Mt. Hood Scenic Byway
- DesignationNational Scenic Byway (2005)
- Intrinsic QualitiesHistoric
- Length105 miles
On this byway volcanoes once erupted and mammoth floods scoured deep gorges. Discover geologic wonders, waterfalls, temperate rain forests and wild rivers. Explore pastoral valleys with farm-fresh produce. Experience the formidable last leg of the Oregon Trail, the Barlow Road. Enjoy this bountiful wonderland that the pioneers called "paradise."
Story of the Byway
There are few more iconic symbols of Oregon than Mt. Hood, the state’s highest point at 11,245 feet and the fourth highest peak in the entire Cascade Mountain Range. Known as Wy’east to the native Multnomah people, it is a dormant stratovolcano that last erupted in the 1780s; just a decade later, British navy explorers spotted it from the Columbia River and named it after a British admiral. Twelve glaciers surround Hood’s pyramidal summit, a peak of incomparable alpine beauty that graces the horizon from Portland to beyond The Dalles.
The byway route starts at the west end of the Historic Columbia River Highway/All-American Road where the Troutdale Bridge crosses the Sandy River and Glenn Otto Park Road. Accessible from Interstate-84 at exit 18, the Byway goes through downtown Troutdale via Glenn Otto Park Road/Historic Columbia River Hwy. The route continues (through Wood Village) with a left on Halsey Street followed by a left on 238th Street. The name changes to 242nd street before the route turns left onto Burnside Street in Gresham. Heading east on Burnside, the route follows Palmquist Road to the left followed by a quick right turn onto Orient Drive. The byway veers left onto Dodge Park Boulevard before turning right on Lusted Road and then left on Ten Eyck Road. The route then heads west with a right turn onto Highway 26 in Sandy. A right onto Bluff Road will take visitors to Jonsrud Viewpoint before returning to Highway 26 heading east (left) toward Mt. Hood. Take a short 6-mile side trip on Highway 211 from Sandy to visit Philip Foster Farm in Eagle Creek and return to Sandy. Along Highway 26 the route goes through the Villages of Mt. Hood (Brightwood, Welches, Wemme, Zig Zag, and Rhododendron). Once on the mountain, the route continues with a left on the Highway 26 business loop through the village of Government Camp and the 6-mile Timberline Road up to Timberline Lodge and Ski Area. Continuing east on Highway 26 from Timberline Road, the route follows Highway 35 north toward Hood River, the byway's eastern end.
Points of Interest
Hood River enjoys an enviable location where the Hood River, flowing down from Mt. Hood’s glaciers, meets the Columbia River. Long known as a fruit-processing center for the valley’s orchards, today Hood River is equally renowned for recreation. With plenty of public access to mountains, woods and water, this lively town draws hikers, kayakers, cyclists, paddle-boarders and other outdoor enthusiasts.
Hood River County Fruit Loop
Fertile volcanic soils, glacial water and a temperate climate have made the valley one of the most prolific fruit-growing regions in the world. Pear, cherry and apple trees — and, increasingly, vineyards — checkerboard the valley, along with berry farms, alpaca ranches and hilltop fields of lavender.
Mount Hood Railroad
Chugs along an old fruit-packing freight line on scenic trips between Hood River and Parkdale.
Elevation 4,155 feet, marks the spot where the Oregon Trail crested the Cascade Mountains in the mid-1800s. A 1-mile/ 1.6-kilometer path from the nearby Barlow Pass Sno Park traces the wagon-wheel ruts.
Mt. Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl
Entertains in the summer with alpine slides, Indy race karts and many other activities.
Wildwood Recreation Site
Great place to learn about Oregon’s environment, with interpretive trails along a wetland boardwalk and the lovely Salmon River. The Cascade Streamwatch window built into the bank gives a glimpse at the underwater life thriving in a tributary of this designated Wild and Scenic River.
Just north of downtown Sandy, the Jonsrud Viewpoint looks out across the expansive Sandy River Valley. Mt. Hood looms above, a view pioneers were no doubt relieved to have behind them.
Traverse through Mt. Hood National Forest
Starting from the Byway’s origin of Troutdale, you have officially begun your journey along the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway! From Troutdale, head south following the Sandy River until you hit the city of Sandy. Your journey along the Byway really begins here, as the activities and natural landscapes are plentiful. As you head through Mt. Hood National Forest, your first stop must be the Wildwood Recreation site. Located right in between the Salmon and Sandy Rivers, there is plenty of opportunity to have fun and spend a lot of time here.
When you get back on the Byway, you will soon reach the wonderful villages of Rhododendron and Government Camp. There is plenty of opportunity here to stop and take in the natural scenery, while also grabbing a bite to eat and refuel before getting back on the road. Also located here is the Mt. Hood Cultural Center and Museum, which is a must visit if you want to learn about the history and natural beauty of this area. The next portion of your journey will focus heavily on the scenery and wonderful landscapes located in this area. These spots include Barlow Pass, White River Canyon, and Sahalie Falls. All three of these are located within a short distance of each other, which make it very possible to stop by all three as you end your journey along the Byway.
From there, you can end your trip by just taking in the beautiful scenery of Mt. Hood and the National Forest. Stop by the towns of Mt. Hood and the city of Hood River to spend the night after your long journey.
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