63010 E Brightwood Bridge Road, Brightwood, 622-1568, facebook.com/BrightwoodTavern. 10 am-2:30 am daily.
Brightwood is still a one-horse town. Fabled for lodging woodcutters, Mount Hood's search-and-rescue team and the men who constructed Timberline Lodge, this town still operates on the 40-ounce diet. The heart and soul of a town with a 4-to-1 male-female ratio? The Brightwood Tavern. The best choice is a boilermaker with as well a whiskey as they make and as cheap a lager as you can find. A quick drink and grim story to tell your mixologist friends about the horrors of the unsophisticated imbiber is what you'll get here. But honestly, a crisp crap lager and the smell of tenured cigarette smoke is sometimes the perfect escape from the specialty, craft and artisanal ho-hum of the city. The Brightwood Tavern is about as honest a watering hole as there is, and it's a must-stop for Mount Hood adventures. NICK VISCONTI.
The Cannabis Corner
484 Evergreen Drive, North Bonneville, Wash., 509-427-4393, thecannabiscorner.org. 10 am-5 pm Monday, 10 am-7 pm Tuesday-Sunday.
The world's first city-owned weed store, this no-frills shed in the wilds of North Bonneville, which sits across the river from Cascade Locks, is a bold gambit by a city with a cash-flow problem. Last year, the city manager used dwindling cash reserves to form a public development authority that could apply for one of Skamania County's two state-issued marijuana sales licenses and build this blue metal shack on the edge of town. It opened last month, an occasion marked by a "grand opening" banner hung between two concrete pylons off the Evergreen Highway and visits from NPR, Al Jazeera and Bloomberg News. Inside the shop—it has a gravel parking lot and a green velvet rope at the entrance—things were going well. It had $15 gram bags from three Washington producers and some of the friendliest and most chill city employees you'll ever encounter. MAJOR E. SKINNER.
Charlie's Mountain View
88462 E Government Camp Loop Road, Government Camp, 272-3333, charliesmountainview.com. 11 am-2:30 am daily.
In the heart of Gov'y, Charlie's Mountain View has been a go-to watering hole for as long as there's been a town, and is adorned with years of photos, posters and stickers chronicling mountain culture to prove it. While the restaurant side exists, serving the same menu as in the bar, the bar side provides a much more vibrant social scene, Big Buck Hunter and a rotating screen saver featuring photos of anyone local enough to own a pinner—ask someone who looks like they haven't left the bar in 20 years for more details. If you're hungry, get the veggie burger or one of the daily specials, but skip the pizza as there are better pies across the street at the Ratskeller. In the summer, Charlie's is overrun with pro skiers and snowboarders, pounding down cheap tallboys of Rainier and tossing high-fives, and you never know if you'll be sitting next to an Olympic gold medalist or just some dirtbag hoping someone accidentally rings the bell, a mistake that requires them to buy the bar a round. BROOKE GEERY.
89018 E Little Trail, Government Camp, 333-7623, facebook.com/cobradogs. 1-9 pm daily.
You can't miss the red-and-yellow hot-dog cart that lives in front of the dodge-ball court on the east end of Gov'y. It's the one with the line of campers waving wads of their parents' cash, eager to get their mouths around an all-beef boa, chedda-conda, or any of the other gourmet wieners on the menu. While summer camp is in session (mid-June to mid-August), Cobra Dogs is a place to see and be seen, and the hot dogs really do live up to the hype. Top your choice of tubular meat with bacon bits, sauerkraut, cream cheese, jalapeños and onions, and don't forget the Cobra Sauce. It's also home to the cheapest Red Bull in town, which is also available in slushie form. Whatever you do, though, don't ask for ketchup—it's taken as a personal insult to owner and founder Cory Grove. BROOKE GEERY.
8 4th St., Hood River, 541-387-0042, doublemountainbrewery.com. 11 am-10 pm daily.
The best food in Hood River is nearly always at brewpubs, and Double Mountain brings its knowledge of Wyeast yeast to bear on its char-crusted, New Haven-style, brick-fired pizzas that rank highly even among Portland's best. Pair the Jersey Pie—with hot capicola and Mama Lil's peppers—with one of a raft of seasonals, whether Devil's Kriek, Pale Death Belgian Imperial IPA, or an anise-rich root beer blend for kids. PARKER HALL.
Glacier Haus Bistro
88817 E Government Camp Loop Road, Government Camp, 272-3471, glacierhaus.com. Wednesday-Thursday 11 am-9 pm, Friday-Saturday 11 am-10 pm, Sunday 11 am-9 pm.
Government Camp is still small enough for unknown niches to be served by enterprising newcomers, which handily explains how the finest (not to be confused with "fine") dining option in the village came to be. The proprietors of Glacier Haus are of Czech descent, which leaves a meaty mark on a menu that frequently employs schnitzels and smoked meats as the centerpiece of its sandwiches and entrees. The vibe is European in a vague, lived-in kind of way that's perfect for a first date with the cutie you serendipitously shared a Palmer-bound lift chair with earlier in the day. She'll be gone in search of fresh powder in the morning, but Glacier Haus will be there in that rare moment when you feel like being an adult and eating boar and fennel on your pizza. PETE COTTELL.
High Mountain Cafe
88335 E Government Camp Loop Road, Government Camp, 272-3059, highmountaincafe.com. 8 am-4 pm daily.
Located uphill from the Ratskeller, High Mountain Cafe is a godsend for groggy mountaineers in need of massive portions to fuel their hikes up the free side of the mountain. Show up around 10 am and you'll find lifties and looky-loos alike stopping in to charge their phone, fuel up on an oversized omelet and guzzle an oversized cup of coffee that's as good as any other in town. It fills up quick in the summer on weekends, and the arcade in the next room serves as an ad hoc seating area for Hood rats who'd rather sit on a claw-machine game than pay out the ear for the ho-hum table service at the Huckleberry Inn. PETE COTTELL.
Joe's Donut Shop
39230 Pioneer Blvd., Sandy, 668-7215, joes-donuts.com. 4 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 5 am-5 pm Saturday-Sunday.
It's arguably Oregon's best doughnut shop, and you can't miss it. This candy-striped dough den is an institution of 40 years, and yet still pushes things with new innovations like a ridiculously rich cronut. The line moves fast, the coffee is decent and we've never had anything that didn't taste like it came fresh out of the fryer. Hang around for a few minutes and you're bound to overhear a reliable weather report and whatever gossip is working its way around the hill. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Mt. Hood Roasters
73451 E U.S. 26, Rhododendron, 622-6574, mthoodroasters.com. 8 am-5 pm daily.
Nestled behind some fir trees in Rhododendron, this cabin-turned-coffee-shack doesn't look like much, but it may be the last bastion of hope for serious caffeination before the climb up U.S. 26 toward Government Camp. With growler fills of cold brew, a "gift shop" handsomely stocked with miscellaneous supplies like V60 filters and spare French press beakers, and a carefully curated selection of coffee roasted in a tiny electric setup about 6 feet away from the bean wall, Mt. Hood Roasters is the quaintest and greatest coffee stop on the west slope of Mount Hood. The roasts skew dark, which some Portlanders with a preference for brighter Stumptown variants may find off-putting, but the Applegate Trail roast is a classic bold roast that's nothing like the swill your weird uncle prefers because his tastebuds are charred from decades of chain-smoking Lucky Strikes. PETE COTTELL.
Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum
88900 Government Camp Loop, Government Camp, 272-3301, mthoodmuseum.org. $5 donation suggested.
Did you know that the guy who invented shaped skis brought them to Hood for testing? Or that there was once a weird flying bus thing that carried skiers from Gov'y to Timberline lodge in 20 minutes? Well, you'll pick up even more trivia at the little museum in Government Camp, which has a fine collection of antique mountaineering gear, priceless old photos and a spectacular room-sized relief map of the forests around Oregon's tallest peak. After that, go to Charlie's for bawdier stories about the mountain.
Nature's Country Store
15252 SE Oregon 224, Damascus, 658-3800. 8:30 am-7 pm Monday-Saturday, 10 am-7 pm Sunday.
At the eastbound fork of Oregon highways 212 and 224–one way goes up the mountain, the other down to the Clackamas River–there is a one-stop oasis one would never expect in the down-mountain 'burbs. Nature's Country Store (once called Alice's) sells bundles of firewood along with dairy and produce from the surrounding farms, but within, there's a 42-deep beer bar called Bigfoot's that will fill your stainless-steel camping growler with Ayinger doppelbock or Breakside Amuse saison for $14. And if that weren't enough, a dude in the parking lot who calls himself "the barbecue guy" will send you off with a rack of ribs or a side of smoked pork, or maybe just a $10 lunch plate, from 11:30 am until he's out of meat. Whatever else you think you need, it can't be bought. MATTHEW KORFHAGE.
Pfriem Family Brewers
707 Portway Ave, Suite 101, Hood River, 541-321-0490, pfriembeer.com. 11:30 am-9 pm daily.
Rack & Cloth
1104 1st Ave., Mosier, 541-965-1457, rackandcloth.com. 4-10 pm Thursday-Friday, noon-10 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Yes, Double Mountain has the booze-and-pizza game locked down in Hood River. Next time, drive five miles east to a tiny cidery and pizza shop in the town of Mosier (pop. 433). The flagship cider is an admirably dry and quaffable drop called Stony Pig. The bare-bones menu listed on a posterboard is always in flux, but on our visit included a very nice hummus plate, a sturdy broccolini salad and a tasty pizza of roasty eggplant, feta and basil.
88335 E Government Camp Loop, Government Camp, 272-3635, ratskellerpizzeria.com. 11 am-2:30 am daily.
If Charlie's is to be considered "the bar" in Government Camp, then the Ratskeller is certainly worthy of defaulting into "the pizza place." While the wood-hewn lodge feel and chronic day-drinking isn't a wild departure from what's happening across the street, one gets the impression that the folks running the Rat knew there was more at stake than making better pizza in a family-friendly atmosphere than Charlie's (which they definitely do). Known oddities from big names like Rogue Yellow Snow IPA and HUB Abominable Winter ale highlighted a small but well-curated tap list that is all available in growler fills to keep the party going well in to the nether hours of the night. PETE COTTELL.
Sandy Shell Station
38422 Proctor Blvd., Sandy, 668-6822.
You know that Shell station in Sandy, just as U.S. 26 splits into two one-way streets? That's a top stop for the people who make first tracks all winter. Inside there's a little kitchen that churns out big, potato-heavy breakfast burritos that are easy to eat with one hand on the wheel and will keep you on the lifts until midafternoon. The hours are sorta iffy, but it's worth trying year-round if you're passing through and want something more substantial than a doughnut. MARTIN CIZMAR.
Skyway Bar and Grill
71545 E U.S. 26, Rhododendron, 622-3775, skywaybarandgrill.com. 3 pm-2:30 am Monday, Thursday-Friday, noon-2:30 am Saturday-Sunday.
Ten miles down the road from the Government Camp loop, on a stretch of U.S. 26 where it's easy to go way too fast, the Skyway beckons with its distinctive chimney and the hand-painted letters "BBQ" on the roof. Inside, the restaurant is an eclectically decorated maze of sorts, with a long, wooden bar, a piano (if you wanna play it, just ask!) and a spacious patio. Ideally, you should arrive during the daily happy hour, for the mac and cheese and slider deal–just $5. Everything on the Skyway menu is made locally or in-house–from the variety of fresh, smoked meats and distinctive barbecue sauces, to the bread and fresh, seasonal produce. And, of course, for those thirsty after a hard day of recreation, there is a full bar and extensive list of craft brews to choose from. There is also live music regularly. In a lot of ways, Skyway is more than just a restaurant, it's a roadside attraction that should not be missed. BROOKE GEERY.
603 Portway Ave, Suite 103, Hood River, 541-436-0629, stokedroasters.com. 7:30 am-5 pm Monday-Friday, 8 am-5 pm Saturday-Sunday.
Why grab a cup of coffee in some boring old shop with tatty magazines and wobbly tables when you could sip a cup in an outrageously picturesque building with sunlight shining through floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the waterfront park and the glorious expanse of the Columbia River? Hood River may be a beer town, but if you find yourself soused at 2 pm and need a pick-me-up for an afternoon of kite surfing and mountain biking, thereâs no better place to do it than Stoked Roasters. Owner Jax Mariash Koudele worked in marketing for several outdoor-gear companies, such as Lucy Activewear and Native Eyewear, before turning her talents toward coffee, and the space shows off a distinct design sensibility. Theyâre also working toward becoming one of the only coffee shops and roasters to sponsor a stable of outdoor athletes. ADRIENNE SO.
68280 E U.S. 26, Welches, 622-3244, hoodlandthriftway.com. 7 am-11 pm daily.
There is something about U.S. 26 that lends itself to Oregon's charm. Small towns, towering trees and the nose-clearing scent of pine add to little roadside attractions that don't boast, but provide some good, old-fashioned American authenticity. In front of a decrepit Thriftway grocery store in Welches, Ore., sits an industrial Weber grill waiting to be lit. It's an eyesore from the road, but look for the smoke. That's barbecued ribs and brown-sugar-marinated pulled pork that are hickory smoked and served on paper saucers to townsfolk and passers-by. Purchase a road soda or two inside, and savor one of the best-kept secrets of the new Oregon Trail. NICK VISCONTI.
515 NW Portage Road, Cascade Locks, 971-231-4599, thunderislandbrewing.com. 1-8 pm Sunday-Monday and Thursday-Friday, noon-9 pm Saturday.
Walking to the front door of Thunder Island Brewing on a misty day is quite an experience. Situated in an oddly classic-looking industrial building next to a railroad line and the Columbia River, you'll catch a glimpse of any passing ships and the shimmering steel of the Bridge of the Gods. This small-town brewery grew over the past year and now offers a small selection of freshly made pub food and, on my visit, four house-brewed beers. The IPA was unpleasantly bitter and lacked floral character, but the 5 O'Clock Pale was refreshing, with orangey zest. You'd be hard-pressed to find Thunder Island in Portland, so pencil this in as the place to stop if you find yourself at Multnomah Falls, unwilling to drive all the way to Hood River. PARKER HALL.
67441 U.S. 26, Welches, 622-0893. 7 am-9 pm daily.
As the name would seem to imply, Wraptitude specializes in wraps. With its drive-thru window, it's a great place to stop for a breakfast wrap on the way up to Hood, or head inside for a beer and some grub on the way down. The dining room is appropriately board-sports themed, including surf boards as art and stunning photography of Mount Hood. While the lunch and dinner menu includes your basic American meat and veggie staples–California club, Santa Fe wrap, Tillicum tuna and more–the most notable item is definitely the 26 burger wrap, which includes everything you'd want on a cheeseburger, plus fries, all neatly wrapped into one package. BROOKE GEERY.