5 things to do in… Mt. Hood, Oregon

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, OR

What do you look for when you want to get away? A quick dive into what factors are considered when selecting a vacation destination include 1) lodging preference; 2) travel purpose; 3) crowds or solitude; 4) the weather; and 5) the side trips. If we apply these to our destination of choice this month – Oregon’s Mt. Hood Area, here’s what shakes out:

  1. Lodging Preference: This is an easy one. What could be more enjoyable than a stay in a tiny home? The Mt. Hood Tiny House Village in Welches, Oregon, has seven tiny homes to choose from for your stay and each offers a little something different. Did you know tiny homes have personalities? That’s right, Anderson has a modern flair, enjoys a most-excellent cup of brewed coffee, and finds biking to be his raison d’etre. Savannah thinks being called “girly” is the ultimate compliment and her bright yellow exterior is an extension of her sunny personality. The tiny house gang at Mt. Hood has five more friends with five equally different personalities but one thing they have in common is that they are the right answer to “lodging preference.” Visit MtHoodTinyHouse.com to check them out and see which one suits your preference!
  1. Travel Purpose: Well, how can there be a right answer here unless you’re traveling alone? Someone likes to hike, someone likes to do nothing, someone likes to shop and someone likes to learn something new on vacation. Don’t worry, with a trip to the Mt. Hood Area, this box is checked for all involved. Hikers will be happy to know the area has more than 150 hiking trails. From local artisan crafts to antiques and boutiques to the very unique chain saw carvings, the area is a shopper’s delight with variety being the spice of Oregon life here. If you’re looking to learn something, the educational opportunities abound. Learn a new sport – attend a snowboard camp or learn to fly fish. Learn about the history of the area – visit the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum. As for the vacationer who wants to do nothing – that’s OK, too. Just sitting and soaking up the scenery here is a pretty cool thing to do, too!  
View of Mt Hood from downtown Portland, Oregon.
  1. Crowds vs. Solitude: Now more than ever this is a top of the list item with social-distancing being all the rage. Actually, pre-COVID-19, this meant do you like crowds or prefer to spend time alone with your thoughts. Do you want to be “scene,” or do you want to left alone to enjoy more solitary pursuits? So think about it – “no people” activities can include hiking, fly fishing, or skiing while the more social traveler will enjoy the many craft breweries, the annual festivals like the Salmon, Mushroom, and Bigfoot Festival (held in October but sadly cancelled this year) or the Timberline Mountain Music Festival held in late summer annually.
Fall hikes in Mt. Hood National Forest, OR
  1. The Weather: Being a four-season vacation destination, weather conditions factor into a trip to Mt. Hood, well…never really. There is always something to do here. The area has one of the longest ski seasons around. The winter ski season at historic Timberline Lodge begins in early November and runs through Memorial Day. Springtime is great for waterfall hikes and salmon fishing season begins in May. Summer brings amazing wildflowers, festivals, and mountain biking opportunities and the tail end of salmon fishing season (it typically winds down in September). Plus, there’s huckleberry season which straddles late summer and early fall and brings with it the annual Huckleberry Festival (late August). Fall hikes and drives are the best among the changing colors – drive the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway or tackle the Mirror Lake Trail on a day hike.
The vineyards of Willamette Valley, about 90 minutes from Mt Hood, OR.
  1. Side Trips: This is important because it allows travelers to feel like they are getting more bang for their travel dollars! Consider that the Mt. Hood Area is just an hour from Portland. This means you can have all the pleasure of the fantastic outdoors that the Mt. Hood Area affords you, but also have the opportunity to be a city tourist in no time at all. If you’ve always wanted a wine country vacation, you can do that, too. The nearby Willamette Valley is considered Oregon’s Wine Country and there are options for both guided and self-guided tours of the wineries.

Go Big in Bend

Kayaking • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Bend, Oregon is one big playground regardless of the season. But come summer, Bend is bursting with things to do under the sunny skies of the Pacific Northwest. There are all kinds of adventures to be had from rustic to urban, and from relaxing to exhilarating. There is music, art, a rodeo, theater, fishing, hiking, and the list goes on and on. No matter what your fancy, you’ll find something to tickle it when you visit Bend.

Fishing opportunities in Bend are about as abundant as the fish you can catch when you cast your line here. Consider fly fishing, and if you’re new to this sport, River Borne Outfitters offers a 2.5-hour class that covers the basics regarding terminology, casting, and knot tying. If you feel like you’re beyond beginner but still need some fishing tips, they also offer a 6-hour course that has you fishing the Crooked River. Check out www.riverborneoutfitters.com for more information.

Fishing • Deschutes River

Of course, if you’re a seasoned fisherman, just head down to the Lower Deschutes River which is one of the most popular and prolific places to fish in Oregon. Statistics show that more than 3,500 trout run per mile of water in this area. Make sure to obey all the state rules and regulations, and that you have a license to fish. For licensing information, visit www.odfw.com.

If you prefer dry land to water, and art to fishing, then the Roundabout Art Route might be of interest to you. The Roundabout Art Route is a collection of 20 pieces of art that are on display throughout the city. Stop by the Bend Visitor Center to pick up a map, then get rolling on your art adventure. The name of the route should give you a hint as to where the art installations are located, but we are going to give away the secret. Just head into downtown Bend and get ready to glimpse a bronze logger, a bronze grizzly, the Sunrise Spirit Column, and the High Desert Spiral, which at 39 feet is the tallest public art sculpture in Bend, to name a few.

Take a hike up Pilot Butte and you’re guaranteed a breathtaking vista no matter which of the three trails you choose. Pilot Butte is visible from downtown Bend and is a 500-foot high lava dome created from an extinct volcano. Visit www.oregonstateparks.org for information about the state park and the trails.

Cabin • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Tour-wise, there’s plenty of ways to see Bend while eating and drinking some of the city’s offerings. There is the Bend Ale Trail, which offers a do-it-yourself way to visit Bend’s 18 breweries at your leisure. If you want someone else to do the heavy lifting when it comes to touring the breweries, check out the offerings of The Bend Tour Company, which not only offers a craft beer, wine and spirit tasting tour, but also other adventure tours such as an arts and cultural tour of Bend, and a stunning Cascade Sunset tour. Check out what they offer at www.thebendtourcompany.com.

Special summer events in Bend include the Bend Summer Festival, July 12th-14th that will feature food, music, an art fair, and plenty of family fun. July 26th-28th brings Balloons Over Bend to the city as hot air balloon fun takes center stage. Help celebrate a milestone at the 100th Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo scheduled for July 31st-August 4th. This year’s theme is “100 Years of Fun Since Day One.” Bend Brewfest is scheduled for August 15th-17th and features craft brewers, wineries, and cideries set on the banks of the Deschutes River.

Sunset • Bend-Sunriver RV Campground

Of course, when the day’s fun is done, you’ll need a place to bunk in until the next adventure, so consider adding to the experience by staying in a yurt, cabin, or cottage at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground. Situated on the banks of the Little Deschutes River, this 283-acre campground has plenty of onsite fun including fishing opportunities, swimming, pickleball, tennis, and mini-golf.

Plan your time to Go Big in Bend, visit www.RVontheGo.com and reserve your stay today!