Not too far from where we live lies a historic hotel constructed during the harsh years of the Great Depression. Built in 1937, it has been featured in multiple movies and is visited by millions of tourists each year. Surrounded by majestic mountain scenery, Timberline Lodge is a historic icon. Some people wonder if this magnificent building is still open. Yes, it is, and it has many things to offer no matter which season you plan your visit. Read on to learn more about the restaurants, weather, reservations, activities, and more.
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More Than Just Wintertime Fun
Many people think of Timberline Lodge as just a winter destination.
Some remember the exterior from the creepy Jack Nicholson movie, The Shining. It’s true, there may be more activity in the winter. However, the hotel and surrounding area provide a variety of interesting activities during the off-season as well. Timberline ski area hosts skiers nearly year-round on the Palmer Snowfield, so I’d like to highlight some of the non-winter action first.
A Visit in the Off-Season Means Parking is Available
This past summer, our family (the ones who were in town, anyway) journeyed up Mt. Hood via Highway 26 through Welches on up through Government Camp.
We turned off the highway to go up the winding road to Timberline Lodge. One advantage of visiting during the off-season is the reduced number of cars in the Timberline Lodge parking area. We trekked through the Wy’East Day Lodge with its eateries, viewing deck, and ski rental shop.
Once on the other side of the Day Lodge, we crossed another parking lot to reach historic Timberline Lodge itself.
Fewer Visitors in the Lodge, More Room to Relax
Upon entering the Lodge, historic displays are on view. Information about the history of the Lodge through the years is readily available. A delightful gift shop offers many locally-made souvenirs and mementos. The variety of huckleberry goodies drew me in, their delicious, sweet scent wafting through the air. Nearby is the Barlow Room, with a selection of games and books available for checkout to guests. The magnificent stone and wood decor is featured throughout the lodge’s interior.
Fabulous Food in the Lodge’s Restaurants
Two of the three restaurants in Timberline Lodge are open year-round. Visitors and lodge guests may choose to eat in the Cascade Dining Room, which is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Alternatively, visitors may choose to dine with a view at the Ram’s Head Bar and Restaurant. Located on the second-floor balcony of the Lodge, casual fare is featured.
Fun in the Summer Sun
According to the Timberline Lodge website, summer skiing can extend clear until Labor Day. The nice thing is, you don’t have to be a skier to ride the Magic Mile chairlift in the summer. Visitors to the Timberline Lodge ski area can purchase lift tickets for a ride up to the 7,000 foot level of Mt. Hood. The views are spectacular. I would have posted a picture, but I was afraid to get my phone out while on the lift. I thought I might drop it, the view was so amazing! You’ll just have to trust me. For more information about pricing for summer lift tickets, see the Summer Activities page.
Feeling Extra Adventurous? Book a Stay at the Silcox Hut
While you are up at the 7,000 foot level, after getting off the lift, take a short hike over to Silcox Hut. If you are looking for bed and breakfast lodging for a group of 12-24 people in a cozy setting, this is a terrific option. We took a jaunt over to the hut when we rode the Magic Mile lift, but were only able to peek in the windows. The hut is most popular in the winter, but it may be reserved any time of the year. For rates and reservation information, check out the Silcox Hut information page.
Other Off-Season Activities
Hiking trails abound in the area surrounding Timberline Lodge. When we were on the chair lift, we watched a runner zoom down the hill towards the lodge, passing many who were hiking up to the Palmer Snowfield to see the sights. We were short on time, so didn’t do much hiking, but we observed others enjoying the scenic trails. The wildflowers in bloom contributed to the summer beauty of the mountain. As we walked back towards the main lodge, we noticed a popular amenity for lodge guests, the swimming pool.
A Winter Wonderland
If you visit Timberline Lodge in the winter, you will see an entirely different scene. Travel up through the foothills of Mt. Hood to the picturesque village of Government Camp. There you might see a horse-drawn sleigh and skiers zipping down the slopes at the Summit Ski Area.
If you are just going to Timberline for the day, be prepared for crowded parking lots. If the lot up at Timberline Lodge is full, you might end up taking the free shuttle up the road to the Lodge.
How Do I Know What the Weather will be Like at the Lodge?
Timberline Lodge has an excellent weather conditions page on its website. On it, you will find information about road conditions as well as recent snowfall. The pictures on the four webcams are updated frequently so you can have fresh information all day, year-round.
Skiing for All Abilities
You might think the skiing at Timberline is only for experts, but that’s not true. Just outside of the Wy’East Day Lodge is the Bruno chairlift. Once, when our boys were small and just learning, we spent a whole evening going up and down this easy lift. For more information about lift ticket hours and prices, visit the Timberline Lift Tickets page.
Lodging at Timberline Lodge
The rooms at Timberline Lodge are furnished with rustic decor in mind. Beautiful log furniture and cozy blankets fit with the Lodge’s theme. How much does it cost to stay at Timberline Lodge? For details about rooms and rates, please visit the Hotel Deals and Packages page.
Blue Ox Bar Open Seasonally
If you’re visiting during the winter and you feel like having some pizza, check out the Blue Ox Bar. Located behind the main lobby, its cozy atmosphere will welcome you in. Since it’s not far from the Barlow Recreation Room, the kids can play while the adults can enjoy relaxing.
Warm Up With the Best Hot Chocolate Ever
On our most recent winter visit to Timberline Lodge, we sampled something truly delicious. As we sat enjoying the view from the Ram’s Head Restaurant on the second floor, we sipped the most amazing hot chocolate. It was rich, beautiful to look at, and deliciously hot. I highly recommend it!
Do You Have a Favorite Iconic Destination?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this virtual visit to Oregon’s Timberline Lodge. Do you have a favorite iconic destination near you? If you like what you’ve read today, you might also like reading about scenic Glacier National Park or my visit to the historic and beautiful Wallowa Valley.
Here are Some Other West Coast Travel Posts You Might Like:
- Fun Beach Towns: Scenic Newport on the Oregon Coast
- Redlands: An Amazing Southern California Destination
- 10 Reasons to Visit the Northern Oregon Coast
- The Oregon Garden Resort: A Relaxing Destination
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Wherever your journeys take you, I hope you make wonderful memories. Thanks for visiting the Fluxing Well site. Happy travels!