Last year marked the 175th anniversary of the Oregon Trail, the 2,000-mile 18th century eco-challenge that lured 300,000 Americans to the Pacific Northwest. Oregon City ranks as the oldest incorporated U.S. city west of the Rockies, and the only waterfall that carries more volume than Willamette Falls is Niagara Falls. A year ago, Oregon City was among the three winners of the 2018 Great American Main Street Awards.
Portland-area baker Josef Fleischmann planted the first vineyards for St. Josef’s Winery south of here in 1978, the same year Wasson Brothers Winery established a vineyard near Oregon City.
Four decades later, there are 18 members of the young Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail. If you start from Oregon City, it is eight miles to Oswego Hills Vineyard in West Linn, 21 miles to Hanson Vineyards to the south in Woodburn or 25 miles east to Buddha Kat Winery — formerly Wasson Brothers Winery — in Sandy.
“Wine tasting in your backyard is our slogan,” said Gordon Root, co-owner of Tumwater Vineyard in West Linn. “If you go to wineries in Dundee and McMinnville, the top members in their wine clubs are coming from West Linn and Lake Oswego — right here. They are very affluent. Slowly, we are being discovered.”
There are a number of compelling reasons to visit this region, particularly with its proximity to Portland and the opportunity to drive country roads without as much traffic.
When it comes to tourism and travel writers, Jason Hanson of Hanson Vineyards said, “Wine is a good shiny bauble to wave in front of people’s faces to get them to come to an area.”
These tasting rooms often are staffed by one of the owners and/or the winemaker — and in most instances they are one in the same. All of them are east of Interstate 5, which means no fighting the maddening stop-and-go traffic of Highway 99W.
Mt. Hood Territory, as defined by the Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs, is divided into three regions — Urban, Valley and Mountain. Communities served include Canby, Estacada, Gladstone, Government Camp, Happy Valley, Lake Oswego, Milwaukie, Molalla, North Clackamas, Oregon City, Sandy, the Villages of Mt. Hood, West Linn and Wilsonville.
The valley is home to much of the wine trail, with Canby, Molalla and Wilsonville, but those in Boring and Sandy aren’t too far out of the way.
“It seems that in Oregon, all the wineries are pretty good about helping each other out,” said Lorie Dilley, Buddha Kat’s winemaker and co-owner. “We’ve made a lot of friends with other wineries and other winemakers. It’s really nice that the industry is like that.”
A few of these tasting rooms are well-appointed showpieces that one has come to expect in the Dundee Hills. Many are more relaxed. Some provide a step back to simpler times and offer more of the experience Canadians refer to as “farmgate wineries.” In each case, they come with settings for picnics and vineyards. And some emerged as business decisions driven by Oregon’s controversial land-use laws.
Perhaps it is the shared farming experiences and hardships that keep many of these winery owners humble and collegial. Many view themselves as stewards of the land rather than farmers. And in virtually every case, wineries along the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail offer help to send customers along to the next member. Generally, it’s a leisurely drive of five to 20 minutes away.
In the case of Hanson Vineyards, “We’re in kind of a no-man’s land. We’re in Clackamas County with a Woodburn zip code, but we’re closest to Mount Angel and in the Silverton School District.”
Most importantly is the quality of these wine programs. Chris Camarda of famed Andrew Will Winery near Seattle helped Christopher Bridge Cellars get started. One of Oregon’s top winemaking talents, Laurent Montalieu in Dundee, works closely with a number of the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail producers and is about 20 miles away. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that two of those wineries — Pete’s Mountain and Tumwater Vineyard — offer experiences similar to what you can find in the Dundee Hills.
There are approximately 40 varieties represented within the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail, and some of the grapes — Albariño, Ehrenfelser, Grüner Veltliner, Lemberger, Maréchal Foch, Léon Millot and Golubok, a red grape believed to be from the Ukraine — rarely are found west of Interstate 5. A few of them are unheard of in the U.S., such as Chelois and Phoenix. They produce clean, bright, food-friendly and honest wines that tend to shy away from barrel opulence.
Many of these wineries also are members of the Cascade Foothills Winegrowers Association, with Hanson in the final stretch of his four-year term as that group’s president. However, Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail promotional work is funded through the lodging tax in Clackamas County, so assistance with projects or grant funding is limited to partners within the county.
The wine trail app is available through the Mt. Hood Territory Heritage Trail website, not an app store, and the program is the mastermind of Clackamas County Tourism and Cultural Affairs.
There is no sales tax in Oregon, and one of the state’s leading tourist attractions is on the edge of the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail — the Woodburn Premium Outlets.
Pete's Mountain Vineyard & Winery — West Linn
The money shot for the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail promotional package is a lineup of member bottles atop Pete’s Mountain with Mt. Hood looking over their right shoulders. While their winery is not quite atop the summit, Mike and Kris Thayer enjoy a similar view and a growing fan base for their wines.
“People love that we’re so close to Portland because you come up the hill and you are in the middle of wine country,” Kris said. “It’s so convenient for people to visit, and they stay for hours.”
Rather than name their winery after themselves, they chose to pay tribute to Peter A. Weiss, the Frenchman who homesteaded this area in 1850.
And they have one of Oregon’s most respected winemakers, Laurent Montalieu, in charge of their production. Fruit for some of their bigger reds comes from Destiny Ridge Vineyards in Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills and connections made through the Mercer family.
A clear day at Pete’s Mountain with a picnic lunch and a glass of vino will provide you a quintessential Pacific Northwest wine touring experience. There’s also a full-fledged basketball court near the tasting room that overlooks their 24 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Pinot Gris is pulled from nearby Campbell Lane’s Stoneridge Vineyard, a combination that allows them to sell nearly all of their 2,500 cases through the tasting room they opened in 2013.
Tumwater Vineyard — West Linn
It’s not an illusion to think of a Street of Dreams development after driving past Oregon Golf Club, dropping down from Pete’s Mountain Road and coasting into Tumwater Vineyard.
Here’s an instance where landowners used the wine industry to deal with land-use restrictions.
“Accidental vintners,” is how Gordon Root and business partner Rick Waible describe their sojourn into the wine industry. It’s worked well and added a jewel to this loop just up Pete’s Mountain Road from the city of Willamette and its boutique shops a few minutes south of Interstate 205.
They admit a winery and estate vineyards were not in the plans when they bought the 63-acre, timber-choked land near Oregon Golf Club. At one point, it was approved for a 41-house development.
Then, Oregon voters replaced Measure 37 with Measure 49. That limited Root, Waible and their partners to just nine home sites on 2 acres with 43 extra acres of Scotch broom, poison oak and blackberries.
“So when two real estate developers think, ‘Let’s do a vineyard,’ what’s the first thing you do? You hire the French guy,’” Root said. “We found the guy with the best reputation.”
In 2015, they hired Laurent Montalieu. He encouraged Root and Waible to clear the land and plant 22 acres of vines, 19 of them Pinot Noir. Their expertise as developers shows with the stunning barrel room/tasting room reminiscent of a mountain lodge in Montana. Somehow, they opened in time for the 2016 Homebuilders Association of Metropolitan Portland Street of Dreams.
Montalieu has created a superb lineup of vineyard-designate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, estate Pinot Noir rosé. Root cajoled his way into Dick Erath’s prized Prince Hill Vineyard and two of Montalieu’s own vineyards — Hyland and Domaine Danielle Laurent.
Those young Tumwater Vineyard vines yielded 1,575 cases of wine from the 2018 vintage, and what they’ve created deserves to be mentioned whenever talking about the Willamette Valley’s up-and-coming wine programs.
Campbell Lane Winery — West Linn
One of the oldest vineyards in this portion of the Willamette Valley, the Campbell family works with its 30-year-old Stoneridge Vineyard at 750 feet elevation to produce estate Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir and Pinot Noir rosé at the summit of Pete’s Mountain.
Remarkably, their first commercial vintage as a winery came only in 2014 after the second generation took over. Their crisp, Oregon-style Pinot Gris is gaining traction with restaurants via its cask program. Thanks to the winemaking of Bordeaux-trained Anne Sery, who works for Laurent Montalieu, production has grown to 1,500 cases in short time.
Part of the storytelling is that of their 15 acres of Pinot Gris, the first 2.65-acre block was among the largest in the country. And this spring, there will be Chardonnay growing in Stoneridge Vineyard for the first time.
Oswego Hills Vineyard & Winery — West Linn
Commercial airline pilot Jerry Marshall purchased this former equestrian center in 1996 and began planting vines the next year. His highly groomed 20 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Maréchal Foch help son-in-law Derek Lawrence produce about 3,000 cases. He works with vineyards in Washington to give him 16 offerings, which include Viognier, Petite Sirah, Tempranillo, a Port-style and a Zinfandel from historic Portteus Vineyard near Yakima.
The scenic property tastefully preserves its heritage as a stable for Arabian horses, and their new 5,000-square-foot events center serves as remarkable stage for weddings, all just 20 minutes from downtown Portland. The tasting room is open on Sundays.
Twill Cellars - West Linn
Acclaimed conservationist Aldo Leopold continues to inspire Darrel and Molly Roby and their work with the 3-acre organic vineyard they established in 2000.
Chris Dickson, whose résumé includes Marcus Goodfellow, Evesham Wood, Penner-Ash and Washington cult producer Betz Family Winery, produces a trio of modestly priced vineyard-designate Pinot Noirs and two with Chardonnay. Johan Vineyards is part of each series. They also offer Syrah from Steelhead Run Vineyard, one of Oregon’s top sites for Rhône varieties.
St. Josef's Winery - Canby
A decade ago, Tara McKnight and her husband, Carl, were working in Seattle when their jobs in the beer world shifted with the merger of Miller with Coors.
“There was the chance to go up the ladder, but how many people get the chance to take over a family business?” Carl said.
Tara adds, “We wanted our boys to have that inter-generational experience with their grandparents.”
The McKnights’ business and sales expertise has translated to St. Josef’s, the historic winery and vineyards founded by Tara’s parents, Josef and Lilli Fleischmann. There’s also Kitara Vineyards, a sister label named for Tara and her vineyard manager brother Kirk, as well as the McKnight brand — Pheasant Run Winery — in nearby downtown Aurora. They pour Walla Walla Valley reds in that tasting room in the historic Aurora State Bank Building.
They rightfully are proud of the 40-year-old winery, and a step down into the cellar gives one a sense of the pioneering that began with vineyards rooted in 1978. St. Josef’s was bonded five years later.
Fleischmann grew up in Germany, but his family made wine in Hungary. A longtime baker in Portland, his planting of Syrah near the Molalla River in 1993 is one of the first in the Willamette Valley. Their 140-acre farm is Salmon-Safe with vines covering nearly a third of it. Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay form the core, but there’s Gamay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, too. Their three Charmat-method sparkling wines are deliciously priced and come in a fun package, and the McKnights also sell a considerable amount of their fruit to other wineries.
Their popularity prompted them to create a large new tasting room, where they sell more than 70 percent of their 5,000-case production.
Alexeli Vineyard and Winery - Molalla
Phil and Heidi Kramer are raising their young family on this estate winery while serving as driving forces for Coopers Hall Winery and Taproom in Portland. He used degrees from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and the University of Illinois to become an urban planner in Chicago and Philadelphia, but the lure of farming and winemaking in Oregon won out.
He also is the winemaker for Coopers Hall, while the former photojournalist continues to operate Heidi Hoffman Photography, which might explain the tasteful label designs. They are working with own-rooted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Müller-Thurgau, vines established between 1980 and 1981, farming them by LIVE standards. Bigger reds are pulled from the Rogue Valley.
Beckham Estate Vineyard - Sherwood
Beckham Estate Vineyard stands out along Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail, but then the longtime Beaverton High School ceramics instructor, Andrew Beckham, creates some of the most distinctive and delicious wines found anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
His ultimate goal is to all of his wines from his family’s Parrett Mountain estate spend at least a portion of their lives in his terra cotta clay vessels historically known as amphora. However, when Andrew and his wife Annedria bought their hilltop property in 2004, they didn’t plan for either a vineyard or a winery. It was to create a pottery studio.
In 2005, he began to clear timber and came home with enough cuttings of Pinot Noir to plant 2 acres. Two passions had begun to grow together.
"Initially, I thought I wanted to sell all of the amphora to winemakers, but then I kept them all because I needed to learn how they were working," he said. "That's where all of these experiments were born. I was doing all of these trials in clay and wood and macro (bins) and steel, and then there are different firing temperatures and if they were going to be lined in wax."
He works with a chemist to find the correct terra cotta clay, which ended up being near Sacramento, Calif. The amphora require as much as 900 pounds of clay, 90 days to dry and a 60-hour kiln firing. His first vintage of producing wine involving amphora was 2013.
"For a long time, the interest was in the fact that there was this potter and he was a winemaker, but the story was about him making amphora," said his wife, Annedria. "It was never about the wine because there wasn't very much wine available. It didn't make it out into the world.
"Now he is making enough wine, and they are making it out into the world," she continued. "Now people are interested in the vessel because the wines are beautiful. It's come full circle."
Those wines that spend time in amphora are labeled as A.D. Beckham and include Grenache, Pinot Gris and Riesling. His other estate wines carry the Beckham Estate Vineyard brand. At this point, production of all Beckham wines stands at about 3,000 cases. From the 2018 vintage, about 1,600 cases will have spent time in amphora of various sizes.
Both tiers of Beckham wines are sold at their mountaintop estate tasting room, as are Beckham's stunning ceramic artwork. Winemakers may inquire about ordering an amphora, which retail for $2,900.
While Beckham Estate Vineyard is part of the Chehalem Mountains Wine and Art Loop, it is not part of Mt. Hood Territory passport program.
Christopher Bridge Cellars - Oregon City
Satori Springs Estate Vineyard represents much of what’s important to Chris Carlberg, who grew up knowing it as Westwind Farm. The 80 acres have been in his family for three generations, spanning more than six decades and populated by cattle and various fruits. In 1998, the school teacher with German roots began to transform it into a second career,
Carlberg got a helping hand early on when his brother-in-law, Chris Camarda of famed Seattle-area Andrew Will Winery, worked on the wines from the 2001, 2002 and 2003 vintages. The next three vintages were made by Laurent Montalieu. By 2007, Carlberg received instruction in Salem at what is now the wine studies program at Chemeketa Community College, and he’s moved his wine production to the vineyard. Recently, he and wife Susanne began to work with their three children on bringing them into the winery, with Stuart the most hands-on with vines and the wine.
Mainstays are Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Muscat as well as the German varieties Blaufränkisch, Ehrenfelser, Grüner Veltliner, Kerner, Siegerrebe and Zweigelt.
Not long ago, the Carlbergs nearly lost their home to fire, and they take special care of those wine-loving firefighters who saved their house. Fortunate visitors may be treated to one of Susanne’s wood-fired pizzas.
Forest Edge Vineyard - Oregon City
Ron Webb and his wife Jan Wallinder live under at geodesic dome and practice the concept of permaculture with their vineyard on the edge of their own 45 forested acres near Beaver Creek, three miles east of Christopher Bridge Cellars. They generate nearly all of the power for their winery and their home through solar panels. In addition to estate Pinot Noir, Gamay and Chardonnay, they also grow and produce the French red hybrid Léon Millot and sparkling hard cider.
Hanson Vineyards - Woodburn
There are no flabby wines from Jason Hanson, who teams up with his folks to grow and make wines from 14 acres of vines from three parcels that have a history in berries and walnuts through four generations.
“Acid-driven. Transparent. Adventurous,” is how he describes his work with varieties that include Auxerrois, Gamay, Gewürztraminer, French hybrids Marechal Foch and Léon Millot and the Russian-born Golubok, one of the rare grapes with red skin and red juice. The Hansons are among the handful of Northwest producers working with this early ripener.
“It’s an easy grow; it’s a good producer, and it has no disease issues,” Hanson said. “We don’t have to spray. I’m as little as intervention as I can be with everything, but I’m not dogmatic.”
His flagship wine, called Rustic Red, is on a tear earning placement at Portland’s buzzworthy Ned Ludd, Whole Foods Markets throughout the Rose City and Dundee-area eateries Red Hills Market and Ruddick Wood.
Hanson earned a master’s degree at George Washington University spent more than a decade as a political researcher living in our nation’s capital before he got burned out on making politics his business.
“In 2005, we got our winery license and became the 215th winery in Oregon,” Hanson said. “Now there are 800.”
King's Raven Winery - Oregon City
He’s old school, resourceful and a bit out of the box, but Darin Ingram has found a few niches that help him to stand out along the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail.
“I was doing video production and web development, and it led to a few years of regatta coverage for Rolex,” said Ingram, who grew up in 4-H. “This is my third year of being committed to the winery.”
If it’s a red wine, odds are that it will be foot-pressed and fermented with ambient yeast. He and his folks bonded the winery in 2003, but their family history in the Willamette Valley stretches back to a forefather who fought in the Civil War and was given land near Oregon City. His grandfather moved onto their farm in 1942, and Ingram still employs tractors from the World War II era.
Beyond the ubiquitous cool-climate varieties, Ingram has generated headlines at his 1,200-cases winery and raised awareness for obscure grapes such as Phoenix, a white German cross of aromatic Bacchus and the hybrid Villard Blanc, and French hybrid Chelois from nearby Epyllion Vineyard. There’s also estate work with Riesling, Gewürztraminer and hybrids Maréchal Foch and Léon Millot.
“The Oregon City Farmers Market managers bought a historic farm in Oregon City that had Chelois planted in the 1930s,” he said. “That goes back to Prohibition and a guy from New York who was bringing in these vines from France.”
King’s Raven’s own 1-acre planting of Chelois, targeted for production in 2019, came from these Oregon City cuttings. Other attractions beyond the 15-acre vineyard is the small amphitheater that stages summer concerts and outdoor movies.
Terra Vina Wines - Wilsonville
One of the two members west of Interstate 5, Karl and Carole Dinger farm Dalla Terra Vineyards along Parrett Mountain within the Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area. They operate a tasting room in downtown McMinnville. Despite that, they are just inside the western edge of Clackamas County, so they have chosen to join the Mt. Hood Territory group.
Unlike most of the group, Terra Vina pulls a significant amount of its grapes from Washington state. Their GSM blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre hails from acclaimed Elephant Mountain Vineyard in the Rattlesnake Hills, as does their Malbec. There’s also a Petite Sirah from the Yakima Valley, a Zinfandel from the Walla Walla Valley, Syrah from The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater and a Spanish-inspired blend with Tempranillo.
They also stand out from the rest with a sparkling Zin and a Pinot Noir blend from the 2011, 2012 and 2013 vintages.
Villa Catalana Cellars - Oregon City
A decade ago, psychologist-turned nurseryman Burl Mostul and his wife, Cindy, created a remarkable 14-acre venue in the Beaver Creek Valley with stone walls and garden inspired by trips to Italy and Spain.
Their estate includes a vineyard and remarkable patio complemented by their outdoor wood-fired pizza oven and buffet lunch. At this point, the tasting room and various gardens are open only on Saturday afternoons, so you are limited to when you can sample Burl’s fortified berry wine and estate Pinot Noir programs, both of which received gold at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle. There’s also Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and estate Pinot Gris.
Whiskey Hill Winery & Postlewait's Vineyards - Canby
The Postlewaits also came at the wine industry from a different direction, starting as farmers who created a bucolic wedding venue within the Whiskey Hill region before government regulations prompted them to begin planting 15 acres in 2008 and develop a wine program.
“It’s kind of funny because there is no whiskey around here, and there are no hills - it’s all flat farm ground,” chuckled Chris Helbling, who married into the family and has become the winemaker after spending a decade in law enforcement.
Jason Hanson of Hanson Vineyards serves as his winery lifeline. Their wineries are 12 minutes apart, and Helbling’s 2017 Maréchal Foch came off Hanson Vineyards. That will change as the Postlewaits have planted Foch along with Léon Millot. They also buy Syrah from nearby St. Josef’s, but their flagship wine is estate Dijon 115 clone Pinot Noir grown by owners Gary and Carolyn Postlewait. The white program includes Pinot Gris as they built up their overall production to about 800 cases. There’s also a separate Postlewait’s Vineyards label for the events center, which books as many as 90 weddings a year.
Wooden Shoe Vineyards - Woodburn
Iverson Family Farms started out with beans and hops before branching out to more than 100 crops, but the public has come to identify them with their annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival from late March to early May.
In 2009, Jon Iverson convinced his family to enter the wine industry. These alumni of Oregon State University planted vines and their first commercial vintage was timed with the classic vintage of 2012. Of course, they branded their winery as Wooden Shoe Vineyards.
Wooden Shoe fits nicely within the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail by offering Pinot Noir and Maréchal Foch. They distinguish themselves, however, with Spanish varieties Tempranillo and Albariño.
Their winemaker, Sean Morris Allen of Pudding River Wine Cellars in Salem, also produces a pair of bubbles featuring Muscat and Albariño.
The Iversons also operate Red Barn Hemp, creating estate CBD products. As a result, Wooden Shoe is among the few on the wine trail to operate a tasting room that’s open daily.
Boring Winery - Boring
These folks made history in Oregon starting out by operating a winery and a brewery in the same building in 2017 as Boring Winery and Tap Room along the Mount Hood Highway between Gresham and Sandy. Last fall, Boring Brewing Co., struck out on its own and moved to Sandy. They produce nearly a dozen wines, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and the rare Niagara, with indoor/outside seating, cornhole games and live music. Sometimes, the band featuring winery owner Curt Thies performs. They continue to pour regional craft beers and kombucha, and the Thies family has helped raise more than $400,000 to fight pediatric cancer in Oregon.
Buddha Kat Winery - Sandy
The time came for Lorie Dilley to leave Alaska and join her sister Barbara in Oregon to help care for their father, so Lorie retired as a geologist at an engineering company she was part owner in. She had made a bit of wine for friends and family and saw that historic Wasson Brothers Winery in Sandy was for sale.
“I was like, ‘OK, I’ll buy it and jump in to it,” Lorrie said with a hearty laugh. “We’d get blueberries and grapes and play around with them in Alaska, but I never did the type of production we’re doing here. I needed something to do.”
She relaunched as Buddha Kat Winery, and at 1,000 cases has found a sweet spot with succulent nongrape wines that span blackberry, blueberry, cherry, raspberry and rhubarb.
There’s also Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, and she recommends any of her berry wines with grilled pork and beef.
She takes it a step further with her Chat Noir tier — fortified examples of blackberry and blueberry, as well as the Gatina Preta Port-style with Tinta Cão, Touriga Naçional and Tempranillo. Her most decorated wine, however, is the Framboise Chocolat, a fortified that won a double gold at the prestigious 2016 San Francisco International Wine Competition.
“It’s funny. I know that dogs get the attention, but boy, there are a lot of cat people,” she said. “At festivals, people will say, ‘I had to come over because I love cats, and I have to try your wine.’ We get that a lot, and it’s fun marketing that has worked really well. I have to credit my kids for that.”
The sisters also have found success with their satellite tasting in Seaside, where they established a clever tradition of celebrating Cinco de Meow.
“Sandy is a little ways from the wine world for Oregon, but people go up the mountain, and there’s a lot of tourism in the summer,” she said. “The Seaside tasting room is right on the beach, and that one does by far the best business.”
Myriad of outdoor and cultural activities available
Clackamas County promotes outdoor activities as well as the wine industry — and for good reason. This region boasts more than 50 parks within an hour’s drive from the Rose City. The Mount Hood National Forest has a trail system spanning more than 1,200 miles, some with waterfalls or huckleberries.
Cycling is an important part of the fabric for several winemakers, and not far from Buddha Kat Winery is the stop for the Mt. Hood Express bus that caters to mountain bikers heading to trailheads in the Mount Hood National Forest. There’s also the Cascading Rivers Scenic Bikeway along the Clackamas River.
eNRG Kayaking is a guide and rental service for all skill levels on both the Willamette and Clackamas rivers. Their experiences include a tour of Willamette Falls and a moonlight paddle.
Willamette Falls Electric Boat Co. rents Duffy boats that can get you up-close and personal views.
The World of Speed motorsports museum includes hands-on exhibits geared for children.
Golfers, bring the sticks. The list of courses in the area include some of the Northwest’s top private clubs and public courses. Eastmoreland played host to the 1990 U.S. Public Links. Langdon Farms is west of Canby. The City of Lake Oswego maintains a rarity these days, an 18-hole par-3 that also accommodates foot golf. Peter Jacobsen-designed Oregon Golf Club next to Tumwater Vineyard is private.
There’s no shortage of yoga opportunities. King’s Raven Winery blends yoga with wine tasting on Thursday nights. Marquam Hill Ranch comes with alpaca yoga. Oregon City is home to goat yoga, and eNRG Kayaking will show you SUP Yoga - stand-up paddleboard yoga at Willamette Park in West Linn.
Those who enjoy the garden exhibits at Villa Catalana Cellars will appreciate Bosky Dell Natives in West Linn near Pete’s Mountain, where conservationist Lory Duralia offers more than 300 species of plants native to the Pacific Northwest.
Lake Oswego is one of Oregon’s more well-heeled communities, and this region in particular shows strong support for the arts. The Gallery Without Walls includes 66 sculptures displayed throughout the city. Contact the Arts Council to arrange for a docent-led tour.
Patrons of performing arts should check out the schedule for the Lakewood Center for the Arts in Lake Oswego, Nutz-n-Boltz Theater Company in Boring, New Century Players Community Theater in Milwaukie and the Clackamas Repertory Theatre in Oregon City.
Lodging and dining venues
Where to stay
The family-owned Lakeshore Inn in downtown Lake Oswego provides a nice basecamp from which to explore the Mount Hood Territory. This older property near Millennium Park is part of the Westover Inns group and overlooks Lakewood Bay. Their dockside pool is a three-block walk in any direction to breakfast, coffee, lunch, dinner, shopping at Lake View Village and a Whole Foods Market.
While there are myriad chains represented in the area, the renovated Best Western Plus Rivershore Hotel in downtown Oregon City stands out.
The Clackamas River House and the wooded grounds of Mt. Scott Manor in Happy Valley rank among the top-rated B&Bs. A unique experience near Oregon City awaits at Newt Wash Wildlife Ranch, a creekside retreat among 14 acres of restored habitat.
Edging toward Mount Hood is the Sandy Salmon Bed & Breakfast Lodge, Hidden Woods at Alder Creek near Sandy and the Mt. Hood Wine Country Lodge.
For a roundup of options, special deals and the litany of vacation rentals by owner, go to mthoodterritory.com/places-to-stay.
Where to eat
Farm-to-table is a constant theme for restaurants within the Mt. Hood Territory, yet the majority of choices limit wine lovers to dining in Lake Oswego, West Linn and Oregon City.
Allium Bistro in West Linn widely is viewed as the most supportive of the area wineries, and executive chef Pascal Chureau takes his show on the road as part of his Field & Vine "Dinner in the Field" winemaker events.
West Linn and the community of Willamette are havens for locally owned restaurants supportive of the wine industry. There’s (Five-0-Three) Restaurant & Bar, named after the Oregon area code. The first Sunday afternoon of each month brings a chance to taste 30 Northwest wines for $10. There’s also Thai Lemon, and Willamette Valley chain Lá Sen Vietnamese Grill has one of its five restaurants in West Linn just north of I-205.
Bugatti’s Ristorante in West Linn features Pinot Gris from Oregon and Italian reds. The 25-year-old McMenamins West Linn isn’t far from Oregon Golf Club, and they pay tribute to Shivas Irons with a 40-foot mural depicting scenes of Michael Murphy’s thought-provoking Golf in the Kingdom novel
Tavern on Kruse in Lake Oswego took the farm-to-table theme to another level when owner/operator Kent Lewis used wood from farm buildings he cleared to line his upscale restaurant. The Maple Bacon Game Hen by chef Nate Bates would pair with many from Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail producers.
Bob’s Red Mill in Milwaukee is a Mecca for fans of whole grains and baked goods, and there’s also the fun restaurant at the employee-owned business.
Stickmen Brewing in Lake Oswego serves breakfast, lunch and wood-fired pizza with a view of the lake.
Stone Cliff Inn offers outdoor dining overlooking the Clackamas River.
For a special experience, sign up for one of Jessica Hansen’s cooking classes at The Kitchen at Middleground Farms in Wilsonville. In the summer, there are cooking camps for children, and she also books stays at the two-story guest barn on her family’s 17-acre farm.
In the southern end of Clackamas County for morning and afternoon, there’s the Fir Point Farms mercantile for local treats and baked goods. The MarKum Inn along Highway 213 in Molalla showcases local steaks, smoked meat and a nice array from the Mt. Hood Territory Wine Trail and Cascade Foothills Winegrowers.
Out toward Boring Winery, Buddha Kat and Mount Hood, there’s remarkable AntFarm Cafe & Bakery in Sandy. Breakfast and lunch cater omnivores, locavores and gluten-free folks as much of the produce is a product of AntFarm’s Community Garden and Farmer’s Market. They made their mark in 2013 starting with homemade gelato, and don’t pass up their Vegan Garlic Tomato Soup.
Food Network darling Kyra Bussanich won Cupcake Wars four times with her pioneering work with gluten-free baking, a path driven by her years of suffering from auto-immune disorder. In May 2011, months after her first TV appearance, she opened Kyra’s Bake Shop in downtown Lake Oswego. It’s a casual full-service neighborhood restaurant that’s a local hangout and 100 percent celiac-safe.
NOLA Doughnuts on State Street in Lake Oswego shows its allegiance to New Orleans with delectable beignets, praline treats, King cakes and the Cajun Maple Bacon La’ssant doughnut.
Lark Café in West Linn is sister property of Allium Bistro.
TMK Creamery in Canby plays up its "cowlebrities" during Saturday tours for the public and partners with Tumwater Vineyard and Pete’s Mountain on winemaker dinners.
Grano Bakery in Oregon City spotlights local grains in its beautiful lineup of sourdough breads and pastries for breakfast and lunch six days a week.