Eastern Oregon’s Winter Secrets

December 2, 2013 (Updated March 10, 2015)

Eastern Oregon is a winter playground. You’ll discover that the east side of the state is blessed with light fluffy powder, hungry steelhead, friendly elk and day after day of bright, sunny winter weather. And then there’s the winter beer. Just do us a favor: don’t tell everyone about Eastern Oregon’s secrets.

Ski, ride and glide
Eastern Oregon is a sampler plate for skiers and snowboarders, but it’s the kind of experience that you tend to keep only to yourself and share with your best friends. Join Anthony Lakes in celebrating 50+ years of powder, or try a stroll into the backcountry with Wallowa Alpine Huts.


Snowmobile miles of trails
The Wallowas, the Elkhorns, the Blues, the Strawberries…legendary names of mountain ranges that change lives for snowmobilers. Ride across trackless high mountain meadows, or punch down mile after mile of trails to find a spot that quite possibly has only been visited by rabbits and Steller jays.

Watch the wildlife
Grab a bird book, pack up the family and head out on your own to discover wildlife that you’ll never forget.  Some of the stars you’ll see are Rocky Mountain elk, mule deer, bald and golden eagles, kestrels, all sorts of hawks, owls, bushy tailed coyote and big-footed bobcats.

Find a fish tale
Eastern Oregonians know this secret well: the wild and scenic rivers of summer fame are even more amazing when you land a brightly-colored steelhead after wading through a winter storm. Whether it be deep in a canyon along a fork of the John Day, or sharing the view with Rocky Mountain elk along the Grande Ronde, you’ll find hungry fish here. And the experience…well, that’s a fish tale to share with special friends.

Eat, drink and be merry
Winter in Oregon is best paired with a handcrafted brew, a local wine, and sampled a bowl of wheatberry chili. Play all day, or explore local heritage at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute or National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, then end the day telling stories over great food and a local beverage. Try beers named after the ski runs in the area, like Shredder’s Wheat or Tumble Off Pale Ale from Barley Brown’s.

About The

Emily Forsha
Emily is Travel Oregon's Content Manager, a proud mom, intrepid home cook and loyal Oregon Ducks fan. You can usually find her running, writing, or finding creative ways to avoid doing both, preferably over an Oregon IPA.

Featured in this story

Winding Waters River Expeditions
Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort
North Powder, Eastern Oregon
WAH, Inc
Enterprise, Eastern Oregon
Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
Pendleton, Eastern Oregon
National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Baker City, Eastern Oregon

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Ask Oregon

What are your favorite Oregon winter adventures?

During winter, there are tons of activities you can do, from skiing or snowboarding, to snowshoeing, hiking and soaking in hot springs! You can camp in the national forests or wilderness areas, or there are some campgrounds open too, depending on where you want to go. There are also some fun places to stay, like…