White River Sno-Park (West)

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IMG_0051What’s to Love:  I recently asked for a sledding recommendation on the Portland Family Adventures’ Facebook page. White River Snowpark, located about 6 miles north of Government Camp on Hwy 35, was the unanimous winner! With such accolades, I had to go check it out with my family – we were not disappointed. While many great areas exist for sledding, hiking and/or snowshoeing in winter, this may be the best of the best.

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Cooper Spur: A Family Resort

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Cooper Spur Mountain ResortWhat’s to Love:  In my opinion, taking into account all the factors of “family value,” Cooper Spur Mountain Resort (CSMR) is the best option for families looking for a night (or more) away from Portland, especially when combining it with beginning-level skiers and/or snowboarders. They offer a package deal that includes a lift ticket, and rentals that is far less than the cost of a single lift ticket at neighboring resorts.  The trade-off is limited terrain served by a single lift.  Despite that limitation, if you’re looking for a laid-back resort that is family-friendly, this should be your next destination.

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Mosier Tunnels

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Mosier TunnelsWhat’s to Love:  The Mosier Tunnels are locate just outside Mosier, Oregon and are a couple of exits east of Hood River, Oregon.  Located high up on bluff, they are part of what used to be the old Columbia Gorge highway.  This roadway is now closed to cars for an impressive 4.7 miles, which will bring you all the way back to Hood River.  This is a perfect destination for a family bike ride, especially when combined with so many other destinations nearby. 

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Freeriding in Post Canyon

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What’s to Love:  If you’re wondering what “Freeriding” means, you might want to first check-out OPB’s feature from Oregon Field Guide.  Basically, it’s riding a mountain bike through “technical features” setup along forest paths.  These technical features can be something as innocent as a small bump.  However, as one progresses further into freeriding, the “technical features” become narrow balance beams (far off the ground too!), teeter-totters, banked turns, and HUGE drop-offs.  This is a popular form of mountain biking, and “Post Canyon” outside Hood River is one of the country’s premiere areas.

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Hood River – Outdoor Playland

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What’s to Love: What’s not to love? Hood River is my favorite small town outside Portland. For the outdoor enthusiast, there are a myriad of options: windsurfing, kiteboarding, mountain biking, road biking, kayaking, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing, sledding, mountaineering, hiking, etc. To detail all of the activities is a book in-of-itself. Many of my favorite outdoor activities are right outside town including the incredible ridge hike, “Cooper Spur” and mountain biking the spectacular Surveyor’s Ridge – not to mention all the amazing hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. The fun never seems to end in Hood River. This town is not just a world-class outdoor destination, there are some excellent restaurants, great cheap eats, and unique, independent retail shops.

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Timberline Lodge

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Timberline LodgeWhat’s to Love:   This could easily turn into another generic article on the iconic Timberline Lodge.  Built during the Great Depression, it has been in operation since 1937 and literally every aspect of the lodge has been covered by a multitude of articles, documentaries, Hollywood films, photographers, etc.  Even folks disinterested in the history or craftsmanship of the lodge are genuinely moved as they enter the lobby.  Can I possibly say something fresh and new about Timberline?

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Tamanawas Falls

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What’s to Love: The hike to Tamanawas Falls is a relatively short (3.8 miles round trip) and easy hike, and the reward is a striking waterfall in a beautiful, amphitheater-like setting. There are several bridges to cross, and your kids will get a kick out of crossing them. As you get close to the falls, you’ll have to walk through a large rock/scree slide, which my son loved! This was one of the best parts of the hike for us.

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