Mount Hood National Forest: Top Spots for Winter Sports

Oregon’s Mount Hood National Forest boasts some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the Pacific Northwest, most notably the 11,249-foot-high partially active stratovolcano that lends the park its name. With over 1 million acres of untouched wilderness, forested peaks, lakes, streams, and scenic areas, it is one of the most-visited National Forests in the United States. A reported four million people visit Mount Hood annually.
With so much natural splendor in store, it’s no surprise that the park is a favorite among winter sports enthusiasts. Sporty types enjoy skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, mushing, and winter hiking during the cold-weather months. The National Park spans more than 60 miles, so there’s plenty of opportunity for winter recreation throughout its grounds. Here are the best places to enjoy winter sports in Mount Hood National Forest this year.
  • Mount Hood Meadows — For spectacular views and challenging peaks, skiers and snowboarders flock to Mount Hood Meadows. The ski resort operates on a special-use permit granted by the National Forest, which means unprecedented views for miles! This winter recreation area offers an average 430 inches of snow per year, making it a popular pick for downhill adventurers. It contains 2,150 skiable acres, 11 lifts, 85 runs, and a nearly 3,000-foot vertical rise. Did we mention that the views from Mount Hood Meadows are pretty spectacular, too?
  • Timberline Lodge — Another favorite among board sport enthusiasts enjoy is Timberline Lodge, located near the top of Mount Hood. It has over 1,400 ski-worthy acres and a vertical drop of nearly 4,000 feet from the top of Palmer Express to the bottom of Still Creek Basin. Both Timberline and Mount Hood are popular destinations for advanced and beginner skiers alike. Timberline Lodge carries the designation of a National Historic Landmark and is one of the forest’s most popular tourist destinations.
  • Mt. Hood Skibowl — Love to ski and snowboard at night? You’ve got to visit the Mt. Hood Skibowl! This is the largest night ski area in the United States and the skiing and snowboarding destination closest to the city of Portland. It offers 34 fully lit night runs spread across nearly 1,000 acres, with peaks for beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers. It’s a fun place to visit during the day, too.
  • Teacup Ski Trails — The Teacup Lake Nordic Club (which operates under a special-use permit through the National Forest) maintains over 12 miles of groomed trails specifically for cross-country skiers. The trails vary in terms of terrain, with flat, wide, challenging, and curvy passes for every level. What’s so great about Teacup, though, is its facilities. The area offers sheltered restrooms, a day-use cabin for warming up, and plenty of parking right off the highway. Dogs or snowshoes are not allowed at Teacup, so plan to leave your furry friend at home before you hit the trail.
  • White River — If you want to snowshoe, there’s plenty of opportunity for here. The White River West Sno-Park offers sweeping views of Mount Hood and the White River Tributary, with trails that are well-maintained and safe for snowshoers of any ability. The trails in this area are also a popular choice for cross-country skiers and winter hikers.
  • Little John Sno Park — If you’re thinking about taking the kids for a little bit of sledding or tubing action in Mount Hood, check out Little John Sno Park, located 30 miles south of the Hood River on Oregon Highway 35. This popular sled hill offers ample downhill fun, plus a warming shelter and bathrooms. Cooper Spur Ski Area is another popular option for tubing.
  • Billy Bob Sno Park — This area of the park offers ample open space for shared-use winter activities, and it is one of the designated park areas for mushing and snowmobiling. In fact, the snowmobile trails are regularly groomed by the Columbia Gorge Power Sledders Snowmobile Club, making them an awesome pick for high-powered winter sports fans. Frog Lake Trailhead, Skyline Road Sno Park, and Bennet Pass Trailhead are also popular locations for motorized sports.
  • Bennet Pass — The Bennet Pass Trailhead and Sno Park is one of the park’s higher-elevation recreational areas, making it a popular location for snowmobiling, mushing, and cross-country skiing. However, due to the high elevation, snowmobiling is off-limits during high-snowfall winters. The area is also home to various popular trails that make for excellent winter day hikes within the forest.
Mount Hood National Forest offers fun activities for the whole family. Whether you enjoy sports like snowboarding and skiing or prefer a fun romp in the snow with tubing, you’ll never run out of ways to have a great time in this winter wonderland.