Choosing between the myriad of amazing seasonal activities can be daunting, so we’ve put together a brief list of some popular options. This list isn’t close to comprehensive, so please share your favorites in the comment section. Don’t forget to provision yourself with cans of our winter favorites Foggy Goggles Hazy IPA and Uncle Stepdad’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, or the new Imperial Maple Porter!
1. Hit the Slopes at Mt. Hood Meadows
Skiing and snowboarding are the winter activities that most folks associate with the Columbia Gorge, and Mt. Hood Meadows offers world-class opportunities for both. With more than 2,150 acres, and a maximum lift heigh of 7,800 feet, Meadows has terrain suitable for novices, intermediates, and experts alike. After a day on the mountain, refuel at one of the many bars and restaurants located on site.
Learn more at https://www.skihood.com/.
Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood Meadows - www.skihood.com
2. Grab a Drink at the Historic Timberline Lodge
Located high on Mt. Hood, the iconic Timberline Lodge was built in 1937 and was immortalized as the exterior setting for the Grand Overlook Hotel in the Stanley Kubrick film “The Shining”. No winter is complete without enjoying a classic Hot Buttered Rum at the Ram’s Head balcony, soaking in the warm from the enormous stone chimney. Plenty of rooms are available for those wishing to extend their session into the night!
Learn more at https://www.timberlinelodge.com/.
Photos Courtesy of Timberline Lodge – www.timberlinelodge.com
Photo courtesy of KAYAK – www.kayak.com
3. Explore the Back Country in Mt. Adams SnowKing Park
There are seemingly endless trails for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling, especially if you ask the right locals. However, there are a few easily accessible spots that never fail to disappoint! Located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest near Mt. Adams, SnowKing Park offers access to more than 20 miles of maintained non-motorized trails (Big Tree Loop offers incredible scenery), as well as a wilderness of backcountry terrain for both motorized and non-motorized use. A Washington State Sno-Park permit is required for the winter months. There is a flat parking area, but the setting is remote and can be difficult to access depending on the weather.
Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service – www.fs.usda.gov
Photo courtesy of The Columbian – www.columbian.com
4. Redefine Snowtubing at Mt. Hood SkiBowl
Mt. Hood Skibowl is internationally known for quality skiing and snowboarding, but those activities require investing time and money into practice and equipment. Snow Tubing is an incredibly fun option that takes no training, and the only tool needed is an inner tube (provided). You can zip downhill in the daytime in a single, double, or party tube, but the real action takes place at night, when they throw the switch on the world’s only Cosmic Tubing setup, featuring over 600,00 LED lights, laser light shows, black lights, music, and more!
Learn more at https://www.skibowl.com/winter-activities/tubing.html.
Photo courtesy of Mt. Hood SkiBowl – www.skibowl.com
5. Hike Up to Frozen Tamanawas Falls
With the right gear, winter hiking can be tremendously rewarding, offering quieter trails with stunning scenery. A popular choice is Tamanawas Falls, near the eastern base of Mt. Hood, along Cold Spring Creek. Accessible year-round, this trail takes on a special beauty in winter, when the Falls spray may freeze, forming a massive ice grotto. Approximately 3.5 miles round-trip, the Tamanawas Falls trail may require snowshoes, depending on conditions. Other wonderful winter hikes can be found in the classic book “Curious Gorge: An Exploring, Adventuring, and Hiking Guide”.
Photo courtesy of Outdoor Project – www.outdoorproject.com
6. Enjoy a Staycation at Ruby June Inn
Sometimes, the best way to enjoy winter is from inside, enjoying warmth, companionship, and delicious seasonal beverages at one of the many unique options in the Gorge.
Known for an outstanding wine list, the Ruby June Inn and Icehouse Lounge is located on a bend in the White Salmon River that is extremely popular with rafters and kayakers in the warmer months. An easy drive from at Mt. Adams, or fantastic drinking and dining options in White Salmon, the Ruby June makes a cozy home base for winter exploration.
Learn more at https://www.rubyjuneinn.com/.
Photo courtesy of Ruby June Inn – www.rubyjuneinn.com
7. Take a Dip at The Society Hotel
Society Hotel – A newcomer to the Gorge, the Society Hotel opened in Bingen in May 2019. In addition to offering standard rooms, hostel bunks, and cabins, the Society has a café, a lounge, a gymnasium, and a spa, all located an easy drive from amenities in Bingen, White Salmon, and Hood River, as well as activities at Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. A new favorite winter activity open to the public is warming up in the outdoor hot pool or cedar sauna, and then plunging in the cold pool!
Learn more at https://thesocietyhotel.com/bingen/.
Photo courtesy of The Society Hotel – www.thesocietyhotel.com