Need a weekend escape from North Portland? Sometimes the long winter months can get dreary, especially if you’re indoors for most of the day. Oregon is a beautiful place with many outdoor spots just waiting to be explored, even when it’s cloudy or chilly.
So here are some places to go when you’re tired of doing the same old thing in the city. From snow activities at Mt. Hood to a day at an Iditarod sled dog race, these ideas will get you started on some wonderful adventures.
Mt. Hood’s always-snowy peak can be seen from many miles away. It’s also home to six great ski areas. You can even ski at nighttime, thanks to lighted lifts and 34 lit runs. No experience skiing? Lessons are available, or you can opt to snowboard, instead.
Cosmic tubing, offered on Friday and Saturday nights, is a unique experience. It includes 600,000 LED lights, black lights, laser light shows, and great music. It’s great for the kids, too. And you don’t even have to lug your tube up the mountain, thanks to the dedicated tubing conveyor. Find more information about cosmic tubing here.
You can also explore the beauties of Mt. Hood National Forest by going on a backcountry snowmobile tour. Cruise through hundreds of miles of closed forest road. And feel free to bring your kids along. Mt. Hood’s trained, experienced guides will keep everyone safe. Find out more here.
A variety of snowshoe tours are also available at Mt. Hood. Enjoy day tours (they range from two to four hours), Crosstown Trail tours, or a moonlight snowshoe tour. Go here for more information.
You may not think of going to the beach to get away from North Portland in the winter months, but it can actually have some stunningly beautiful (albeit cloudy) days. For one thing, it’s definitely less crowded with tourists than it is during the warmer months of the year! Here are some good spots to check out:
- -Peter Iredale Shipwreck (the remains of a 1906 shipwreck in Fort Stevens State Park)
- –Ecola State Park (a great place to watch for eagles, whales, and elk)
- -Haystack Rock (a fun place to explore the tide pools at low tide)
- –Kelly’s Marina (located at the gorgeous Nehalem Bay)
- –Yaquina Lighthouse (a popular spot for whale watching and tidepooling)
- –Sea Lion Caves (see hundreds of sea lions gather in this large sea cave during the winter)
- –Shore Areas State Park (enjoy the formal garden and the waves crashing on the cliff’s edge)
The Wallowa Mountain Range
The Wallowa Mountains include peaks, meadows, and wilderness, all beautiful and worth exploration. Much of the area hasn’t changed since the area’s Oregon Trail days. Quaint little towns that are part of the Wallowas have interesting art galleries, food, and shopping. Wallowa Lake also has cabins and camping facilities available, if you want to get away from North Portland for more than just a day.
Of particular interest in this area is the Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog race, January 20–23, 2016. It’s Oregon’s only Iditarod, and it’s thoroughly enjoyed by fans and participants alike. It’s also free to the public. Get more details on the fun here.
If you’re interested in birdwatching, winter is a great time to do it. There are hundreds of different kinds of birds to look at from the coast to the mountains. Here is a list of birding trails, and here is a list of over 1000 locations where you can see birds in Oregon. The Audubon Society of Portland also offers volunteer opportunities, trips, classes, and camps for birdwatching enthusiasts.
Get Away from North Portland
This is just a small list of the many great things you can do if you need to get away from North Portland this winter. You could also do a wine tasting tour of some of our many fantastic wineries, or you could head to some of the delicious food festivals that are held during the winter months. Or go here for some more ideas on enjoying Oregon’s beautiful outdoors. Whatever you decide to do, enjoy your break from the daily grind of the city.
Featured photo of Mt. Hood courtesy of and owned by the Pacific Northwest Forest Service