Oregon’s Iconic Timberline Lodge

Last weekend we ventured out to the iconic Timberline Lodge on Oregon’s Mt. Hood. Built in 1937 by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps, the lodge sits at an elevation of 6,000 feet and is 5,239 feet below the tallest point in the state.


Arriving just before the buzz of the ski season, we enjoyed an intimate afternoon and evening while a blanket of snow quietly fell on our car. As you can see, the snow cave is up around the main entrance and ready for the average 21-feet of snow.


That said, with fewer than 80 total rooms, advance reservations are strongly recommended if you want to spend the night. Our family of five enjoyed connecting queen rooms; some rooms have fireplaces and sitting areas (chalet rooms feature bunk beds and shared restrooms and are ideal for large groups).


Deciding to come up at the last minute, we were able to bring our dog. Note that there is a $50 pet fee; this is about the same as what our local kennel charges for a weekend stay. A dog bed and food bowl is provided by the lodge. A highlight for the kids was the heated outdoor pool (truly, everyone really enjoyed the much hotter outdoor spa and nearby indoor sauna).


During the day, the common spaces were a bit more crowded. Day hikers warmed their bodies by the fireplace in the lower lobby and kids played ping pong to the backdrop of college football on the big screen in the Barlow room.


Examples of skilled hand craftsmanship and great depression ingenuity are everywhere. In this photo, snow tire chains have been repurposed and hung as a fire barrier. Old railroad ties have been spiraled and now ornately decorate the hearth.


This ping-pong table is solid wood and the tables and chairs in the common areas and dining rooms are nearly eighty years old. Beyond swimming and recreating, I enjoyed a walk through the small museum area and noticed that not much has changed between then-and-now in these historic photos.


A full cabinet of games are available at the front desk. We borrowed Uno, Apples to Apples, and Trouble and set up shop in the second-floor mezzanine. Throughout the day and evening, families gathered together to play, read, knit, and enjoy a cocktail or a mug of snow-cap dream world famous hot chocolate ($5.25, but worth every penny).


Timberline Lodge has three different dining options, we enjoyed the lunch buffet at the Cascade Dining Room and light snacks from the Ram’s Head Bar (still being full from lunch hours later). Our room did not have a refrigerator or microwave, but the front desk gladly popped our bags of microwave popcorn.


Offering the longest ski season in North America (typically mid-November through Memorial Day), consult the Ski Area Page for details on runs, conditions, lessons, and other amenities. (Photo credit: Darcy Bacha)

While the weather was snowy and overcast during our visit, this photo illustrates the raw beauty of the mountain and gives you an appreciation of the lodge’s sense of place. On a clear day, the panoramic views are like nothing else. Whether you visit for the day or decide to make a reservation, check the Timberline Lodge website for current deals and specials. (Photo credit: Timberline Lodge)


Special thanks to Timberline Lodge for providing us with lodging and pet accommodations for purposes of writing this story. All opinions and recommendations are my own.   

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.