Snow, Glorious Snow
On the mountain, skis and snowboards reign supreme, but it’s high time snowshoes and sleds had their day in the sun — er, snow. On snowshoes, we can hike to hidden lakes and stroll through tree-lined forests. On sleds, we can cruise down mountainsides and catch air on jumps. Follow us as we head to the mountains to climb through backcountry and glide down Oregon’s best hillsides.
There’s lots of fun to be had at Mt. Bachelor, where you can hook up with Wanderlust Tours for a guided trek around the mountain and the Deschutes National Forest with a local naturalist, or let the rubber meet the snow at Bachelor’s Snowblast Tubing Park.
Rent shoes at the Nordic Center at Willamette Pass and explore more than 12 miles of groomed and tracked trails in the Willamette National Forest. If you’re here over a weekend, pick up a tube and slide down the hill at the Nordic Tubing Center.
With four ski areas on Mt. Hood alone, there are countless areas in which to get your snowshoe and sled on. Avoid the crowds and head over to the Cooper Spur tubing center, where there are two runs for sledding, complete with rope tows to help you back up the hill. For the kiddos (or the young at heart), check out the carousel fun ride, which pulls inner tubes around in a circle like a merry-go-round.
Strap on snowshoes for a moderate trek with maximum views at Mirror Lake or Trillium Lake, both located just outside of Zigzag. Mt. Hood Adventure can take you for a moonlight snowshoe or for a Hawk Watch from on high. If you’re heading from Portland there are lots of shops — from Gresham all the way to Zigzag — where you can stop to rent gear for the day.
Explore the backcountry trails in Eastern Oregon at the remote Spout Springs Ski Resort, where $10 gets you a day’s pass on all the trails. But for the ultimate ski getaway, head out with Wing Ridge Ski Tours or Wallowa Alpine Huts. Both groups offer guided, multiday trips among the 9,000-foot crests of Wallowa Mountains and stays inside one of their snowbound backcountry huts and yurts.
Take a longer hike in Southern Oregon, starting at Bull Gap Snowpark. The 5.7-mile trail leads you to the lodge at Mt. Ashland, where a reward of hot chocolate — or maybe even a hot toddy — awaits. Or, take part in ranger-led snowshoe hikes at Crater Lake National Park every Saturday and Sunday through April.
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