This Swath of Northern Oregon is a Winter Playground

When temperatures turn cold, the region east of Portland offers numerous outdoor recreation opportunities.

By Alexandra Haupt January 15, 2018


This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue of Seattle magazine.

Last summer’s Eagle Creek Fire left a devastated landscape along the Columbia River Gorge. As a result, many trails west of Hood River remain closed (check the U.S. Forest Service website for up-to-date information). But this region—including Hood River and nearby Mount Hood—still has much to offer the winter visitor.

Happy Trails
Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can spend the day discovering trails in the scenic Mount Hood National Forest; try the 4.8-mile loop Meadows Creek Tie Trail or the 5.4-mile in-and-out Tilly Jane Ski Trail (details and maps at the U.S. Forest Service website; search “Mount Hood Winter Sports”).

Cyclists and hikers will enjoy the car-free and scenic 9-mile route of the Mosier Twin Tunnels trail (start at the Mark O. Hatfield West Trailhead near Hood River) with views of the Columbia River. For a different type of outdoor adventure, take a 4.5-mile self-guided art walk around the town of Hood River (grab a downloadable map or pick one up at the Hood River Chamber of Commerce, Hood River, 720 E Port Marina Drive). The tour features 21 sculptures by 18 artists, including a couple by Seattle folks: Matt Babcock’s “Equestrian” and Ken Hall’s “Pendant Cohencentric.” 

Party on the Mountain
The Mount Hood Meadows ski area (Mount Hood, 14040 Oregon Route 35; 503.337.2222) is celebrating its golden anniversary all season long with special deals and discounts, and a blowout party on January 27—the day the resort opened 50 years ago. Enjoy live band performances, snow games and the chance to win a golden ticket—a 50-year season’s pass—as well as the area’s 12 lifts and 85 named runs.

Rest and Refuel
Book a cozy room at the historic 1911 Hood River Hotel (Hood River, 102 Oak St.; 541.386.1900), and in the morning, dig into an order of æbleskiver (traditional Danish pancakes) at the hotel’s Scandinavian-inspired café, Broder Øst. Or enjoy an après-ski pint while warming your fingers and toes around the fire pit at Pfriem Family Brewers (Hood River, 707 Portway Ave., Suite 101; 541.321.0490), where a dozen or so beers are on tap. 


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