The tiny mountain town of Government Camp, Oregon, nestled in the foothills of Mount Hood, is the perfect destination for a weekend getaway. With its breathtaking views, outdoor activities, and quaint shops, Government Camp is a picturesque escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Whether you’re looking to relax or explore, this guide will provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to make the most of your visit to Government Camp and Mount Hood, one of the most incredible mountains in Oregon.
Location and Getting There
Government Camp, Oregon is a small mountain town located in the Mount Hood National Forest, just 50 miles east of Portland. It’s the ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and adventurers who want to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest up close.
Getting to Government Camp is relatively straightforward, although it can take a few hours, depending on your starting location.
From Portland, take Highway 26 East for about an hour until you reach Government Camp.
If you’re coming from Seattle, take I-5 South to Portland and then follow the same route. You can also reach Government Camp from Eugene by taking I-5 North to Salem and then continuing on Highway 22 East to Detroit Lake before following Highway 20 East to Government Camp.
What to Pack
Whether you're visiting Government Camp in the summer or winter, there are certain items you should make sure to pack.
In the summer, plan to bring light, breathable clothing, and sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Due to the high elevation of Government Camp, nights can be cooler than expected, so packing a few extra layers is always a good idea. You may also want to bring a bathing suit for swimming in the nearby rivers and lakes.
If you're visiting Government Camp in the winter, you will want to bring warm, waterproof clothing and boots. Make sure to pack enough layers for both cold days and milder days. Depending on your activities, you may also need ski or snowboard equipment.
Where to Stay
There are several great options for accommodation when visiting Government Camp, Oregon. Whether you’re looking for a cozy cabin to enjoy the stunning views of Mount Hood, one of the most beautiful mountains in Washington and Oregon, or a luxurious hotel with modern amenities, you’ll find what you need in this small mountain town.
If you’re looking for something rustic and charming, then Timberline Lodge is an excellent choice. This historic lodge offers a variety of rooms and suites for the ultimate in mountain living. Enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Hood from your balcony, or take advantage of the many on-site amenities like a heated outdoor pool and hot tub.
The Resort at The Mountain is another great option if you’re looking for something more upscale. This full-service resort boasts beautifully appointed guestrooms, luxurious spa facilities, and numerous on-site activities like golf and tennis. Plus, with its convenient location right next to the ski area, you can enjoy easy access to all your favorite winter activities.
You might also want to check out Mt. Hood Oregon Resort.
If you’d prefer something a bit more budget-friendly, the Mt. Hood Village RV Resort is a perfect choice. Here, you can enjoy all the luxuries of camping with plenty of amenities like heated restrooms and showers, as well as fire pits and grills. You’ll also have access to activities like swimming and boating or take a scenic drive around the surrounding area.
Things to Do
Government Camp is a great place to explore and experience the beauty of Oregon’s outdoors. Whether you’re looking for fun activities, beautiful sights, or just a peaceful retreat, Government Camp has something for everyone.
With several trails winding through the nearby forests, Government Camp is an ideal spot for outdoor enthusiasts. From easy hikes to more challenging treks, there is something for everyone. Popular hikes in the area include Tom, Dick and Harry Mountain, Cooper Spur, and Cloud Cap. The nearby Trillium Lake and McNeil Point trails are also popular.
Many of the lakes in the area are stocked with rainbow trout, making them great spots for anglers of all levels. A number of boat launches make it easy to get out onto the water and explore the area from a different perspective.
Take a drive through the winding roads around Government Camp and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Hood and other nearby peaks. Or explore the quaint downtown area and get to know the locals at one of the many restaurants, shops, or galleries in town.
If you’re visiting in winter, Government Camp is a great place to hit the slopes. The nearby ski resorts, such as Mt. Hood Skibowl and Timberline Lodge, offer world-class skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.
Government Camp is home to several historic sites that are sure to capture your interest. Take a walk around Mirror Lake and you’ll find an abandoned sawmill as well as an old post office that was built in the late 1800s. And be sure to check out the historic Barlow Road which follows an old wagon route that dates back to the mid-1800s.
Skiing on Mount Hood
If you're visiting Government Camp in Oregon, it's impossible to miss the nearby mountain of Mount Hood. As the tallest peak in Oregon and part of the Cascade Mountain Range, one of the most important and famous mountain ranges in the world, Mount Hood offers some of the best skiing experiences in the Pacific Northwest. The ski resorts around the mountain cater to all levels of skiers and offer plenty of winter activities for visitors.
At Mount Hood Meadows, skiers will find over 2,000 acres of terrain and a base elevation of 4,300 feet. The resort is serviced by 10 chairlifts and two surface lifts, as well as a variety of runs for both beginners and experts. It also features an area specifically designed for terrain parks, complete with jumps and rails.
Timberline Lodge Ski Area is located on the south side of Mount Hood and offers a true ski-in/ski-out experience. This is the only ski resort in North America that offers year-round skiing thanks to its Palmer Glacier Snowfield, which remains open throughout the summer months. There are 8 total lifts, including one high-speed quad, serving 34 different runs.
On the north side of Mount Hood, you’ll find Ski Bowl Adventure Park. With more than 250 acres and 50 different runs, this resort is perfect for family fun and adventure. The resort offers three separate terrain parks for those looking for a little extra thrill and plenty of night skiing opportunities.
Other notable ski resorts in the area include:
Cooper Spur Mountain Resort
Summit Ski Area
Mount Hood Ski Bowl
With so many options on the mountain, it’s no wonder that Mount Hood is one of the premier skiing destinations in the country.
Eating and Drinking
Government Camp, Oregon, is home to some amazing restaurants and bars that offer a variety of delicious meals. The town has a handful of spots where you can grab a bite to eat, from cozy cafes to lively pubs.
In town, you’ll find stores that serve up sandwiches, salads, and snacks, as well as craft beer on tap. Government Camp also has pizza places and classic American food spots.
If you’re looking for something a bit more special, the Timberline Lodge is just up the road from Government Camp. This rustic lodge is built into the side of Mount Hood and offers upscale dining in a beautiful setting. Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, you’re sure to be delighted with the fare served up at the Timberline Lodge.
No matter what type of cuisine you’re craving, there are plenty of options to choose from in and around Government Camp. You’re sure to have a wonderful time sampling all the delicious food and drinks the town has to offer!
Tips for a Successful Trip
1. Plan Ahead: Government Camp can be a busy place, especially during the winter months. Make sure to book any lodging and activities in advance to ensure that you get the best possible experience.
2. Dress for the Weather: The temperatures in Government Camp can vary significantly depending on the season. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and pack layers so you’re prepared for any unexpected changes.
3. Stay Safe: Government Camp is located in a remote area, so it’s important to be mindful of your safety while visiting. Be sure to carry a map of the area with you at all times and let someone know your plans before you leave.
4. Respect the Environment: Government Camp is located in an area of great natural beauty. Please make sure to leave no trace of your visit and respect wildlife and other visitors when exploring.
5. Keep Your Car Clean: Snow and ice can make roads very slippery in Government Camp, so make sure to keep your vehicle clean and clear of debris for better traction.
6. Have Fun: Above all, enjoy yourself! There are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy in Government Camp, so don’t forget to take some time to relax and take in the scenery.