you just want to make a day of it and then head back up to Mt Hood after dinner.  Or for you, this trip to Hood River is nice for lunch and coffee but you really came to head down the Gorge and the likes of Multnomah Falls and Crown Point.  For more information on Hood River log onto hoodriver.org.

Multnomah Falls

THE GORGE AND WATERFALL HEAVEN…We are now going to head west on highway 84, the main highway the spans the length of the Columbia River from Portland west to the border of Idaho east.  This is an amazing road built right along the edge of the river with great views of the water and Washington on the other side.  There is so much to do and see that if you are going to see it all you have to decide where you will stop.  You can stop at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery, take pictures at the Bridge of the Gods or venture straight to the famous Multnomah Falls.  It is again about 40 miles from Hood River to Multnomah Falls.  You will see the signs.  Pull off the highway and park in front of the lodge.  It is a must to walk up to the bridge that spans the river over the falls, take pictures and feel the spray…powerful!  If you arrived early you can hike to the top for about an hours trek, the view from the top looking down and of the gorge is one of a kind.  There is a visitor center, snack shop, coffee cart or if you are up for something more fancy eat at the lodge itself.  At least go up into the lodge lobby and ask to peak in (they will let you).  The ambiance of the room with glass that allows you to look up at the falls is worth the stairs to get there.  After you have gotten your fill of Multnomah Falls you have 2 choices.  You can take highway 84 to Troutdale or take the Old Historic Highway (both end in the same place.)  The Old Historic Highway takes off from the Multnomah Falls parking area and goes west.  After a few miles you have a choice to go right to 84 or left.  If you choose to go left you will not only be treated to incredible vistas but other parking areas that host many other gorge waterfalls.  You can also visit the famous Vista House, an Oregon landmark recently renovated and one of the best east/west panoramic views of the Columbia River.  Evenutally the old highway follows along the Sandy River and heads into the cute town of Troutdale.  Troutdale as well has many shops and restuarants including the Troutdale Outlet Mall.  Before heading on your last 30 mile drive, if you have not eaten dinner, you must visit The McMenamins at Edgefield.  I can’t go into all that this resort like a microbrewery, winery, golf course, movie theatre, glass blowing, concert venue has to offer,  but we love this place.  It once was a poor farm where debtors were sent to work off their debt (what a great idea!).  Now it is one of the many McMenamin brother’s famous northwest restaurants and resorts.  If you do not have time this day then I would suggest that after you check out of the Mt Hood Cabin, come down and eat lunch or dinner at the Powerhouse Pub or outside on the large garden patio – a true northwest experience!  McMenamins!!

McMenamins at Edgefield

BACK TO THE CABIN…what a day…what a drive…what a vacation!  To get back you will go up the hill on 257th south to Kane through Gresham (that’s where I live) and connect to highway 26 east through Sandy and back to Welches.  This last leg of your drive is about 30 miles.  Get gas, stop at some larger grocery stores to stock up and dream of returning to our amazing cabin and soaking in the hot tub after a great 110 mile northwest adventure.

Famous Mirror Lake on Mt Hood

About 1/4 mile below the quaint town of Government Camp is the trail head to the Mirror Lake Trail on highway 26.  This trail is about a 2 mi round trip.  Park in the parking area off of highway 26 and cross over the foot bridge over Camp Creek to begin.  The trail goes up gradually and is not that difficult to navigate.  You will cross Mirror Creek on a second log bridge. The trail soon enters more open woods, then begins a series of switchbacks across open slopes with very interesting views of the Zigzag Valley, far below.

When you get to the lake you will enjoy a picture postcard view of Mt Hood and towering Tom, Dick and Harry peaks above.  Make sure you take your camera and go all the way around the lake and stop off at the different points along the water.  You can enjoy different views that are all well worth it.

If you are not satisfied with your mile hike continue straight right up to Tom, Dick and Harry.  This is one of the most spectacular views in all of the Mt Hood National Forest.  On a clear day you can see Mt Hood, Adams, St Helens, Rainier and Baker to the north.  To the south you can see Jefferson, Sisters and Bachelor.  Again this is the best view in the Cascades.

Mirror Lake is crowded on the weekends and best hiked on weekdays.

Enjoy!

If you are looking for a great cabin getaway stay with us!

http://www.greatnorthwestcabins.com

Call anyday from 9-9 PST for information or reservations at 503-492-8783.

We take visa or mc and dogs are welcome!

If you’re looking for a longer hike, continue straight (right) when you reach the loop junction, and you’ll be on the Tom Dick and Harry Mountain Hike.

Timberline Lodge in Summer!

When staying at the Mt Hood Cabin visiting Timberline Lodge is a must.    This is a peak NW experience in the summer or winter at 6000′.  As you enter the lower main lobby you will find the first large stone fireplace and a small museum.  I would first watch the 30 minute video of how the lodge was built.  It really gives you a great perspective of what it took to create such an amazing place so high up with so much snow in the early 30’s.   It was built by hundreds of hands eager to work after months or years of unemployment in the 1930s. Ninety percent of the men and women who built and furnished the lodge were hired by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the federal agency created in 1933 to provide work for the hundreds of thousands of Americans idled by the Great Depression.

It was constructed and furnished by hand with original craft work in wood, wrought iron, weaving, applique, painting, mosaic, carved linoleum, and stained glass.  It is a living museum and houses a permanent, catalogued exhibition of American design, painting, and craft work.  It is a stunning mountain lodge for skiers, hikers, and nature lovers.

After watching the video and viewing the different historical artifacts you can actually take a tour and go places the normal public does not go.  The Guided tours are open Thursdays through Sundays at 11 am, 1 pm and at 2 pm. They are free.   For information  call 503-622-2033 or visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/.

In winter you can of course ski.  As a matter of fact you can ski all year long as this ski resort has the longest season in North America.  In the summer months skiing and boarding takes place on the upper Palmer Glacier.  So either take a scenic chair lift ride with out your boards or take a ride to the top and make some summer turns.  We have had many summer guests ski in the morning and then in the afternoon head down to the Resort at the Mountain and play a round of golf in the afternoon.  What a place!

The main lobby is of course the main attraction with large timber beams and central stone fireplaces.  Sit, relax, read a book and make this space your living room for the afternoon.  Hiking is also very popular on the mountain whether you are climbing to the top (with a guide of course) or just venturing out for a few hours to witness some great wildflowers and wildlife.  You can also select your own adventure tour by booking a ranger to be your guide for the Timberline Lodge Tour, guided hike or for campfire talk. For further information, please call 503-622-2033

Right off the main lobby is the main dining room, The Cascade Dining Room.  We love the breakfast buffet with waffles, bacon, fruit, pastries…so much food you will not need to eat lunch.  Breakfast goes till 10AM.  Dinners in the dining room are tasty and elegant and well worth the high end price.  Why not, you are on vacation!  The wine list is extensive and they have many great Oregon microbrews on tap.  Dinner reservations are encouraged especially with larger parties.  Call 503-272-3104.

If you missed breakfast and want some lunch then head up to the 3rd level balcony and enjoy the Rams Head Bar.  This is an ideal location for a family–friendly atmosphere.  Savor their food and drinks amidst the beauty of the mountains.    There are other places to eat and drink on the premises like the Blue Ox Bar, Ice Axe Grill and WyEast Dining Room.  Depending on the season and time of day you will find these facilities open.  Call the lodge for detailed information.

You can plan to spend a few hours or make it a full day but do not miss this lodge attraction.  It is one of the most visited tourist places in Oregon with over 2 million visitors per year and you are only 18 mi from our cabin to the lodge.  The roads in summer are clear.  In winter you will need either traction tires and/or chains.  If you are renting a car make sure you request chains with your rental.  You never know what will happen in spring and fall.  The roads are always well cleared.  Just always be prepared for mountain driving and carry an emergency kit with you.

For more information about the lodge log onto  – http://www.timberlinelodge.com

Or call 503.272.3311 (general information)

When planning your trip to Mt Hood stay with us at our Mt Hood Log Cabin.  You can see pictures and video at http://www.greatnorthwestcabins.com or call us at 503-492-8783 for information and reservations.  We take visa or mc and dogs are welcome.