Your kids are certain to release their inner Magellan along this historic trail
For a weekend getaway that offers lush forests, sparkling lakes, a majestic mountain (that stands over 11,000 feet!) and family fun, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is calling your name. We promise you’ll be in awe of the area’s impeccable beauty, while your little ones will be equally as entertained by the surrounding history.
Located just 90 minutes east of Portland, Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory is a great destination for a weekend road trip. Think nature, solace, cultural heritage and, we can’t forget, one-on-one family time.
To experience Mt. Hood Territory in all of its glory and see its history in one go, head to the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail for a kid-friendly-meets-educational escapade. The historic trail features 26 different heritage sites, each brimming with interactive, hands-on experiences that’ll bring the 1800s to life–and keep your children busy. All you have to do is show up and let history do the entertaining.
Keep reading to discover seven of the trail’s stops that are perfect for your mini pioneer!
7 Stops You Don’t Want to Miss Along Mt. Hood Territory’s Heritage Trail
1. The Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum
Located in the heart of Government Camp (the only town five miles within Mt. Hood!), the Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum is an excellent starting point to dive into the region’s storied past and present. With access to six unique galleries, your family can learn about the history of skiing and mountaineering.
2. End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive & Visitor Information Center
Take a step back in time. Located at the exact spot where Oregon Trail pioneers once camped in Oregon City as they awaited their land claims during the 1800s, this visitor center and museum highlights real-life records of these journeyers’ travels. You can also try your hand at candle dipping, butter and doll making, wagon packing, paper weaving and much more.
3. Philip Foster Farm
Young explorers will get a kick out of the countless interactive activities at Philip Foster Farm. From building a cabin with life-size Lincoln logs to grinding corn in an 1860s barn to cleaning laundry with a scrub board and wringer, you’ll get to experience daily life in the 1800s.
4. Oregon City Municipal Elevator
Also known as the vertical “Elevator Street,” this elevator was once powered by water and electricity for a 130-foot ride. Today, it stands as one of only four outdoor municipal elevators in the world, and remains the only “vertical street” in North America. Ride the elevator to the top to view downtown Oregon City from its observation deck and the neighboring McLoughlin Promenade, a 7.8-acre linear park, and don’t miss the nearby McLoughlin Conservation District’s homes brimming with Oregon history.
5. Canby Ferry
For over a century, the Canby Ferry has transported residents and visitors across the Willamette River, from the cities of Canby to Wilsonville and West Linn, as both a vehicle and walk-on ferry. Take a ride on the historic barge for impeccable views of the river and a once-in-a-lifetime experience, as it’s one of three remaining ferries operating in Oregon.
6. Willamette Meteorite at Fields Bridge Park
With 19 acres for exploration, Fields Bridge Park offers an afternoon of kid-focused fun with walking paths, playgrounds and a fishing pier, to name a few. The most astonishing sight to see, next to the neighboring Tualatin River, is the Willamette Meteorite. The exhibit commemorates the 15.5-ton, iron meteorite, which is the largest in the U.S. and sixth-largest in the world.
7. George Rogers Park
This 26-acre community park is the perfect place to take in the Willamette River at its sandy beach by the confluence of Oswego Creek. The open grassy area above the beach is home to a historic Iron Smelter, a reminder of the area’s industrial past, and is the perfect spot for a family picnic.
For a bonus activity that’ll get you on the water, take a guided paddle trip from Oregon City to Willamette Falls, a magnificent waterfall that offers a wonderful backdrop for your next family portrait and learn about the area’s history along the way (great for kids ages eight and older).
Pro Tip: Before traveling the Heritage Trail, view the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail interactive map, to locate all historical sites and find the best places to eat, shop and play along the way.
Start planning your Oregon trip to experience life on the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail!