Groups visiting Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory will find not only a region rich in history, but also rich in invigorating things to do. Stories of the past come alive at historical sites and attractions, where visitors travel the same paths as Oregon Trail pioneers once did.
“There’s a lot of history here in Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory,” says Aaron Liersemann, the development and community relations senior specialist at Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory. “We’re the official end of the Oregon Trail in Oregon City. We launched the first newspaper west of the Rockies and transmitted long-distance electricity for the first time in the world from Willamette Falls to Port land—14 miles away. Not to mention, we’re home to the first incorporated city west of the Rockies in Oregon City. There are so many stories to tell, and you can hear them along the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail.”
The heritage trail includes many group-friendly stops, including the Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum, which provides a perfect starting point for understanding the past and present of Mt. Hood life. Then, experience the Oregon Trail journey and the rich cultures of the regions’ Indigenous people at the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive & Visitor Information Center, an 8.5-acre area that served as the main destination for Oregon immigrants in the 1840s. Today, the site offers living history interpretations and multimedia dramatizations to vividly depict that time in history. Watch the center’s new film, “Oregon’s First People,” which sheds light on how the settling of Oregon affected the Indigenous people of the region and shows how they are working to rebuild their community and homelands today.
Bring a camera to Jonsrud Viewpoint— known for its epic overlook of Mt. Hood and the Sandy River—to capture a bird’s-eye view of the Oregon Trail route. Groups can stroll the brick pathways, look through the telescopes, and enjoy spectacular views of Mt. Hood and the Sandy River Valley, as well as the “Devil’s Backbone,” a ridge named by pioneers who were traveling on the Barlow Road (the last segment of the Oregon Trail). An exciting new amenity at the park is a special colorblind-adapted scenic viewer that enables people who are colorblind to experience the colors of nature. It’s the first location in the United States, outside of the state of Tennessee, to offer this experience.
Follow the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail to Philip Foster Farm, where many of the buildings harken back to the 1800s, complete with living history demonstrations. Step back in time at the home of Philip Foster, one of Oregon’s earliest pioneers. Look, listen, and feel the pioneer experience while walking through the beautiful gardens and smelling the fragrance of the oldest lilacs in Oregon. Visit the 1883 farmhouse, 1860 hay barn, and authentic building replicas, including a store frequented by Oregon Trail pioneers and the newly opened 1850 Schoolhouse. Join a costumed volunteer for a guided tour, or try your hand at pioneer chores.
After spending the day reliving pioneer life, groups can recap their experiences while enjoying modern comforts at group lodging properties, like Monarch Hotel & Conference Center, Mt. Hood Oregon Resort, and Hilton Garden Inn Portland/Lake Oswego.
Credit: Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory