Oregon backcountry winter recreation means deep snows in the high volcanoes of the Cascades and diverse opportunity in several ranges rising above dry eastern plateaus.


The Cascades have deep evergreen forest punctuated by volcanic cones that rise  dramatically and receive deep maritime snowfalls.  Their west side has lush vegetation, while their east side is more open and sunny.  Mt. Hood outside Portland covers a huge amount of terrain, with four different downhill ski areas.  Crater Lake is equally huge, but a hollow cone, and wilderness. Mt. Bachelor is a developed ski area.   The Three Sisters, Mt. Jefferson and other cones are wilderness.  And that’s just the Cascades.

The State has an extensive network of SnoParks,  with 23 SnoParks just around Mt. Hood. The SnoParks can be large  and developed and generally do a good job of separating motorized and nonmotorized recreation. The SnoParks provide parking for some of the Nordic Resorts and Community Areas.

Crater Lake National Park is a world-class destination for kick and glide touring.  The gently rolling road circumnavigating the crater is unplowed and ungroomed, highly scenic and receives bountiful snow.

Nordic Resorts

Mt. Hood Area Weather


Around Mt. Hood:

Near Bend/Santiam Pass:

Northeast Oregon:

Mt. Bachelor Area Weather


Community Areas

State Areas
Oregon has an extensive SnoPark system providing plowed trailheads in national forest areas. Obtain a SnoPark permit before you enter the mountains. Efforts are made to segregate skier and snowmobiles but many of these are multiple use trailheads with significant snowmobile use. Segregation occurs due to local practice and the lack of ready access at many trailheads (skier and snowshoers must climb up steep snowbanks.) Many areas are relatively flat and heavily forested areas where conflicts generally don’t arise due to dispersed use and the heavily forested environment.  Map of all Oregon State Park SnoPark areas.

Featured areas include:

  • On Mt. Hood, White River is justly popular (and can have huge crowds), essentially above treeline on a major drainage down the dormant volcano. Bennett and Barlow offer access to ridges running out from the mountain. Dogs are generally OK. Trillium Lake and Teacup Lake have groomed trails. Dogs not OK.
  • Near Bend, Dutchman Flat offers extensive touring and accesses some steeper backcountry runs off Mt. Tumalo. Shares staging area with snowmobiles. Working dogs in harness allowed on groomed snowmobile trails only. Deschutes NF.
  •  Gold Lake SnoPark, near Willamette Pass  Willamette NF
  • Near Santiam Pass, Santiam Pass and Maxwell Butte.  Willamette NF
  • Near Bend, Swampy Lakes. No dogs.

Full listing of SnoPark and other national forest trailheads by National Forest, with links to individual site descriptions:

Other Areas

  • Crater Lake National Park winter trail guide.  Winter brochure.
  • The wildlife refuges in the Klamath River Basin offer long, flat tours with panoramic vistas and chances to view wildlife, though the waterbird show really takes off after the snows melt.

    Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

    Klamath Marsh National Wildlife Refuge

  • McCully Basin trailhead, southeast of Joseph, provides accessible entry into the Wallowas.


  • High on Mt. Hood, Timberline Lodge is an historic old lodge. We are not aware of any groomed Nordic track, but there are plenty of backcountry opportunities.
  • Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort has two (2) yurts available for groups of 5 – 8.

Wilderness Cabins

The Forest Service rents several fire lookouts, which may see a lot of snowmobile traffic, including:


Rental Shops
In Bend:

Guide Services

Other Links

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