The two-hour drive from Portland to Mt. Hood is a destination in itself, featuring an evolving landscape of dense, towering conifers and open vistas with rolling foothills punctuated by ever-closer views of Mt. Hood. The highest peak in Oregon (11,245 feet/3,427 meters) is a must for any visitor, whether for the year-round downhill and nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, mountain biking or any of the other list of outdoor activities…or to simply to relax and enjoy up-close views and fresh mountain air.
The good news is you don’t have to drive there. There are plenty of access options including public transportation, private shuttles, ride shares and seasonal ski area transit. Enjoy the views and leave the driving to the pros.
Mt. Hood Express transit is a public bus operating seven days a week on Hwy. 26 between the city of Sandy and Timberline with several stops including Skibowl West, the Best Western Mt.Hood Inn, Collins Lake Resort, and Summit Ski Area/Government Camp East before the final climb to Timberline. There are seven Express bus runs every day, and two additional late night buses run during the winter season (due to staffing issues be sure to check the Mt. Hood Express Twitter feed for route updates). One-way fare is $2 and an all-day ticket is $5 with exact change required.
The all-day ticket is valid for the Sandy Area Metro (SAM) buses running between the Gresham Transit Center and the Sandy Transit Center. (Portlanders can hop on the MAX Blue Line, which runs from Hillsboro to Portland City Center and the Rose Quarter to Gresham.) At the Sandy Transit Center board the Mt. Hood Express up to the mountain. The Mt. Hood Express bus is equipped with a rear ski box during the winter and a 10-20 capacity bike trailer in the summers. Note: Buses do not operate on Thanksgiving or Christmas. Please note that Mt. Hood Express is frequently at capacity, so it’s always a good idea to arrive early.
Aspen Limo Tours offers year-round, private luxury transportation that includes 40-person limo buses, 12-passenger Mercedes Sprinter vans and six-person SUVs.
In the winter months, Aspen Limo Tours offers popular Mt. Hood Ski Trips with luxurious executive vans, SUVs and 4×4 buses outfitted for winter with studded tires or chains. Call 503-274-9505 for specific details. Aspen Limo Tours is also PDX airport pickup approved.
Sea to Summit offers custom shuttle service to Mt. Hood in 4X4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans. The vans hold up to 11 people and are available by reservation at 503-286-9333 or online.
During the winter months, Sea to Summit outfits its 4×4 vans with ski racks and studded snow tires and offers scheduled service to Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline and Mt. Hood Skibowl. There are two early morning Portland pickups at REI in the Pearl District (14th & NW Johnson at 7:15 a.m.) and Pioneer Square (in front of Starbucks on Broadway and Morrison at 7:30 a.m.). The shuttle is by reservation only with a minimum number required before confirmation; pricing starts at $99 per person.
Winter Ski Area Transportation
During the winter, Mt. Hood Meadows offers round-trip transportation from Portland to the mountain, offering pick-up in three locations around Portland including Tualatin, Sunset and Gateway. The service is offered on weekends and holidays through the end of March, with occasional Wednesday and Thursday buses in January and February. The luxury, biodiesel-fueled motorcoaches drop off right in front of the main lodge at Mt. Hood Meadows. Tickets are available for purchase for $39 through the Mt. Hood Meadows website.
Timberline offers winter transportation up to the resort from December though April. The Timberline Resort Shuttle picks up at Summit Pass in East Government Camp circulating continuously throughout the day up to Timberline’s Wy’East Day Lodge. The service operates three shuttles on peak days and two shuttles on non-peak days from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Riding the shuttle is free for Timberline and Fusion season pass holders and Timberline online lift ticket holders.
Transportation from the Columbia River Gorge
Mt. Hood Meadows partners with Columbia Area Transit offering free daily shuttle service from Hood River to the mountain (including a stop at Teacup Nordic Center) seven days a week. The buses leave from the Columbia Area Transit Park and RideHood River Event Site along the waterfront. See the full schedule and purchase tickets ($5 each way or $40 annual Gorge Pass) at Columbia Area Transit.
Get There Oregon is a unique-to-Oregon ride-sharing site. Travelers can coordinate trips of all types — one-way trips, long-distance trips, even last-minute trips — to Mt. Hood. Visitors must log into the Get There Oregon website and choose a specific destination from the menu. You’ll be able to enter general destinations such as the town of Government Camp or the exact Mt. Hood ski area or lodging destination you plan to visit.