Bring on the snowstorms, cold temperatures and even the rain! One thing we love about Oregon winters is our great indoors. A fireside armchair, hot cup of tea (or glass of wine) and a good book are in order. Here are some great spots for warming up this winter.
If your idea of winter bliss is rolling out of bed, popping on your snowshoes or cross-country skis and heading out the door, LaPine State Park is calling. The park’s 10 cabins (half of which are deluxe, with private bathrooms) are enchanting in winter, adjacent to the Upper Deschutes River and dotted with forested trails including Oregon’s largest ponderosa pine, thought to be 500 years old. Three of the deluxe cabins and two of the rustic cabins are pet-friendly, so Fido can make the trip. Thirty minutes north, Bend offers plenty of urban winter adventuring.
Ski and snowshoe
Warm up from the inside out with a snowy hike to a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout. Fire lookouts in the Deschutes, Fremont, Mt. Hood, Rogue River, Umatilla, Willamette and Malheur national forests offer an escape into the winter woods. (Reservations are made well in advance through Recreation.gov.) After some off-the-beaten-path snowshoeing at Billy Bob Sno-Park, cozy up at the Historic Balch Hotel in Dufur.
Soak it all in
Listen to the coyotes calling through the desert night from your personal hot tub at Brasada Ranch outside of Bend. Enjoy a rejuvenating soak in the bath house at Hot Lake Springs, a restored 19th-century mineral spa near La Grande. The beautiful forest around Terwilliger Hot Springs provides a wonderful natural setting for a soak (and many bathers go au naturel in this clothing-optional spot); or for a more family-friendly option, play and stay at the nearby Belknap Hot Springs and Lodge. In Sisters, the beer-inspired Hop in the Spa offers a one-of-a-kind soak, then settle in at FivePine Lodge & Spa.
Storm watching season
Watch winter squalls rage across the Pacific Ocean in Yachats from your room at the Overleaf Lodge or the hotel’s third-floor hot tub. Cozy up at a one of Oregon State Parks’ many yurts on the Coast, where you’re just a stone’s throw from the driftwood-strewn beach. The rooms at Astoria’s Cannery Pier Hotel & Spa offer stellar views of giant freight ships passing under the steel cantilever trusses of the Astoria-Megler Bridge. On the South Coast, you’ll find stunning ocean views from the cliff line at Shore Acres State Park.
Stroll through the gardens
Relax in a guesthouse at the Oregon Garden Resort, adjacent to the Oregon Garden in Silverton. Walk through the gardens, ponds and waterfalls, and take in the beauty of winter-blooming plants. Book a room at the luxurious Allison Inn & Spa in Newberg for a peaceful retreat in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country.
If You Go:
Winter in Oregon can be chilly and wet, or crystal-clear and sunny — so wear waterproof layers, sturdy shoes and don’t forget your sunglasses. Learn how to come prepared by brushing up on tips at How to Winter Like an Oregonian. Before setting out, make sure you have purchased any necessary Forest Service recreation passes. Whatever your adventure entails, from hiking to sandboarding, follow Leave No Trace principals, including packing in and out, leaving what you find where it’s at, and respecting wildlife and other visitors. It’s a good idea when adventuring to carry plenty of water along with your 10 Essentials and know that cell service may be spotty, so download maps and trail directions.
There are many ways to take a car-free getaway in Oregon, and truly sit back and enjoy the ride. If you are traveling by car, be sure to check road and weather conditions before heading out and carry snow chains or traction tires when advised.