Green Guy’s Perfect Day: Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory

By Jason Kessler / October 22, 2015

If there was a beauty contest for states, Oregon would always finish in the top five. Lush trees line the roads everywhere you look, striking mountaintops jut out into the sky, and rivers roar through the countryside. Portland may be known for its hipster bonafides, but the rest of Oregon speaks to the mountaineers in all of us. The Mt. Hood Territory (just south and east of Portland) is massive, stretching all through Clackamas County with quaint suburbs on the west side and a wide swatch of the Mt. Hood National Forest in the East. There, you can live like a modern day pioneer on the Oregon Trail; hiking, skiing, fishing, and fulfilling your wildest frontier fantasies. Here’s how to spend the Perfect Day in Mt. Hood Territory:

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You’re going to be spending some serious energy out here, so fuel up at Joe’s Donuts in Sandy, ORIt’s the type of doughnut shop that sugar hounds dream of. While it may not be the world’s healthiest (or greenest) place, you’ll be happy to know you’re supporting an independent local business. The glass case fills every morning with homemade treats like glazed applesauce cake doughnuts and blueberry fritters. Hey, blueberry’s a fruit, right?

Now that you’re all fueled up, head out on a hike with Nate Seifert, the Nature Concierge at The Resort on the Mountain in Welches, OR. What’s a Nature Concierge? Think of it like the best camp counselor you’ve ever had. Born and bred in the shadows on Mt. Hood, Siefert knows every inch of the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness and leads you on a challenging hike, pointing out mushrooms, berries, and wildlife along the way. Consider him your sherpa for the forest and climb your way up to a vantage point where you can see the entire Mt. Hood Territory.

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After a long hike, the best way to recover is – what else? – a nice massage. The Spa at the Resort on the Mountain may be small, but its’ tranquil mountain setting makes it a great place for a quick treatment. Opt for the Black Diamond massage if the hike was a little intense for you, or bring your special someone and try the “Shared Serenity” couples massage. The double treatment room is big enough for two and you’ll both walk out feeling like all of that hiking huffing and puffing never happened.

You’ve hiked, you’ve been massaged, now you’ve got to eat. Skyway Bar & Grill in Zigzag is a funky little BBQ joint on the side of Highway 26 serving homemade barbecue in a design scheme that’s somewhere between the country version of Liberace and Grey Gardens. Somehow, it works. While the ‘cue is the main event here, the burgers are out of this world. Get their famous mac and cheese as a side and you’ll be a happy camper. Here’s the catch: if you want to grab lunch here, it has to be on the weekend. They start things off at 3pm on the weekdays, but noon on Saturday and Sunday.

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If you hit Skyway for lunch, you’ve got to find a way to work off that food. Try The Bike Concierge, a full-service ride along bike tourism program that supplies bikes and routes for you to really take advantage of the scenery. Go on a cycling tour through some of Oregon’s most adorable wineries like Villa Catalana and King’s Raven near Oregon City or head out a bit and see Boondockers Farm, an amazing place that specializes in heirloom vegetables and heritage-breed cows, pigs, and poultry.

If you’re lucky, your visit to Mt. Hood Territory will take you to another farm for a very special dinner. Over the summertime, the Our Table Collective hosts several “Our Table in the Field” dinners where award-winning chef Joshua McFadden of celebrated Portland restaurant Ava Gene’s cooks a multi-course meal for over a hundred people right there on the farm. The produce is about as local as you can get, considering it’s harvested just steps from your dinner table and the long communal tables mean you’ll be making friends with every course.

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With a day this packed, you’ll need a great place to rest your head. Check out the Lakeshore Inn right on Lake Oswego. It’s a family-owned property overlooking the lake and you’re right in the middle of the really cute downtown area of Lake Oswego, which means restaurants, shops, and even a little movie theater (with a full bar!) are all right outside your door. Some of the rooms even come with full kitchens so you can make your home away from home and cook up some of the amazing bacon you bought at Boondockers Farm!

Now get some sleep because when you wake up in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory, you know it’ll be a day filled with adventure.

Jason Kessler

Jason Kessler

Jason Kessler is a lifestyle writer/columnist for Bon Appetit, Food Republic and a slew of other publications. Follow him on Twitter @FlyDine.
Jason Kessler

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