Hi, my boyfriend and I are planning a vacation to the northwest region this winter. We're hoping to keep it at around 5 days, probably right after Christmas/early January, and visit Portland and Seattle, with a couple days of mountain fun in between. I want to spend a day to a day and a half hiking, skiing, or just visiting Mount Saint Helens or Mount Hood (we are going to Rainier afterwards). I've heard that the visitor centers for MSH are mostly closed in the winter, but honestly we are more outdoorsy and just want the beautiful scenery and hiking, not so much learning all about the volcano's history and that touristy stuff, so I don't know if that will be much of a problem for us?
Bottom line: Saint Helens or Hood in the winter? How much time should we spend (day trip or spend the night nearby)? If you have specifics on routes to hike/climb at that time of the year that'd be awesome as well.