Hi, friends! Back in March, my husband took me on a romantic getaway to Timberline Lodge for my birthday. This historic lodge is nestled among the evergreens on Mount Hood, about 1.5 hours east of Portland, Oregon. We’ve never stayed overnight together in the lodge, nor have we been to Mount Hood together in the winter. My Dad took me on an overnight winter trip to the lodge several years ago, and it’s one of my fondest memories with him. So I’m glad that I got to share this experience with my husband as well! We spent a weekend at Timberline Lodge skiing, soaking in the hot tub, playing in the snow and enjoying the majestic views. Let me share some tips with you if you’re planning your own trip here someday! 🌲🗻
The Setting of Mount Hood
During the last half hour of your drive on Highway 26 to Timberline Lodge, you’ll be fully immersed in the teeming beauty of Mt Hood National Forest. If you go in the winter, the trees are all covered in at least a few inches (if not a full foot) of snow on their branches. It looks like you’re driving through Whoville from The Grinch! And if you’re driving up to the lodge during the summer, the scenery is no less magical. The forest hums with the energy of all the wildlife that call this forest home.
If you are driving up to Timberline Lodge when there’s snow, usually between December and April, I recommend driving a reliable four-wheel-drive vehicle. Overnight the parking lot and our car got covered in a thick layer of ice. Cars were drifting and sliding, and I was grateful that we rented a four-wheel-drive SUV for safety.
Timberline Lodge sits at 6,000 feet elevation, so dress accordingly! In the winter, it stays well below freezing. I recommend packing lots of layers along with gloves, hats, scarves, thick (ideally wool) socks and warm water-proof shoes like snow boots. If you go in the summer, you’ll likely find yourself comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt during the day, but the temperature can still drop at night. So if you’re spending a weekend at Timberline Lodge, pack a few extra layers, regardless of the season.
Inside Timberline Lodge
We learned a lot about the history of this national historic landmark by spending a weekend at Timberline Lodge. It was built in 1937 and locals have been trying to maintain and preserve its original beauty for decades. There are three main themes throughout the building that you’ll notice – Native American design, pioneer-style design, and flora and wildlife that are native to Mount Hood. The lodge is filled with beautiful pieces of textiles, metalwork, paintings and woodwork all crafted by hand that invoke these themes. You may even see a real life animal in the lodge – the resident Saint Bernard dogs!
Craftsmanship in the Lodge
The detailed craftsmanship throughout the lodge in the textiles, wood and steel is inspiring. During the Great Depression, President Roosevelt created programs that funded projects like the construction of Timberline Lodge to create jobs for people. You can read all about the lodge’s rich history here. Or take a drive up to the lodge and read all about it in person! The lodge is like a living museum. Walking up its creaky yet sturdy wood-plank stairs brings history to life. You can almost hear the clank of the metalworkers forging the metal fireplace pieces from refurbished railroad tracks. It’s a sight truly to behold and a masterpiece of preserved history and handcrafted artwork.
Take some time during your visit to explore and read all about the lodge’s history and active sustainability efforts in the museum section, off the main lobby.
Inside the Lodge’s Rooms
Timberline lodge is home to 70 guest rooms, of a variety of types. There are small rooms with bunk beds and a sink that share bathroom facilities with other rooms down the hall. Then there are rooms with private (albeit small) bathrooms attached to them. There are suites with huge rooms and a personal fireplace. And finally, there are rooms that can accommodate a huge family or party that can sleep up to 15 people! So whoever you’re traveling to the lodge with, there’s a room that probably fits your needs.
Why Stay Overnight in the Lodge
The rooms themselves seamlessly continue the incredible woodwork, metalwork and textiles. It’s like stepping back in time one hundred years. The memories made within these walls are almost palpable. And one of the best parts about spending a weekend at Timberline Lodge is at night, when all the day guests leave. You snag the perfect spot in front of one of the many grand fireplaces and read yourself to sleep. All the hustle and bustle of the day quiets as the stillness of night is interrupted only by the crackle of the cozy fire.
You don’t have to stay overnight in the lodge to book an early-morning ski lesson. But it sure does help to take a leisurely time in the morning to wake up and fuel yourself with a hot breakfast before hitting the slopes! There are other hotels nearby off the mountain where you can get an early start on your skiing for a cheaper price on accommodations.
Dining at Timberline Lodge
Ah finally, let’s get to the good stuff – the food! For breakfast to fuel ourselves for our ski lesson, we dined at the Cascade Dining Room. They have an exquisite breakfast buffet, and you don’t need to be an overnight guest to dine here. Other dining options include the Ram’s Head Bar and Restaurant, which opens at 2pm daily. If you’re looking for a quick and cheaper dining option, the Wy’East Cafe is a great choice, located closer to the ski rental building.
There you have it! We thoroughly enjoyed our getaway weekend at Timberline Lodge and I can’t wait to explore more national landmarks around the country! Does your state or country house any inspiring historic landmarks like this lodge? Are you planning a trip to Timberline Lodge? Let me know!!
If you can’t make it to the lodge any time soon, you can still plan a mini romantic getaway at home, with breakfast in bed! 😝