Saturday: White Salmon, Mount Hood, Warm Springs, and Bend
Day two will bring 175-200 miles of driving over only about three hours, so there will be plenty of time for a leisurely breakfast or walk along the Columbia River before heading south on OR-35 towards one of the country’s most city-accessible natural wonders.
Approaching the 500,000-year old volcano, it is evident where Mount Hood‘s lava flows have carved deep vertical grooves in the mountain. The sharp peak looks nothing like that of Hood’s sister volcano, Mount St. Helens, which lies just 63 miles to the north.
While Mount St. Helens erupted in a spectacular blast in May of 1980 and left a crater a mile and a half long and a mile across, Mount Hood has been (relatively) slowly oozing molten rock during various active periods, the most recent coming around the end of the 18th century.
The best driving path up the mountain also takes you through Government Camp and to the Timberline Lodge, which served as the exterior for the Overlook Hotel in the classic movie The Shining, which ironically was released less than two months after Mount St. Helens erupted.
Stop at one of Government Camp’s excellent brew pubs for lunch before heading east on US-26. Put the top down if you can and open your windows if you can’t; all the better to enjoy the thick evergreen forests lining both sides of the highway and the incredibly fresh mountain air they provide.
If you are interested in machines that fly as well as ones that stick to the road, definitely stop at the Madras airport and see the Erickson Aircraft Collection, or if you’re lucky, catch one of their car, motorcycle, or air shows.
You will want to save some daylight for Bend. And since there are an abundance of fantastic dining and lodging options in Bend, and a wealth of information about them online, I will spare you the hotel and restaurant recommendations and leave that to you for the night.