Recreation has played a key role in the history of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon since 1900. Residents of the Willamette Valley and other population centers have long escaped the hectic pace of cities and towns to commune with nature and play in the mountains.
This exhibit illustrates a wide, but incomplete, range of activities over the decades. The fashions and equipment may have evolved over time, but the interest in Cascades recreation has remained the same.
Camping, fishing, hunting, skiing, hiking and mountain climbing headed the list of favored recreation in the early 1900s. Various camps and retreats catering to youth, fraternal or religious groups thrived and offered many organized recreational pursuits in the Cascades for those willing to brave the often primitive roads.
Other visitors preferred the numerous rustic mountain lodges that grew popular throughout the Oregon Cascades. The completion of the Crater Lake Lodge in 1915 and Timberline Lodge in 1938 highlighted this trend. These destinations served as comfortable bases to explore and recreate in the surrounding mountains.
The development of better-paved roads into the mountains beginning in the 1920s spurred more individual travel. Meanwhile, the federal government built more reservoirs, campgrounds, hiking trails and other infrastructure that drew more visitors to the mountains.
While older forms of recreation remain popular, new types, such as snowboarding and mountain biking, have been added. The decades also have seen the growth of motorized recreation such as water skiing, jet skiing and snowmobiling.
About the Image Sources
Many of the images shown in this exhibit are from the holdings of the Oregon State Archives. These include both vintage black and white tourism photos from the mid-1900s and current color scenic images.
The staff of the Oregon Blue Book appreciate the additional information and photographs contributed for this exhibit from the following individuals and repositories:
Crater Lake National Park
Friends of Timberline
Mazamas Library and Historical Collections
Mt. Hood Museum
Murray, Barry G.
Pacific Crest Trail Association