Last Updated on August 16, 2022
Disclosure: Our writers only recommend vacation rentals they’ve experienced firsthand, and all opinions expressed are their own. This post may contain affiliate links that allow us to earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.
On a clear day, driving “up the mountain,” as the locals say, the breathtaking views of Mt. Hood will stop you in your tracks. The dark serrated edges of the mountain peaks, covered with glistening snow throughout the year set the stage for our incredible stay in the Mt. Hood National Forest.
If your idea of a mountain retreat includes rivers, lakes, and streams, you should consider this charming vacation rental with riverside cabin vibes. For outdoor recreational opportunities or curling up in front of a real wood-burning fireplace at the end of a day, you must visit the Sandy River Mountain Home in Timberline Rim, in Mt. Hood Village, Oregon.
Much more than a cabin in the woods, this cozy home is nestled amongst verdant cedar and fir trees with stunning view of the rocky rapids of the Sandy River from both the downstairs great room and the upstairs master bedroom sliding glass doors.
Located 50 miles east of Portland, Oregon, Mt. Hood is one of Oregon’s highest mountains and boasts year-round lift-served skiing in North America. Four seasons of exciting outdoor activities await the adventurous visitor.
Arriving in Mt. Hood Village
This lovely well-lit property, yard, nightscape, and interior lights cast a warm and welcoming greeting during the day or evening hours. Driveway parking allows for three vehicles as the carport stores yard tools and wood for the fireplace.
Our check-in was effortless. With the key box passcode texted before our stay, we merely unlocked the box, extracted the key, and stepped right into this beautiful house in the woods.
The Sandy River Mountain Home in Mount Hood
The mountain abode is reminiscent of a French country home. Pastels and bright paints used in the rooms and furniture are eclectic and well-done, emphasizing comfort.
We discovered a well-stocked pantry, full kitchen, counter bar, dining area, family room, laundry room and bath combined, and a separate living room with an entertainment center downstairs.
Everything in the house was immaculate, clean, and uncluttered. Our stocked kitchen was spotless. And you can cook just about anything imaginable because of the pots, pans, baking dishes, utensils, dining cutlery, and dinnerware provided. Actually, this kitchen was better stocked than my own home. What I particularly liked was the bar seating. It keeps the guests out of the kitchen itself, but they can still be part of the action.
Pro Tip: Stop at the local convenience store one mile away, and pick up a bag of ice. It’s not practical to keep the ice maker running, and there’s plenty of room in the freezer.
Three Cozy Bedrooms
The 1,682-square-foot Sandy Mountain River Home features 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, accommodating up to six guests. The master bedroom has an en suite bath. The Bunny Room was my favorite, outfitted in rabbit colors and decorations. It’s a charming and comfortable place. The upstairs also has a colorful room for children equipped with games and space for them to play. The home also includes a large-screen TV and DVDs, Wi-Fi, and puzzles on a card table.
Relax in Your Own Outdoor Paradise
An outdoor patio grill awaits the grill master. And you can roast marshmallows and make S’mores on the portable fireplace on the deck.
The hot tub provides a 180-degree view of the house and river yet provides privacy from neighbors. It’s a perfect way to unwind from the day, even if it’s raining. And, of no surprise, it rains a lot on this west side of the Cascade Mountain Range.
We loved enjoying a fresh cup of morning coffee on the deck overlooking the river or heading down a few steps to the river’s edge. A sturdy bench and fire pit at the riverbank are a nice touch. Walk down a slope to the riverbed and onto the island to truly experience nature up close.
Bald eagles, Canadian geese, woodpeckers, flickers, band-tailed pigeons, and countless other birds visit this part of the river. It’s very entertaining just watching and trying to identify them.
A pleasant walk around the streets (there are no sidewalks) takes you to the two parks with playground equipment and basketball hoops. Tennis courts, located by the lodge, border the river. From May to September, the community pool is open and heated.
History of the Mt. Hood Territory
Located just off Barlow Trail Road, this Mt. Hood Village vacation rental is situated right on the Oregon Trail used by settlers, miners, ranchers, and business owners during the migration from the Midwest to the West in the 1800s. Just up the mountain Timberline Lodge, a Works Progress Administration project is a National Historic Landmark, built during the Great Depression and dedicated in 1937 by Franklin D. Roosevelt. Some scenes from The Shining, a movie starring Jack Nicholson, were filmed here.
Pro Tips: Timberline Lodge is about 6,000 feet above sea level. You may notice shortness of breath as you climb from the parking lot to the lodge.
Allow two hours at Timberline Lodge to tour and visit the museum. Also, allow time for snacks, beverages, or a meal. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Washington from the west-facing balcony.
Outdoor Adventures in the Mount Hood Region
Zig Zag Ranger Station for the Mt. Hood National Forest is a 10-minute drive from the vacation rental. In addition to obtaining passes, an abundance of information is available for hiking, biking, camping, and other Mt. Hood Region outdoor activities.
In winter, you can:
• Snow ski/board
• Cross-country ski
• Kayak (yes, I’ve seen kayakers braving the rapids and cold water on the Sandy River in winter)
Spring brings these additional opportunities:
A list of some outdoor mountain adventures you can book during the summer at Timberline Lodge.
• Hiking (Pacific Crest Trail)
• Magic Mile Sky Ride at Timberline Lodge
• Mountain biking
• Summer snow skiing/snowboarding
Fall is my favorite time of year in the Mt. Hood Region. Colorful trees and ripened fruit are one of the many sightseeing events to enjoy along with:
• Leaf peeping
• Mountain biking
• Scenic drive around Mt Hood
• Fruit Loop drive through orchards and lavender fields
Going further afield, the Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, The Dalles, and Cascade Locks are great destinations with exciting things to do. If you’re looking for city activities, Portland is about an hour away.
Pro Tip: If you arrive by plane at PDX, plan to add a day before and after your vacation rental retreat and stay in Portland to experience all the city has to offer.
Dining in Mount Hood Villages
Several restaurants in the Mt. Hood Villages offer good meals. From pizza and upscale Mexican to American fare, you’ll find good eats within one to five miles of the vacation rental.
How to Get To Mount Hood and Get Around
Portland International Airport (PDX) is the closest airport. Allow about one hour to drive from Portland to the vacation rental. Don’t consider ride-share for this destination.
Pro Tip: If you’re renting a vehicle which you should for exploring the Mt. Hood Territory, pick it up in Gresham, easily accessible by the Tri-Met train accessed outside Arrivals at PDX. You’ll save a significant amount on vehicle rental fees. Four-wheel drive is not necessary unless you intend to go off-roading.
Breathing the fresh mountain air is refreshing and satisfying. This vacation rental was a great place to relax, meditate, commune with nature, participate in outdoor sports, and enjoy friends along with good food and wine!