Mt. Hood Territory offers some of the best Oregon has to offer in amazing landscapes, sprinkled with epic mountain views and trees bursting with radiant colors. Here's some inspiration to travel one of many routes to view the fall colors on Mt. Hood. Drive U.S. Highway 26 to the 6,000 foot elevation of Mt. Hood where historic Timberline Lodge awaits. The colors of huckleberries and vine maples put on a tremendous display around many of the mountain lakes along this path.
The Road to Timberline Lodge
Begin your day with an amazing sunrise view over Mt. Hood at Jonsrud Viewpoint in Sandy. Trace the Barlow Trail route over the mountain and look down on the Sandy River below. Fuel up before your drive with a hearty breakfast at Tollgate Inn with a made-from-scratch dish or stop off at Joe's Donuts for some one-of-a-kind donuts.
Visit Wildwood Recreation Site for your choice of outdoor activities. This day-use area features accessible interpretive trails and boardwalks that wander through forest and wetland ecosystems. In the fall the salmon return to the Salmon River to spawn and the Cascade Streamwatch Trail leads to a fish viewing window below the stream level, so visitors can get an up close and personal view of life under the water.
Swing in for lunch at Wraptitude in Welches for a gourmet wrap with Aloha spirit. Or stop at Koya Kitchen for traditional Japanese and Indian food. Both restaurants offer great ambiance and outdoor seating for those beautiful fall days on the mountain.
Make sure to visit the West Barlow Tollgate, between mileposts 50 and 51, on Highway 26. This is a replica of the last Oregon Trail tollgate on Laurel Hill, and in the fall the trees around this spot really pop with colors. Take a short hike to Laurel Chute, noted as one of the most treacherous portions of the journey for Oregon Trail pioneers, because they had to use ropes and makeshift pulley systems to lower their wagons down a 60 percent vertical slope.
Prepare to be in awe as you head up the hill to Timberline Lodge, both with the views and the history. From the lodge you’ll be able to take in the colors throughout the entire Mt. Hood National Forest, as you can see for miles in each direction. Go on a historic self-guided tour of the lodge and find out how this historic landmark was built as a lodge and ski area for everyone in 1937 and still is used today for its original purpose.
Here are other ideas of where to see color in Mt. Hood Territory.