Timberline Lodge is a National Historic Landmark. It is located at the 6,000 foot level on the south side of Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest peak. In 1936 the Federal Government put hundreds of craftsmen and artisans to work building a mountain lodge like no other.
The style of Timberline Lodge is what could be called Cascadian Rustic. The huge timbers, stone work, wood carvings, mosaic murals and art work, rugs, upholstery, furniture, draperies, and iron work are in a Pacific Northwest style. Everything was handcrafted by either skilled craftsmen and artisans or those who were in training.
The lodge is a hotel but it is also a museum. It becomes necessary to replace and repair parts of the building and its furnishings at times. This is done with extreme care and in the same manner as the original work was done.
The first thing you see when walking into Timberline Lodge is the massive stone fireplace that is in the center of the lobby. This is actually three fireplaces in one. The stonework rises through all the floors of the building and the second floor also has three fireplaces identical to those on the ground floor. These fireplaces are used all of the time. Big enough to hold whole logs, they are a welcome sight on a cold day.
To the left is the stairs going up to the main lobby. Walking past the stairs and down the hall you will find the gift shop.
Going up the oak stairs, notice the carved newel posts. Entering the upstairs lobby you will find, as I said, the massive stone fireplaces. The lobby is furnished with more comfortable furniture and you can sit close to the fire. There are little nooks where you can sit and read a book or write a letter. Through the giant picture windows on the mountain side you can look up to the mountain and feel like you can almost reach out and touch it. On the other side you can walk out on the stone balcony for a view over Mt. Hood National Forest to the south of Mt. Hood. This is a nice place to sit on a sunny spring day.
To the back of the second-floor lobby is the Cascade Dining Room. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served here. Leif Benson has been the chef here since 1979. Over the years he has perfected the menu to reflect the taste of the Pacific Northwest. It is wise to make reservations for both lunch and dinner.
The mezzanine that surrounds the upstairs lobby is where the Ram's Head Bar is located. You can also order food here.
Blue Ox Bar
Now for a place that not all visitors see because it isn't always open--especially in the summer. The Blue OX Bar is off of the downstairs lobby. From the entrance to the lodge go to your right. Walk down the hall past the men's restrooms on the left. Go down the steps and enter the door on your left. This is a full-service bar. The walls on the left and to the back are covered in a mosaic mural depicting Paul Bunyon and his ox "Blue". This was our favorite after ski place in the 1960's and 1970's.
Because I lived only a 25-minute drive away, I have never spent the night at Timberline Lodge. I have always wanted to do so and I would especially like to do it at Christmas when they have a Christmas tree two stories high in the lobby.
The rooms in Timberline Lodge are furnished with hand-crafted furniture and fabrics. The fireplace rooms are very large and have a sitting area. They have all of the modern amenities including a bathroom. All rooms have a view, even the rooms without fireplaces. Be aware though that during winters with heavy snow, you may not be able to see out. You can find out room rates and check for availability at Timberline Lodge.
To get to Timberline Lodge drive from Rhododendron on Highway 26 to Government Camp. You will see the road to the lodge on the left after you pass through Government Camp. If you go in the winter, you may need traction devices.
Of course Timberline is a ski area and on this page I have only discussed the historic lodge. There is also a modern day lodge for skiers. There are some good hiking trails from Timberline including a trail that circles the entire mountain. This trail takes more than one day to complete and you need to check at the desk to make sure the entire trail is open before you start out on this hike. In fact, you need to register that you are doing this hike and when you expect to return.
For information on the Timberline Ski Area see Skiing on Mt. Hood.
Click here for other things to do on Mt. Hood.