When the snow starts to fall on Mt. Hood, snow enthusiasts eagerly await news of opening day at Skibowl, America’s Largest Night Ski area and the closest ski resort to Portland. Skibowl provides snow riders with 960 skiable acres in the Mt. Hood National Forest, featuring 34 fully lit runs, 65 runs total and a vertical drop of 1,500. With the most Black Diamond runs of any resort in state and two fully lit terrain parks, Skibowl draws accomplished snow riders as well as beginners and intermediate riders out for a great time. The Snow Tube and Adventure Park at Skibowl East is fun for all ages. Skibowl now offers the only conveyor lift tube tow on Mt. Hood. The fun begins as you ride in our specially designed tube to the top of the main hill. It’s a heart pounding ride to the bottom. The Tubing Hill is open weekends and holiday periods during the winter from 10am to 6pm, (Spring hours after 4/8/12 are Saturday 10am-6pm and Sunday 10am-4pm through the end of April) and be sure to check out our NEW Cosmic Tubing. For the more adventurous, try steeper runs on the Extreme Tube Hill (Open based on conditions). The Winter Adventure Park also includes the Indoor Super Play Zone, Kids Tubing Carousel, Frosty’s Playland and more! We’ve got fun winter activities for all ages, even kids under 3. Winter fun starts at Skibowl, less than one-hour east of Portland. Collins Lake Lodging nearby.
Mt. Hood’s lower slopes (about 3500-6000 ft elev) are known for these tiny, sweet-tart blue berries. Contact the Zigzag Ranger Station of the Mt Hood National Forest for current information and maps on the best places to find huckleberry bushes. For a sure bet at tasting this special mountain berry, fresh from the bush or made into in milkshakes, pancakes, preserves and other delicious treats, come up to the Mt. Hood Huckleberry Festival at Mt. Hood Village, August 22 thru 24 (see our Festivals listing for more info).
The Wonders of Water
Nature walks are inexpensive ways to get out and see different, beautiful views. You can gather the kids on the spur of the moment, and before you know it you can be on the 7-mile, gentle forest path to Ramona Falls, considered one of the loveliest waterfalls in the area. Little Zigzag Falls is another easy hike, and the kids will appreciate its dramatic appearance.
For a different look at wild waters, take the one-mile Cascade Streamwatch Trail at Wildwood Park. In ten display sections, everyone learns about the world beneath the Salmon River’s surface. The Underwater Viewing Window shows young salmon and trout swimming and feeding, and you might see crayfish and other creatures living among the stream bottom’s rocks.
What about getting on the water? Take the kids boating at Lost Lake Resort and Campground, located within Mt. Hood National Forest. Rowboats, canoes and paddleboats are available for rental, which includes lifejackets. You’re welcome to bring your own boat, but be aware that motorized boats are not permitted. Lost Lake also has campsites, hiking trails, and fishing areas.
Play the Day Away
If they’d rather try golfing, the whole family can have a fun round or two at The Resort Courses. Minimal sporting skills and minimal time are required! Come play the lighted 18-hole putting course (The Greens), located near the Croquet & Lawn Bowling areas and next to the bon fire pit and volleyball area. Ideally suited for solo or family fun or even a friendly competition, The Greens features natural turf (the same variety as The Courses) with fescue grasses planted between the 18 distinctive holes.
Want to keep your young action heroes busy while the grownups socialize? The Shack Restaurant & Sports Bar has a kids’ game room.
At Mt. Hood Adventure Park, you can join in the activities while junior adventurers can try everything from the 100’ bungee tower and the scenic sky chair to the ½ mile alpine glide and Indy karts. Or how about spending the day riding bikes on over 40 miles of singletrack trails in the mountain bike park. You can even ride the chair lift up with your bike for a thrilling downhill ride. For the very wee ones, there are kiddy karts and a staff-supervised canoe pond. Mt Hood Adventure has a variety of winter activities – you can enjoy Christmas sleigh rides, cosmic snow tubing and more!
Mt Hood Adventure Park at Mt. Hood SkiBowl
Government Camp, Oregon
Cascade Streamwatch at Wildwood Recreation Area
600-acre day use facility nestled in the forested foothills of the Cascade Mountains, along the spectacular wild and scenic Salmon River. Three picnic areas with shelters, Pioneer and Mountain View each have a 200-person capacity with fireplaces, barbecues, hot plate units, tables and sinks. The Salmon River Shelter is available for 50 people or less.
Open May thru September
65670 E Hwy 26
503-622-3696 or 503-375-5646
Zigzag Ranger District of the Mt Hood National Forest
70220 E Hwy 26
Monday thru Friday 9am to 5pm;
Sat & Sun 9am to 9pm (depending on events).