Exploring Nature on Oregon's Mt. Hood

Posted October 6, 2009 by Jamie Moore

Or-mthood-fall-def Mother Nature's seasonal patterns steal the show on Mt. Hood every fall, luring visitors to the great outdoors. Mushrooms poke through moss-covered soil, salmon return to streams, and colorful leaves paint forest trails. Explore it all, then warm up fireside at a local microbrewery or at a cozy mountainside resort.

Play
Mushroom picking: Fall is mushroom season in the Pacific Northwest, and the picking is good nearly anywhere you go in Mt. Hood National Forest. From now through early November until the snows come, look for matsutake, king boletes, chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, chicken of the woods, oyster mushrooms, and other prized edibles. Check a field guide to avoid deadly poisonous varieties, and heed picking etiquette: Get a permit if you're taking more than a gallon per vehicle. Replace divots. Don't pick an area clean. And leave no trace.

Drink
Ice Axe Grill: This pub, home of Mt. Hood Brewing Company, has seen its share of skiers, fishermen, and hikers warm up by the fire and belly up to the bar. In the stone and timber Mt. Hood lodge, knotty pine walls are covered in outdoorsy paraphernalia, some reminiscent of the days when the south slope lodge housed ski rentals. The ale is as fresh as it gets, served only on tap and only in Oregon. Eight varieties are handcrafted with pure Mt. Hood glacial water and Pacific Northwest barley and hops. Sip down pale, amber, blonde, or even "nitro" varieties.

Stay
The Resort at The Mountain: Set among tall evergreens in the western highlands of Mt. Hood, this resort is an idyllic place for reconnecting with nature. The resort borders the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness and the nationally designated "wild & scenic" Salmon River. In the fall, you can actually watch salmon spawn in the Weeburn Creek, which runs through the resort's golf course. Their recently renovated rooms start at $120 per night with online advance booking and include many on-site activities.

To search for flights and compare prices to Portland, which is home to Mt. Hood's nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool. (Photo: William Blacke/iStockPhoto)

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