Editor’s note: Call destinations before you visit to make sure they’re open. Follow all COVID-19 guidelines, get vaccinated before you travel and remember to bring your face covering.
The snow has (mostly) melted, but that doesn’t mean Oregon’s mountain resorts are closed for the season. Five ski areas across the state take on another personality for the summer as they switch from snow sports to one-stop shops for scenic chairlift rides, biking, hiking and running trails, sunset dinners, go-karts and other outdoor adventures. Here’s your guide to unforgettable summer memories at Oregon’s mountain resorts.
Central Oregon: Mt. Bachelor
Have you dined at 7,800 feet? Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon is once again offering its popular sunset dinner series on select Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, a unique way to take in the sunset and dine from a curated menu of gourmet options including spirit, beer and wine tastings — this year with discounts for 2020/21 winter season passholders. The scenic chair lift ride here is simply stunning, with views of Three Sisters peaks, Broken Top and many of the Cascade Lakes below. Once you’re up top, you can grab a meal on deck at the Pine Marten Lodge, play a round of disc golf or take a U.S. Forest Service-led interpretive tour. Or, take to the trails by foot or bike. It’s a bike-lover’s paradise here, with 13 miles of newly established downhill trails, bike rentals of all types, trail maps and Gravity Bike Camps for youth are offered all summer. The athletic endeavors continue with the fifth annual GraviCross combining downhill mountain biking and cycle-cross. Bachelor’s new ZipTour is an adrenaline rush with three stages of scenic, fast-paced plunges.
Mt. Hood: Mt. Hood Meadows
Soak up the summer sunshine at Mt. Hood Meadows, now with 8.5 miles of new hiking trails accessible from the parking lot, connecting the base area to the popular Umbrella Falls and Sahalie Falls trails. Or take the scenic chairlift ride to view the wildflower-covered meadows from above and Mt. Jefferson and Three Sisters on the horizon. The resort’s 2021 summer plans include geocaching and movies on the deck, plus the return of events like the mushroom hunt series, a fiesta food fest, makers market, and brewers’ dinners. Mutts on the Mountain, an Oregon Humane Society fundraiser, also makes it comeback on Saturday, August 28, 2021.
Mt. Hood: Mt. Hood Skibowl
Mt. Hood Skibowl is a playground for the whole family, with more than 20 attractions including zip lines, the Malibu Raceway, a bungee tower, mini golf, and disc golf at the Mt. Hood Adventure Park. On the Skibowl West side, visitors will find a thrilling half-mile dual alpine slide with speeds up to 20 miles per hour along the 350-foot drop. For the two-wheeled set, the Bike Learning Center offers bike rentals, lift assist and instruction to beginning mountain bike riders. Experienced riders can geek out at Skibowl’s Portland Freeride Bike Park,with its high-speed bermed out runs, giant doubles and gaps through the trees and log roads. For a more serene adventure, opt for the interpretive nature trails, or rent a canoe, kayak or paddleboard through Mt. Hood Outfitters and set off on your own.
Mt. Hood: Timberline Lodge & Ski Area
You will still find snow near Timberline Lodge, which has the longest ski season in North America. (So it’s no wonder the U. S. Ski & Snowboard teams train here during the summers.) Take the Palmer Express high-speed quad lift to ski or snowboard to your heart’s content through Labor Day, while the Magic Mile Sky Ride offers spectacular views of Mt. Hood, Palmer Snowfield and Mt. Jefferson nearby. The kids will love the heated outdoor pool (yes, at an elevation of 6,000 feet), open all summer. Or, explore the mountain’s family-friendly hiking trails, including trips to Little Zig Zag Falls and Paradise Park Loop, both short drives from Timberline. The Timberline Bike Park features all-ability lift-accessed trails. Visitors can also ride the U.S. Forest Service Timberline to Town trail, a five-and-a-half mile ride down to Summit Ski Area, which is operated by Timberline, in the town of Government Camp.
Southern Oregon: Mt. Ashland
Mt. Ashland in Southern Oregon comes alive for a few hardcore trail events in the summer, including the Mt. Ashland Hill Climb run (August 14, 2021) — the 13.3-mile Hill Climb is for the die-hard enthusiast; with 5,600 of climbing to the summit at 7,533 feet, it’s the second-highest elevation gain of any hill climb in the U.S. The Siskiyou Out Back Trail Run (July 10, 2021) offers three lengths, from 50K to 100K, beginning and ending at Mt. Ashland Lodge. The sunshine uncovers singletrack nearby — Ashland is a mountain bike destination —that includes the 13-mile Mt. Ashland Super D and 14-mile Time Warp to Ashland, both downhill rides accessible via shuttle with Ashland Mountain Adventures.
Eastern Oregon: Anthony Lakes
Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort in Eastern Oregon is open for summer operations starting July 5, with Summer at the Starbottle — enjoy the deck at the resort’s Starbottle Saloon, a family-friendly restaurant that offers fresh, locally sourced food with spectacular views at 7,100 feet along the Elkhorn Scenic Byway. Located in North Powder (between La Grande and Baker City), the resort’s rugged terrain and accessible trail system make it a hotspot for mountain biking, with more than 8 miles of singletrack following the Nordic ski corridors. The new Broadway Flow Trail is 3 miles of flowing downhill and banked turns. If you don’t want to leave this picturesque place at night, book a summer yurt or secure your spot at more than a half-dozen campgrounds and rental cabins.