Perched at the 6,000-foot level on Oregon’s Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge is an elegantly rustic National Historic Landmark that has welcomed guests since 1937. Considering that more than two million people visit each year, most in the winter to enjoy snow sports, summer may be the quieter time to take a look around. Stop in just for an afternoon, or stay overnight in a charming room and use the pool, sauna, and spa. Timberline is the only year-round lift-served ski area in North America, so if you’re an advanced skier or snowboarder, a chairlift will whisk you up to the Palmer Snowfield at 8,540 feet!
To learn about the history of Timberline Lodge, catch the continuous-run movie shown in a small room off the lobby. You’ll be amazed at the personal stories of the highly skilled and dedicated craftspeople that hand-built the lodge as a federal Works Progress Administration project during the Great Depression. The accomplishment is as amazing as majestic 11,239-foot Mount Hood itself! Ground was broken on June 14, 1936 and after only 15 quick months, President Franklin Roosevelt dedicated the completed lodge on September 28, 1937. If you want to know more, join a U.S Forest Service Ranger for a free 25-minute tour of the lodge (daily at 11 am, 1 pm, 2 pm and 3 pm).
Even in summer it can be chilly up at Timberline, so there’s often a fire in at least one of the lodge’s cavernous fireplaces. Grab a comfortable seat and ogle the mountain scenery through the enormous windows. If you’ve ever wanted to climb a mountain, Mount Hood is a dormant volcano and an ideal choice. Every year, more than 10,000 people attempt to reach the summit, making it the second most-climbed mountain in the world, surpassed only by Japan’s Mount Fuji. If day hikes are more your style, you’ll find a network of trails that leave from Timberline Lodge. Take your camera— the trails wind up through alpine wildflowers and offer stunning views of not only Mount Hood, but Mount Jefferson as well. About a mile above the lodge sits Silcox Hut, a rustic accommodation perfect for large family gatherings and corporate retreats.
When it’s meal or snack time, you’ve got plenty of choices at Timberline Lodge. Named one of the top ten mountaintop restaurants in the Western United States and Canada by Sunset magazine, the Cascade Dining Room serves fine dining fare with an extensive wine list. Executive Chef Jason Stoller Smith supports Oregon farmers, ranchers, vintners, and fishermen, all of which you’ll find reflected in his fresh, farm-to-table cuisine. The Ram’s Head Bar on the second floor and the Blue Ox Bar tucked behind the main lobby, offer casual food and drinks. You can also head outdoors and cross the parking lot to the Wy’East Day Lodge, a favorite hangout for skiers taking a break from the slopes. Sandwiches, soups, hotdogs, and other light meals and snacks are kid-friendly. Also check out the well-stocked gift shop while in the Wy’East Day Lodge. In addition to local artwork and unique Northwest souvenirs, you’ll find an array of outerwear, accessories, and rental equipment for hitting the slopes.
Before you leave, look around for Bruno, Timberline’s lovable Saint Bernard. If he’ll sit still long enough, this canine cutie provides a terrific photo opportunity.
General Info. 503-272-3311
Room Reservations 800-547-1406
Dining Facilities 503-272-3391
Snow Conditions 503-222-2211
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In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com