You’ve got one boot out the car door, and the dogs are already romping wildly through the parking lot — snow happy. As their dad helps the bigger kids clip into skis and grandma cinches the little one into a pack, you grab the picnic and hurry to catch up. Everyone is ready to glide off into the snowy Oregon woods together.
That’s why it’s so easy to love cross-country skiing in Oregon; it takes all comers. Choose your own pace through the beautiful tree-lined corridor. Stop for lunch next to an icicle-covered creek and keep an eye out for bright-eyed birds and squirrels foraging the snowy ground. And don’t forget the hot chocolate.
Here’s a sampling of Oregon’s cross-country ski trails to try this winter.
At Mt. Hood, zip along 15 kilometers of groomed trails through the woods and into open meadows at the Mt. Hood Meadows Nordic Center. (You can rent gear or take a lesson at the center, too.) No dogs are allowed here, but nearby Bennet Pass Sno Park offers access to rugged back-country trails. For a challenging route, check out the 3.2-mile one way trail to the Clear Lake Butte Lookout, which departs from Skyline Sno Park. The 1962 fire lookout can be rented for an overnight stay.
It’s no surprise that Bend, home to the national XC Nordic team, has amazing cross-country trails. Check out groomed tracks like those maintained by the Meissner Nordic Club. For dog-friendly skiing, check out the Wanoga Sno-Park or the popular and scenic 2.5-mile Tumalo Falls Trail.
Near the town of Ashland, the Buck Prairie area offers 17 miles of trails with terrain for beginners to experts. No dogs allowed here, but they are welcome at the nearby Buck Prairie II. From Pederson Sno-Park, you can ski a 1.8-mile section of the Pacific Crest Trail to the Brown Mountain Shelter. Talk to the Southern Oregon Nordic Club for details about these and other trails.