1 Best Sight in Around the Mountain, Mt. Hood

Mount Hood National Forest

Fodor's choice

The highest spot in Oregon and the fourth-highest peak in the Cascades, "the Mountain" is a focal point of the 1.1-million-acre forest and all-season playground. Beginning 20 miles southeast of Portland, it extends south from the Columbia River Gorge for more than 60 miles and includes more than 315,000 acres of designated wilderness. These woods are perfect for hikers, horseback riders, mountain climbers, and cyclists. Within the forest are dozens of campgrounds as well as lakes stocked with brown, rainbow, cutthroat, brook, and steelhead trout. The Sandy, Salmon, Clackamas, and other rivers are known for their fishing, rafting, canoeing, and swimming. Both forest and mountain are crossed by an extensive trail system for hikers, cyclists, and horseback riders. The Pacific Crest Trail, which begins in British Columbia and ends in Mexico, crosses at the 4,155-foot-high Barlow Pass. As with most other mountain destinations within Oregon, weather can be temperamental, and snow and ice may affect driving conditions as early as September and as late as June. Bring tire chains and warm clothes as a precaution.

Since this forest is close to Portland, campgrounds and trails can get crowded in summer and on weekends. If you're planning to camp, get info and permits from the Mount Hood National Forest Headquarters. Campgrounds are managed by the U.S. Forest Service and a few private concessionaires, and standouts include a string of neighboring campgrounds on the south side of Mt. Hood: Trillium Lake, Still Creek, Timothy Lake, Little Crater Lake, Clackamas Lake, Summit Lake, Clear Lake, and Frog Lake. The mountain overflows with day-use areas. From mid-November through April, all designated Winter Recreation Areas require a Sno-Park permit ($4 daily, $9 for three days), available from the U.S. Forest Service and many local resorts and sporting goods stores.

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