Over the years, we’ve spent a lot of time on Mount Hood, but also a fair amount of time driving to and from and around it. And so, after long hikes up to McNeil Point, afternoons climbing at French’s Dome, long, scenic drives around the Mount Hood loop with out-of-towners, and day trips to canoe, ski, sled, or just visit, we’ve sampled a few of the local restaurants and watering holes around the mountain. Some have been forgettable, others have become go-to favorites. A few of the latter to consider next time you’re in the area:
Anyone who’s driven by Calamity Jane’s in Sandy on their way to or from the mountain and not been at least intrigued to know what that inviting blond with the burger on the side of the road is really all about must have been asleep at the wheel. We pulled in years ago to check it out, and now no hike under 5 miles ends without a Calamity burger on the tail end. The place is homey and traditional, the menu packed with close to 40 burgers served in three different scales: the third-pound City Slicker, the two-thirds-pound Wrangler, and the just plain scary one-pounder known as the Trail Boss. Some of the burgers sound more novelty than anything —the George Washington has sour cream and pie cherries — but paired with fries and giant 34 0z Bridgeport IPAs, just about anything from Calamity’s caps off a day on the mountain in a satiating, near gut-busting way.
There came a time when it seemed as if we were running out of options for better food around the mountain. But then someone recommended El Burro Loco in Welches, and that changed that. Unassuming but friendly, this Mexican joint has fantastic, reasonably priced food, a huge beer selection — at least five different IPAs on tap last time we stopped in — and chummy staff. Great for when you’ve not earned a Calamity burger but still want some real satisfaction.
When you’re not rewarding yourself for a long and dirty day on the trail but instead seeking out a touch more refinery, 3 Rivers Grill, on the north side of the mountain in Hood River, makes an excellent choice. A little more upscale but still laced with Oregon informality, 3 Rivers sits high on a hill lot in downtown overlooking the city and the Columbia River. Outside seating is scenic and comfortable, and the salmon I had there on our first visit was something I’ve not soon forgotten.
Of course, there are a ton of other options, including breweries, pizza joints, historic lodges, and even a renowned donut shop. But this site is new. We’ve much to cover. And we will.