Government Camp, Oregon

Government Camp Looking West

Mt. Hood Territory

Government Camp is a village on the southern slopes of Mt. Hood. It is the home of Skibowl and the gateway to Timberline Ski Resort and Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort.

The village offers dining, lodging, and entertainment.

People from out of state often ask why it is called Government Camp. The name comes from its history. The site is on the old Barlow Trail Road which was used by the pioneers coming west on the Oregon Trail in lieu of floating down the treacherous Columbia River. In 1849 the government sent a huge U. S. Army wagon train west to establish forts along the Oregon Trail. When they reached The Dalles part of the train went west on the Columbia River. The rest of the train took the overland route. They were forced to abandon their wagons at the site where the village is today. The later pioneers passed by the abandoned wagons and called it the government camp. The name stuck.

The village has changed a lot since we had our cabin there. However, in some ways it hasn't changed at all. Charlie's Mountain View (called Charlie's), the Ratskeller (called The Rat), The Huckleberry Inn, Thunderhead Lodge, Summit, and Skibowl are still there.

The snow can get extremely deep in the winter. The main road running through the village is always plowed. It pays to read the parking signs. You can't just park your car and leave it there for 24 hours. You wouldn't be doing this unless you were staying in lodging or walking into a cabin. What you have to do if you are staying for any period of time is move your car to the other side of the road periodically so the parking area can be plowed.


Mt. Hood Territory

You can get around the parking problem when there is snow on the ground by staying at one of the lodging facilities mentioned below. Or you can just leave your car in Portland and and use Sea to Summit transportation services to get to Government Camp.

For information on skiing and snow boarding at Ski Bowl in Government Camp see Mt. Hood Skiing.

Snow Tubing at Summit

Mt. Hood Territory

The Summit is a great place to take the whole family for inner tubing in the snow.  You can rent the tubes or take your own.

Government Camp is a good place to stay if you are skiing on Mt. Hood and in the summer if you want to go hiking in the area. You are close to the most popular lakes in Mt. Hood National Forest where you can go fishing, boating, and swimming. You can easily make day trips to Hood River and the Columbia River Gorge or to Kahneeta at the Warm Springs Indian Reservation during the spring, summer, and fall.

Mt. Hood Adventure Park at Skibowl

After all of the snow is gone in late spring, there is still plenty to do in Government Camp thanks to the Mt. Hood Adventure Park. Attractions include:

  • Mountain Biking
    Some of the best mountain biking trails in North America. You have miles and miles of trails to explore. Take the trail to Trillium Lake and back or take the Still Creek Descent Tour to Rhododendron. There are tours for all ability levels and you can rent your bike and helmet.
  • Bungee Tower
    A 100' bungee jump.
  • Indy Karts
    Drive your own Indie race aroung bends, a hairpin turn, and through straight-aways in one of these high-powered karts.
  • Alpine Slide
    Ride the sky chair up the mountain and then slide down the twisty-curvy track for a half mile back to the base. There are two tracks side by side so you can race a friend.
  • Reverse Bungee
    Try this reverse bungee if you don't feel you can handle the 100' drop bungee. In this one you start on the ground and you are shot up 80 feet. At the top you then drop 50 feet and are shot up again.
  • Scenic Sky Chairs
    Take a relaxing chair ride from the base of Ski Bowl to the 5,100 foot elevation. Watch for wildlife on the way up and at the top on a clear day view four other volcanic mountain peaks besides Mt. Hood including Mt. Ranier in Washington.
  • Horseback & Pony Rides
    Take a guided tour into the backcountry of Mt. Hood National Forest. Overnight trips are available. For young children their is a pony ride ring.
  • Other Attractions
    Zorb Balls
    Summer Tube Hill
    Bungee Trampoline
    Batting Cages
    Disc Golf
    Kiddy Karts
    Kiddy Canoe
    Mini Golf

Government Camp Lodging

Collins Lake Resort

Collins Lake Resort

Collins Lake Resort is a convenient place to stay if you are skiing at Mount Hood Ski Bowl because it is just across the street. At Collins Lake you can rent two- or three-bedroom condos and have the full use of the resort's facilities. Also you can get great discounts on lift tickets at Timberline, Mt. Hood Meadows, and Ski Bowl. If you stay two nights midweek you can ski free at Ski Bowl.

The Porch to Powder shuttle will take you directly from your unit to the base of Ski Bowl or to downtown Government Camp.

There are 28 miles of trails throughout the resort. These are used in the winter for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In the spring, summer, and fall they are good for walking and biking.

Best Western Mt. Hood Inn

Mt. Hood Inn

The Mt. Hood Inn is a great place to stay if you only want a room. (Adjoining rooms are available.) You get a free Continental breakfast and free parking. All of Government Camp's restaurants are nearby. The rooms have a coffee maker, microwave, and refrigerator.

Dining in Government Camp

Charlie's Mountain View

This is the place to go for a great steak dinner and a microbrew. Steaks are cooked over an open-flame grill. On Saturday nights throughout the ski season Charlie's has live music with popular bands from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am. The bar is well stocked with domestic beer, wine, and spirits.

Huckleberry Inn

The Huckleberry Inn is two restaurants in one. The cafe is open 24 hours a day all year long. A good place to get hot drinks, sandwiches, soup, and hamburgers. The dinner menu has roast beef, chicken, and liver and onions. The steak house is open on weekends during ski season. Don't forget to have a piece of their famous Huckleberry Pie.

Ice Axe Grill

Along with steaks, entrees include chicken, fish and chips, BBQ ribs, and salmon. The menu also includes sandwiches, salads, and pizza. This is the home of the Mt. Hood Brewing Company. They offer a wide selection of Northwest microbrews. They are open 11:30 am to 10:00 pm on Friday and Saturday. Sunday through Thursday they are open form 11:30 am to 9:00 pm.

Falcon's Crest Inn

This is a fine dining experience. Six-course dinners are served and it is by reservation only. In fact, I heard that you need to make your reservations two months in advance. They have five rooms to rent and breakfast is included. For more information phone 800-624-7384.


The Rat has been a gathering place for the after-ski crowd for over 40 years. It has recently had a face lift and the menu has expanded so it is so much more than the pizza joint it used to be. Of course, you can still get that delicious pizza but if you would rather not, you can order Calezones, pasta, soup, salad, burgers, or sub sandwiches.

They serve a full range of draft, bottled, and canned beers as well as wines from the northwest and beyond. You can watch your favorite sports teams on their 12-foot screen. There is a bar side and a family side so kids are very welcome and they do have a children's menu.

The Rat is open:

Monday-Thursday from 2 pm to 10 pm.
Friday from 11 am to 2 pm
Saturday from 11 am to 2 am
Sunday from 10 am to 12 midnight

See other places to visit on Mt. Hood.

Government Camp