5 Things to Do in the Mt. Hood Area

If you’re heading to Oregon’s Mt. Hood area in the next month or so, your agenda most likely involves skiing or winter trail hiking. But this area has something to offer any season you visit and we’re taking a look. Of course, your visit here won’t be perfect unless you book one of the amazing accommodations at Mt. Hood Village in Welches – from yurts to cabins, cottages and tiny houses, there are plenty of choices for your glamping getaway here.


Winter Activities: How about five different ski areas with 4,500 miles of skiable terrain for the ultimate ski trip? That’s what you’ll find in this region. From the legendary Mt. Hood Ski Bowl to the historic Timberline Lodge, there’s lots of powder to schuss in here. Mt. Hood is also great for sledding, tubing, and snowboarding. Cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails are another option. Trillium Lake has a great trail with views of Mt. Hood and beginner cross-country skiers should definitely check out Mt. Hood Meadows Nordic Center which offers lessons and rentals.

Interior of Anderson Tiny Home at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
Anderson Tiny Home at Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

Timberline Lodge: Speaking of the historic Timberline Lodge, whether you plan to enjoy the snow sports, or not, this is a destination worth a visit. The Lodge was built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and was dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt in September of that year. The Lodge is open for public viewing daily and there are several restaurants open to the public. Another fun fact – the exterior shots of The Shining were actually shot here!

View Mt. Hood: Of course, this 11,239 foot peak is visible if you just look up, but how about checking out the highest point in Oregon from some of the best viewpoints around? The Timberline Trail at the aforementioned Timberline Lodge is one place to get a great view. Come summer, Elk Meadows is not only a great place to see Mt. Hood, but also a spot to get your fill of the wildflowers that bloom, among them lupines and asters. If you want to take an easy route, drive to Trillium Lake where views of the mountain across the picturesque lake are really incredible.

Explore local wineries: While Welches is less than 90 miles from the Oregon wine country known as the Willamette Valley, there are some great wineries to be found right in the area. To learn about the Mt. Hood Wine Trail, which is actually in the northeast corner of the Willamette Valley, and the more than a dozen wineries that can be found along the way, check out mthoodterritory.com/winetrail.

Portland, Oregon at sunset
Portland, Oregon

Keep it weird in Portland: Day-trippin’ to Portland is a real possibility when you’re glamping at Mt. Hood Village. Oregon’s largest city is just under 90 miles from the Mt. Hood area and much of the drive can be done via the scenic byway. If you want to make this scenic drive just once during your stay, then consider these must-do’s for a day in Portland: the Portland Japanese Garden, the Portland Rose Garden, Powell’s Books (which spans an entire block), and the historic Pittock Mansion. If you’re hungry, definitely have a cup of coffee from an indie roaster (Portland is one of the top coffee cities in the country according to wallethub.com) and partake in some of the best donuts in the country (for some reason Portland is also known for their donuts). Voodoo Doughnuts, which also offers vegan options, is one hot spot while Blue Star is known for its boutique, and unique, flavors like creme brulee and blueberry bourbon basil.

Mt. Hood Tiny House Village
Mt. Hood Tiny House Village

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3 Recharging Getaways

Nothing better than a getaway when the getaway gets you gone but doesn’t involve numerous “travel” days, long lines, and a big hit to the budget. De-stressing, reconnecting, and recharging are important to a happy and healthy life. Here are a few quick getaways that will hopefully have you happy and stress-free by the time you head home.

LA to Palm Springs: Of course, Los Angeles has plenty of sunshine and beautiful beaches, but if it’s your homebase, a little road trip out of the city is guaranteed to ease stress and help you reconnect to the beauty that is California. Book a colorful cottage at Palm Springs and get ready to unwind. Palm Springs is a great place to reconnect with nature thanks to the proximity to Joshua Tree National Park, an ancient desert which is known for having multiple energy vortices. Hike this magical desert landscape which is loaded with spring wildflowers in April and May. Do you enjoy the feeling of wind in your hair? If so, then plan a windmill tour where you can enjoy a self-guided driving tour through a California wind farm (windmilltours.com). If your astrological element is water, then a hike through Tahquitz Canyon to see the waterfall should be on the agenda. For details on this 1.7-mile loop check out tahquitzcanyon.com. This healing vibes getaway is about an hour and a half drive from Los Angeles.

Phoenix to Sedona: Just under two hours from Phoenix, Sedona, Arizona, can be called other-worldly with mystical powers and healing vortexes that can even bring calm to the A-plusses of Type A personalities. Sedona is a healing place thanks in part due to the red-orange color of the red rocks that surround it which is considered one of the most neuro-stimulating colors. Book a cabin, cottage or tiny house at Verde Valley and you’re on our way to restful retreat. Plan hikes to see the vortexes and soak up their healing energy; take a yoga class in the desert; or enjoy some of the spa services offered at one of the numerous spas in town. Plan ahead and enjoy the Sedona Yoga Festival, scheduled for June 2-5. The Verde River is great for relaxing canoe and kayak trips and a wine tasting at nearby Alcantara Vineyards may be just what you need to take the edge off!

Mt Hood Tiny House Village Tumbleweed
Mt Hood Tiny House Village

Portland to Welches:  A roughly less than one-hour drive is nothing if it means within that short timeframe you can travel from the bustle of the city to the serenity of wooded wilderness. If Portland is where everyday life finds you, you’re lucky the drive to Mt. Hood National Forest is a quick trip. Plan a tiny home adventure at the Mt. Hood Tiny House Village and get ready to recharge in the great outdoors. To name a few, outdoor activities here can include hiking, biking, climbing, horseback riding, fishing, birding, and rafting. There is a wine trail and a tap trail (which highlights the region’s breweries, cideries, and distilleries), plus antique shops, galleries, and eateries. If music is your go-to for recharging, make note that the Mt. Hood Jazz Festival is scheduled for May 6-8. If fields of flowers bring you peace, check out the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, set for Sunday May 1, or the Spring Fever Open House, sponsored by the Cascade Nursery Trail, where area nurseries are open for tours, host plant sales, and other flower-themed fun events. Spring Fever Open House is a three-day event scheduled for May 28-30.

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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.

Cider Sippin’ Spots

Cider Sippin’ Spots

When they say everything old is new again, they may very well be talking about cider. Did you know cider was America’s beverage of choice during Colonial times? In fact, the Mayflower possibly carried the first cider press to be used in America aboard the ship that also brought the Pilgrims to our shores. Of course, they couldn’t do anything with it until the apples were harvested from the first apple trees planted here after they first landed. Fast forward some 500 years, and cider is again very popular. To clarify, that’s hard cider versus soft cider. The difference here being that hard cider has an alcohol content while soft cider can be enjoyed by all ages! And, while Americans may not be drinking the 35 gallons of hard cider they apparently averaged annually during Colonial days, they are certainly taking it up once again, as evidenced by the popularity of cideries sprouting up across the country. To produce cider, according to ciderscene.com, there are four steps. Pick, press, punish, and produce. Again, a differentiation is required. The apples used for cider are typically not the same apples that you would eat or cook with. Cider apples tend to be dryer and less sweet. The four-step result is a crisp, refreshing alternative to other spirits, including beer and wine. Here are some cideries to check out this fall season:

Bishop Cider (Dallas, Texas):  Gluten-free and vegan friendly, the people behind Bishop Cider began making their own cider at home because they felt the commercially available cider in Texas was “trash” because it was too sweet. Started in 2014, Bishop Cider Co. now offers a variety of ciders and has a tasting room that typically offers six different ciders on tap. For more information, and to check out the unique Cidercade, visit www.bishopcider.com.

Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX
Bay Landing • Bridgeport, TX

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Bay Landing in Bridgeport, about 80 miles away)

Cider Bite (Portland, Oregon): Another cidery that grew from the idea that there was just no place to get good cider, the Cider Bite bills itself as a Cider House and focuses not only on making exceptional cider, but also on the history and production of cider. In fact, founder Jeff Hanneson’s great-grandfather was a cider-maker. Offering 32 ciders on tap, cider flights, and nibbles, the Cider Bite is the place to get your cider cravings satisfied. Visit www.ciderbite.com for more information.

Mt Hood • Welches, OR
Mt Hood • Welches, OR

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Mt. Hood in Welches, about 36 miles away)

Santa Barbara Cider Company (Santa Barbara, California): Come visit and see what’s on tap for the day as they offer 12 rotating taps of their delicious cider varieties which may include a coffee-based cider, a tea-infused cider, or one of several fruit ciders. All ciders are gluten-free and the cider makers say the majority of the ingredients they use can be found in your own kitchen cabinets, like cinnamon and brown sugar. They do have a tasting room and food trucks and other food providers are on hand during the weekends for nourishment while enjoying the cider offerings. For more information, visit www.sbcider.com.

Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA
Rancho Oso • Santa Barbara, CA

 (Nearest Petite Retreat option is Rancho Oso, about 30 miles away)

Island Orchard Cider (Ellison Bay, Wisconsin): Visit the Tasting Room and Cider Pub in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin, where you can see the cider making process as well as enjoy the flavors of Island Orchard. Visit www.islandorchardcider.com for more information.

(Nearest Petite Retreat option is Tranquil Timbers in Sturgeon Bay, about 36 miles away)