Mystic Mountain – Mt Hood

Mt Hood, one of the most picturesque peaks of the volcanic Cascade Range, is also referred to as the “Jewel of Oregon,” and for good reason. This glaciated titan of over 11,000 ft looks down over the Columbia River Gorge and offers jaw-dropping views for both Oregonians and Washingtonians. I refer to it as being mystic because every time my eyes lay sight upon it, I can’t help but marvel at its imposing stature and beauty and the way it seems to energize me when I get up close to it. It’s almost as if I gain a spiritual renewal. Perhaps this mountain is a so-called “power center” for me. One of the local Native Indian tribes refers to it as Wy’east. The name is borrowed by many regional businesses in the shadow of the mountain as if in a show of mighty respect for the guardian that stands tall among them.

Just like Seattle has Mt Rainier to fix their gaze upon, the city of Portland, Oregon is blessed to have Mt Hood offering up spectaculars views for both residents and visitors alike. There are no words to describe the rosey alpenglows as the near-setting sun reflects its last rays upon these mountains. If you are a landscape photographer, catching these unique moments are worth the wait. As well, Mt Hood has many faces, depending on which direction you approach her. Looks are deceiving, and if you view her from the northeast, she takes on a symmetrical cone shape that is especially lovely in the winter and early spring months as shown in the above video. If you live in Washington, you can get some smashing panoramic views of the north and northeast faces from the Columbia River Gorge. Oregon views from the gorge area are great as well, but I think some of the most magnificent views, the kind that blow your socks off, are from the Hood River Valley. You feel as though you can reach out and touch the mountain. Photography is best done early morning for crisp, bright shots. If you are visiting the area during the summer, this is particularly important since haze tends to build quickly. Closer to the Portland area, or the west side of the mountain, she has a noticeable angled summit tip that is quite picturesque. The south side is the most peculiar. This is the side of the volcano summit that blew out and is very different looking than her other faces. For a great view of this side, drive east from Portland on Oregon SR 26, which is a major highway pass through the Cascades. Stop off at Timberline Lodge, a national historic site, to get a fantastic close up view. You’ll be right at the timberline level at a good 6,000 ft above sea level. This is also a ski resort area, but you can ride the ski lift during the summer a mile up the side of the mountain for a breath-taking view of the surrounding valley. This is the only major ski operation in the US that is functional during the summer months. That’s right! Skiing during the summer months! And on a volcano!

South face of Mt Hood as seen from Timberline Lodge, Oregon

A northerly view of Mt Hood from Hood River Valley, Oregon

When asked what my favorite Pacific Northwest mountain is, I vacillate between Mt Rainier and Mt Hood. Though both are volcanoes in the Cascade Range, they are very different from each other in appearance and locale, each exuding their own beauty and authority. But one thing is for sure. I have equal respect for both.


About northwestphotos

A long time resident of Washington State, located in the beautiful Pacific Northwest USA. I am retired and enjoy regional travel, exploring all the wondrous, natural settings that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. If you get a chance, visit my Northwestphotos Zazzle store,
This entry was posted in Landscape, Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mystic Mountain – Mt Hood

  1. AWESOME! Absolutely breathtaking. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hej from Sweden !
    Thanks for LIKING my most recent post” A Frosty March Morning at Gullringstorp” !
    I absolutely love the pacific northwest. Some of the most beautiful country you could ever hope to see. I miss it and I have seen nothing to compare, here in Sweden. Just one of those adjustments one has to make when relocating. I have my memories and now your blog! Thank you for posting.
    Welcome back to my blog http;//

    • I am assuming that at one time you lived in the Pacific Northwest, USA. Yes, it is beautiful and I never tire of its scenery. Just every now and then during the winter, I get the blahs with all the grey and rain. I have never been to Sweden, but I am sure there must be some very beautiful places that you have yet to discover…some hidden away secrets that only well seasoned, traveling Swedes would know about. Ask around. How about some travel magazines? Many interesting places here that I have come across I have discovered solely by research on the internet or regional travel magazines. I wish you well, and perhaps one of these days you may visit your beloved Pacific Northwest again!

  3. Hi Peggy. It looks like we are kindred spirits – women who love to get out in the mountains…

  4. apictureadaybyroxy says:

    Thanks for liking my post on Woman With a Pen. I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a couple of years, and I really miss being so close to the ocean and the islands, here in the Colorado mountains our bodies of water are pretty small.
    Woman With A Pen
    Images by Roxy
    A PICTURE A DAY 2012

  5. I love absolutely everything about your site…..NICE WORK!!

Thank you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.