The Timberline Lodge is perhaps the most instantly recognizable lodge hotel in the world.
About 60 miles east of Portland, and perched at nearly 6000 feet on the south side of Mount Hood, the lodge was built by the WPAs artisans at the height of the Great Depression. The WPA workers used large timbers and local stone, and also placed intricately carved decorative elements throughout the building that adds to its atmosphere.
Year-round, snow sport enthusiasts can enjoy its slopes and summit one of North America’s tallest active volcanoes, but this isn’t why it is so recognizable, nor would one know it as the Timberline Lodge. Most would recognize it as the Overlook Hotel, the dramatic and isolated hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.”
The actual Timberline interior, however, looks nothing like the film’s interior hotel scenes. The Timberline Lodge was actually used in only a few establishing shots; all interior scenes were shot at Elstree Studios in England using a mock-up of the Timberline’s exteriors. But while the inside does not have Technicolor carpet, nor is there a labyrinth in the parking lot (both of these were filmed on sound stages in London), the lodge’s distinct architecture still creeps out thousands of visitors who make the pilgrimage up Mount Hood every year— especially when the snowcat is parked out front of the maintenance shed.
At Halloween-time, Nike has been known to purchase the entire hotel to host a private, Shining-themed night of revelry. Twins are brought in to roam the hallways, and Danny can be found riding his Big Wheel through the dining room. Lodge employees aren’t exempt from the theme either: the main players are dressed in appropriate costume, and it’s highly suggested to work movie quotes into natural dialogue throughout the evening.
All fun aside, the mountain itself can be a very dangerous place. In the last century, over 130 lives have been lost on Hood, including one of the nations worst climbing disasters in 1986. In a bizarre accident, cult classic Omega Man director Boris Sagal was killed in the Timberline parking lot when he accidentally walked into the rotor blades of a helicopter, killing him instantly.
In spite of all the cinematic posturing, with exception of the freak accident, the building itself has a thankfully bloodless history. The Lodge’s construction was completed in fewer than 15 months, and not a single worker died or suffered a serious injury.
Next time youre in the area, go get your Shining fix: take a picture with the ax from the movie, try out your best Shelly Duvall impression, and pull your stir-crazy self together with help from a Spanish Coffee at Lodges Ram’s Head Bar. “Your money’s no good here, Mr. Torrance.”
Know Before You Go
It's an old hotel without air conditioning. Also, you will have to drive down the mountain a bit for dining options. You can eat at the hotel, but it's pricey.