Wildernesses are lands designated by Congress to be protected and preserved in their natural condition, without permanent improvements or habitation. There are eight Wildernesses, encompassing 311,448 acres, located in the Mt Hood National Forest.
Government Camp is a small, private mountain community at 3,900 feet on Mt. Hood's south side. The community is a launching point for numerous outdoor adventures including skiing, hiking, mountain biking, huckleberry picking and exploring the Barlow Road. A trail system surrounds the community for both winter and summer use. The community has a tradition of winter sports dating back to the early 1900's. Developed skiing and snowboarding opportunities are available at Timberline, Summit, and Ski Bowl Resorts.
Perched above Government Camp (and accessible by paved road) is Timberline Lodge. A National Historic Landmark, Timberline Lodge was constructed during the Great Depression of the 1930's by craftspeople working under the Federal Works Projects Administration. This stately Cascadian building was constructed of stone and large timbers and has been thoughtfully maintained. Publicly owned, and privately operated, Timberline Lodge is open to the public as a hotel, restaurant, and ski resort. Nearly two million visitors from all over the globe enjoy the lodge's warm hospitality each year. Forest Service interpretive staff provide tours of the lodge.
Climbers and hikers headed into the Mt. Hood Wilderness frequently begin their ascents here. Due to its high elevation (6,000 feet) and proximity to the Palmer Snow Field, Timberline Ski Area is unique in its ability to offer year-round skiing and snowboarding.
Timothy Lake Recreation Area
Timothy Lake is one of the most popular family camping and fishing destinations in the Mt. Hood National Forest. The lake's south shore features four developed campgrounds and boat ramps. Two other nearby campgrounds accommodate equestrians. Three smaller, less developed campgrounds are found in the north. A trail system for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians circles the lake. The Pacific Crest National Scenic Trail also traverses the area along the east side of Timothy Lake.
The tributaries that feed Timothy Lake have outstanding wetlands habitat. Oak Grove Fork Meadow by Clackamas Lake, Timothy Lake's North Arm and Little Crater Meadow are great places to spot wildlife whch depend on wetlands. Timothy Lake is an artificial lake constructed by Portland General Electric in 1958 for hydroelectric power. The State of Oregon stocks rainbow and brook trout in this 1400 acre lake. Motorboats are allowed, and a 10 MPH speed limit is in place.
Clackamas Wild and Scenic River
In 1988, Congress designated 47 miles of the Clackamas River, from its origins in the Olallie Lake Scenic Area to Big Cliff, as part of the Federal Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Outstanding scenery and proximity to Portland make this section of the Clackamas River one of the most popular recreation areas in Oregon. The river has carved a deep gorge with rocky cliffs and tree-laden slopes. Whitewater boating and year-round hiking and riding are among the many recreational pursuits here. Facilities are available for day-use and overnight camping beside the river.
The Clackamas River contains diverse fish habitats, vital to a productive fishery. In addition, over 1,040 miles of fish-bearing streams and rivers flow into the Clackamas River. Anadromous spring Chinook Salmon, Coho Salmon, and Steelhead Trout use these waters for spawning, rearing, and migration. Resident fish include Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, and the threatened Steelhead and Chinook Salmon species.
The Barlow Road
Arriving at The Dalles in 1845, Samuel K. Barlow learned that he would have to wait weeks for passage down the Columbia River. He decided instead to attempt crossing the Cascades. Barlow and Joel Palmer led a wagon train south to Tygh Valley and successfully explored for a wagon road around the southern slopes of Mt. Hood. In 1846, the "Barlow Road" was opened to emigrants as a toll road. Tolls ranged from a promise to pay $5 per wagon, 10 cents per head of loose stock, a shirt, a cow or a blanket. This road completed the Oregon Trail as a land route from the Mississippi Valley to the Willamette Valley and was still in use as a wagon road as late as 1919.
You can still travel the same route once forged by the hardy first settlers to Oregon. The eastern portion of the road from Tygh Valley to Barlow Pass has been little altered, and high clearance vehicles are still recommended for today's travelers on the Barlow Road. At several locations, interpretive signs describe historical events, and there are six camp ground for overnighting. For more information, you may contact the Barlow or Hood River Ranger District Offices.