Skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and inner tubing on Mt. Hood are cherished winter traditions for so many Northwesterners. The beautiful scenery, perfect powder, and proximity to the Portland Metro area make the mountain nearly irresistible to adventure-seekers. But then there’s the traffic. Crawling slowly up Highway 26, inching along with all the other 4-wheel drive vehicles, seems to take forever. And, unless you’re one of the lucky ones who scored a hotel reservation last May, you have to do it all over again after you finish your runs because there are so few (affordable) places to stay the night.
Here’s a pro-tip: you can have your mountain winter getaway weekend and avoid the worst traffic! Maupin is a quaint little town located just on the other side of Mt. Hood, just a 2-hour drive from Portland. In the summer, Maupin is a popular destination for rafters and standup paddle boarders, but in the winter it’s an active-traveler’s paradise and a perfect home base for a weekend of snowy adventures.
Snow-tastic Itinerary Suggestion
Leave work a bit early and drive out to Maupin, taking I84 East to Highway 197. Arrive at the Imperial River Company in time for a delicious dinner at the on-site Imperial Bar & Grill and check in to your cozy lodge room.
Grab coffee and breakfast at the lodge, which features a free deluxe continental breakfast for guests. Gather your snow gear and venture up the mountain via Highway 216. Play all day at your favorite spots:
Avoid the slow crawl back to Portland by taking Highway 197 East back to Maupin. Grab a hot toddy at the Imperial Bar and Grill and spend the night cozied in your lodge room. Bring a card game or that book you’ve been wanting to finish, or your laptop to stream a movie.
Grab coffee or tea at the lodge and venture up to Tygh Valley for breakfast at the popular Molly B.’s Diner. From there, it’s a short 7 minute drive to White River Falls State Park. In addition to waterfall gazing, the Maupin Area is a great spot for bird watching and ghost town exploring. On your way back to Portland via I84 West, stop in Hood River for wine tasting, shopping, and lunch at one of the local brew pubs.
Maupin is an adventurers’ paradise, year-round! Come see for yourself how convenient and fun a winter weekend in Central Oregon can be.