Welcome to Rhododendron, Oregon!

Rhododendron is an unincorporated community that is nestled in the forested shadow of Mount Hood. The Mount Hood Scenic Byway takes you through the center of this mountain vacation community. Be careful, though! If you blink, you just might miss it. 

Formally known as “Rowe”, Rhododendron earned its name from the colorful shrubs that bloom naturally in abundance from April to late May. These ornamental plants are one of the many reasons why this part of Oregon is exceptionally beautiful. During the springtime, the rhododendrons offer a splash of bold color at the base of the pure, white peak of Mount Hood that gleams overhead.

In addition to Rhododendron’s natural beauty, the community pulls in visitors from all over the country. Its close proximity to Mount Hood and the National Forest and Wilderness offers easy access to a multitude of activities such as hiking, camping, biking, skiing, and more. 

For anyone considering a move to Rhododendron Oregon, it is a great idea to learn as much as you can about the area. In this article, I am going to review some of the more interesting details about the community that may further influence your decision on moving to Oregon. Shall we get started?

This. Is. Rhododendron.

Where is Rhododendron, Oregon?

If you’re a geography guru and have never heard of Rhododendron, Oregon before, don’t worry. 

“Rhododendron is a we always stop at for food on the way to the mountain!”
– Recent Visitor

Rhododendron is located in the northwest region of the state in the mountains. It’s approximately 46 miles southeast of Portland (1 hour and 5 minute drive) and has an elevation of 1,617 feet. If you fly into Portland and rent a car, you will have a beautiful drive up towards Mt. Hood on Highway 26 though a string of big and small towns.  

The Population of Rhododendron

It is helpful to know the population statistics if you have never visited the community and are just beginning the search for the best Oregonian town for your specific desires and needs. 

Rhododendron is a small, unincorporated community where many mountain vacationers lodge for their weekend getaways. However, there are folks who live in Rhododendron year-round and find employment through the tourist attractions, dining, and lodging. 

Since Rhododendron is an unincorporated community within itself, it is, however, a part of the Mount Hood Village quasi-government formation. (It is also known as The Villages of Mount Hood.) Therefore, the population statistics are derived as a whole from the collection of small communities within this collective entity. 

The total population for The Villages of Mount Hood is roughly 3,500 residents. You may find the following statistical data useful as you research the area.

* 1,350 households presently reside in The Villages of Mount Hood

* 56% of the population are married couples

* 34% of the population are single households

* 30% of the population has children under the age of 18

* 40 years is the median age of the population

Finally, to add in a fun statistic, there are 9% more men than women in the Mount Hood Village area. If you ever pay attention to population statistics, it is more often reported that there are more women than men. Clearly, this is not the case for Rhododendron. Anyway, let us not get off track here. 

Rhododendron and Neighboring Towns

Rhododendron is situated in the far northern portion of the state. It is approximately an hour south of Hood River and an hour east of Portland. Located in Clackamas County, the unincorporated community hugs Mount hood and the National Forest and Wilderness Area. 

As previously mentioned, Rhododendron is a part of a larger quasi-government community known as The Villages of Mount Hood. The other communities included are: 

Cities and Towns near Rhododendron:

  • Zigzag
  • Government Camp
  • Brightwood
  • Welches
  • Wemme

All of these communities serve as excellent places for tourist lodging given its close proximity to Mount Hood and all the activities involved therein.

Other nearby towns and cities are as follows:

  • Portland, Oregon: 46 miles 
  • Hood River, Oregon: 52 miles N. 
  • Cascade Locks, Oregon: 17 miles NE. 
  • Sandy, Oregon: 15 miles NW. 
  • Estacada, Oregon: 15 miles SW.

As you can see, the largest city that is closest to Rhododendron is Portland. This proves the convenience of Rhododendron’s geographical location even more. The beautiful community is not only close to the majestic Mount Hood and all the fun activities Oregon prides itself on, but it is close to a main travel hub: the airport. 

Geographical Landscape and Climate for Rhododendron

As previously mentioned, Rhododendron rests at the base of Mount Hood and along the National Forest and Wilderness Area. Therefore, it is clothed in thick-wooded areas, hills, and rocky terrain. 

The climate is not so bad! The temperatures in The Villages of Mount Hood area are fairly mild through all four seasons. The average high temperature for July is typically 79 degrees Fahrenheit. The average low temperature for January is typically 32 degrees Fahrenheit. 

The area does see approximately 21 inches of snow in a typical winter seasons. (This explains why the skiing activities are so plentiful and popular in the Mount Hood area!)

If you prefer to find an Oregon town with loads of sunshine, then Rhododendron may not be the place for you. However, if you enjoy a good rainy day, Rhododendron is the place for you! While the United States, on average, sees about 38 inches of rain per year, The Villages of Mount Hood sees, on average, about 57 inches of rain per year. That is a lot of rain, umbrellas, rainboots, and raincoats to add to your collection. That portion of the state has wet seasons during the late fall and winter months. This explains why the area is always so green and lush during the warmer months and why the colorful rhododendrons bloom in abundance during the spring!

Bend OR Activities

Outdoor Recreation in Rhododendron

Rhododendron offers all the classic Oregonian activities that you can imagine: Skiing, snowboarding, hiking, camping, biking, boating, fishing, and more. 

Many visitors travel to the area to participate in winter activities on nearby Mount Hood. During the warmer months, visitors enjoy hiking and biking the challenging terrain on and near Mount Hood. 

Now that we know the popular activities in the area, let’s take a look at some cool places specifically known to Rhododendron.

Activities Include:

A. Laughing Bear Log Cabin

Be sure to book a stay at the Laughing Bear Log Cabin. It is located on E. Marion Drive and nestled within the cozy wooded area of town. The cabin is made of real logs and painted in bright red and green colors on the outside, giving it the allure of a fairytale story. (Honestly, it reminds me of the classic fairytale setting from Goldilocks and the Three Bears.) 

On the inside, it is super cozy with everything you need. My favorite part is the hot tub in the back yard! You literally warm up in the bubbly waters in the middle of the forest. It is magical.

B. Oregon Trail 1845 Historic Landmark Marker

Finding historic landmarks for history fanatics like myself is a real treat. You will find this historic landmark on E. Arlie Mitchell Road. This site marks another famous location on the Oregon Trail from where pioneers barged through the treacherous terrain in 1845. The plaque is set in a large rock that is easy to find. Placed there by the Daughters of the American Revolution, it signifies the true hardship that pioneers experienced in the area on the Oregon Trail. 

C. Fernie’s Coffee

You can’t be in Oregon and not drink the coffee. Rhododendron has a few coffee shops that are fantastic! My personal favorite coffee shop in town is Fernie’s Coffee. You can find it located along the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway. Be sure to grab a cup of Oregon coffee before you start the day!

The Economy of Rhododendron

Rhododendron residents find employment through the tourist attractions in the area, the food service sector in the area, or they commute to nearby larger cities for employment. It is not uncommon for many of them to commute to Portland for professional career positions.

I have listed below the average income salaries and tax rates for the Mount Hood Village area.

* The average yearly income salary is $30,665.

* The median household income is $57,500 a year.

* Sales Tax Rate for Rhododendron is 0%.

* The Income Tax Rate for Rhododendron is 9%.

Rhododendron Oregon History

The History of Rhododendron

Rhododendron, Oregon was originally called, “Rowe” after Henry S. Rowe, who was the Mayor of Portland in 1909. This was the year the post office was established in the community as Rowe had plans for turning the area into a popular tourist attraction. 

However, with the plethora of bold, colorful Rhododendron shrubs during the springtime months, the people could not help but change the town’s name. The blooming of these shrubs offer a special reminder of how naturally unique the Mount hood area truly is. 

Furthermore, the community of Rhododendron holds incredible history of the original pioneers who first trekked through the treacherous terrain with their wagons in order to find a better life. As mentioned earlier, the Oregon Trail flows directly through Rhododendron and serves as a reminder of the hardships the pioneers faced with traveling to the area. 

Rhododendron Oregon

Real Estate and Relocation Considerations in Rhododendron

The real estate statistics for Rhododendron is included in the Mount Hood Village real estate statistics. Rentals are very popular in the area due to the tourist aspect of its economy. Many folks rent our their vacation homes in Rhododendron while living permanently elsewhere. 

The houses in Mount Hood Village are an average age of 41 and roughly 14% of the population rent their homes. 

The average home price in Mount Hood Village is currently $440,000. 

Explore Neighborhoods in Rhododendron

Moving to Rhododendron can be a big decision for many, especially families. It is always good to research the different areas and neighborhoods before you make any kid of move. We are here to help with that process.
Below is a list of neighborhoods in Rhododendron. Each neighborhood has a link to a page further talking about it.
North Rhododendron
South Rhododendron
Downtown Rhododendron

We Look Forward to Seeing You in Rhododendron!

Now that you’ve been given the brief overview of the lovely town of Rhododendron, what do you say? Are you ready for that move? Spend the day in Rhododendron and think about it more. You’ll meet friendly people and make new friends. Rhododendron, Oregon has so much to offer!


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