It’s no secret that Mt. Bachelor has stellar downhill skiing and snowboarding. But you don’t have to be a gravity addict to fully enjoy the snow-covered Cascades in Central Oregon.
A mere 20-mile drive from Bend or Sunriver, the Mt. Bachelor region boasts four unique recreation opportunities to satisfy everyone’s inner snow child. You can glide through the forest on a dogsled, get your thrills on the tubing hill, pedal a fat bike over a groomed trail or take a quiet snowshoe tour to learn about local ecology and natural history.
Ride with the sled dogs
For a truly unique adventure, go mushing with the Oregon Trail of Dreams dog sled team. If you think you are excited, just wait until you meet the dogs — they’re even more excited to pull you along! Bundled in the sled, you’ll cruise through the trees and across open meadows with views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top.
Jerry Scdoris and his daughter Rachel, an accomplished musher and Iditarod competitor, started the team to share their love of dog sledding. Tours are about an hour long, including orientation and trail time. Mushers also get to spend time with the hard-working dogs after the trip, learning how to feed and care for them. It’s almost as fun as the sledding itself.
Slide and smile at the tubing park
If you want to partake in some snow sliding but don’t care to learn how to ski or snowboard, Mt. Bachelor’s Snowblast Tubing Park might be just the thrill you’re seeking. The park consists of six groomed sledding lanes with gentle rollers for exhilarating fun. When you’re done with the 800-foot long run, hook up to the towrope, sit back and relax while you get pulled back up to the top of the hill.
The park is open all winter Fridays through Sundays, as well as weekdays during holidays and school breaks. Daylong or 2-hour passes are available; sessions often sell out for this popular family activity, so come early to purchase your tickets. All ages are welcome, but tubers must be at least 42 inches tall to ride. Tube on!
Take a snowshoe tour
Snowshoeing is winter’s version of hiking, except in the white fluffy stuff, so you don’t need any previous experience. You can have fun while learning something (and get a great workout) as you go snowshoeing with a U.S. Forest Service Naturalist. These free 90-minute tours (open to ages 10 and up) are a fantastic way to experience a wintry wonderland on foot. You’ll learn about fascinating geology and winter ecology on and around Mt. Bachelor while you walk through old-growth hemlock and fir trees.
Make sure to dress in warm winter clothing and sturdy snow boots. Snowshoes are provided, or you can use your own. The tours depart at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. every weekend, as well as weekdays during holiday periods (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) and school vacation weeks.
Ride a fat bike
Central Oregon is all about bicycles, even in the winter. Fat bikes are mountain bikes with very large, balloon-like tires that can be used in certain snow conditions. Wanoga Sno-Park, located on Cascade Lakes Highway, is the perfect place to pedal a fat bike on bike-specific groomed trails.
Taking a guided fat bike tour with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours ensures that you’ll find the best conditions for riding. They’ll also supply you with toasty hand warmers, snacks, a shuttle to and from the trails, and post-ride hot cocoa and libations. Tours typically last about three hours. If you’re adventurous and want to explore on your own, several bike shops rent fat bikes, including Pine Mountain Sports, the HUB Cyclery, Bend Cyclery and Sunriver Sports. Visit the BendTrails website for more fat-biking details.
Where to stay
Tetherow is located on Bend’s west side, so it’s a quick drive to Mt. Bachelor. It also has a range of lodging options, from full home vacation rentals to rooms at the new Tetherow Lodge.
Pronghorn Resort is a luxury resort located east of Bend with stunning views and a variety of accommodation and dining options.
Black Butte Ranch is beautifully situated west of Sisters and has vacation rentals, restaurants, spa amenities and recreation activities.
Sunriver Resort is central Oregon’s classic resort community, nestled in the pines near the scenic Deschutes River.