The Mount Hood Scenic Loop is a pretty river-and-mountains drive that takes in Portland, Hood River, and Mount Hood National Forest. The first stretch connects the state’s largest city, Portland, with quiet villages and waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge. At Hood River, this riverside drive takes a southerly turn on SR 35. The road heads toward the mountain, leading past agricultural land and the Hood River Valley to connect with US Hwy 26. Also called the Mount Hood Highway, this route passes a number of historical sites, small communities, and attractions such as the Salmon River at Wildwood Recreation Site on its return toward Portland.
There are about a thousand miles of trails in the national forest area, but most visitors gravitate to some of the most accessible and scenic routes. Lake trails are particularly spectacular. The two-mile Trillium Lake loop trail circles the pretty alpine lake and delivers wonder-worthy views of Mount Hood across the water. Mirror Lake trail also traverses two miles for views of the peak beyond a glacial cirque lake, while Lost Lake has a shoreline trail and national forest campground near old-growth forest. Other trails visit waterfalls, alpine meadows, and the Old Oregon Trail route.