With its plethora of scenic trails and quiet, peaceful forests, Bend is the perfect place to experience a wintertime journey. Any visitors eight years and older, of any skill level, can enjoy this rejuvenating activity and its picturesque sights. Read on below to find out more about snowshoeing in Bend!
Trek Through Bend’s Majestic Winter Woodlands
Located just outside of Bend, Deschutes National Forest is one of the ultimate snowshoeing locales in the state. Local snowshoe tour providers like Wanderlust Tours specialize in taking groups of snowshoe enthusiasts out into the forest via Century Drive. They provide historical insight into snowshoeing, local plants and animals, and the lifestyles of Native Americans and Europeans who once lived there.
Beyond the forest itself, there are multiple parks along Century Drive that also have extensive trails for Bend Oregon snowshoeing. These parks include Swampy Lakes, Vista Butte, Virginia Meissner (this popular park is the first sno-park you’ll find as you head towards Mt. Bachelor from downtown), Edison Butte, and Skyliner. Skyliner Sno-Park is home to Tumalo Falls Ski and Snowshoe Trail, where snowshoers can take in stunning natural views. Guests can even take their dogs with them on the ungroomed trails! Swampy Lakes does not allow dogs, but has ideal snow conditions for snowshoeing due to its higher elevation. Advanced snowshoers will enjoy Vista Butte Sno-Park and Virginia Meissner Sno-Park. Beginners and intermediate snowshoers should try out Swampy Lakes, Edison Butte, and Skyliner.
Skyliner Sno-Park is home to Tumalo Falls Ski and Snowshoe Trail, where snowshoers can take in impressive views as they make their way along the trails. Guests can even take their dogs with them on the ungroomed trails! The Sno-Park is just ten miles from downtown Bend, and this easy/moderate rated sno-park has a small system of Nordic trails perfect for a short (1-2 hour) trek.
The popular (and dog friendly) Edison Butte Sno-Park is conveniently located between Mt. Bachelor and Bend, so adding this sno-park to your trip is easy. The park offers Nordic skiing trails, and two snowshoe trails, plus acres of quiet backcountry for a peaceful, solitary snowshoe adventure.
Other snowshoeing spots include Dutchman Flat Sno-Park / Tumalo Mountain. This dedicated snowshoe trail is a two-mile hike straight up the mountain and will get your blood pumping in no time. The view from the top of the mountain is well worth the effort though, with an amazing, panoramic view of the area, including Broken Top and the Three Sisters.
Wanoga Sno-Park is another great sno-park to consider. And when you’ve finished your snowshoe excursion, you can have fun sledding on the park’s sledding hill, the only sanctioned sledding hill in the area. Wanoga is split into two separate areas, one for Nordic skiers, snowshoers, sled lovers, and fat bike enthusiasts, and the other for snowmobilers. Wanoga has a bit of everything and is a great spot for families and novices. It’s dog friendly too!
Want to leave the crowds far behind, and blaze your own trail? You can pick up a trail map at several of the Bend outdoor shops when you’re renting equipment. Or head to Willamette National Forest, Crater Lake National Park and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument for trails offering a quieter snowshoe experience, without the crowds found at the popular sno-parks.
A Few Things to Consider While Planning Your Snowshoeing Adventure
A few notes: while Wanderlust Tours recommends a minimum age of eight years for snowshoers, it will ultimately fall on the parent to decide whether their child is ready for a snowshoeing Bend Oregon adventure or not. If you want to include your kids on your snowshoeing trek, but maybe aren’t sure about their abilities (or even your own!) or just want to err on the safe side, try a guided tour or head to one of the popular sno-parks rather than heading out into the backcountry on your own.
Additionally, snowshoeing can be quite arduous for people of all ages, depending on the conditions of the trail and the type of snowshoeing gear that you have. Keep these details in mind as you select your equipment rentals and purchases from places like Pine Mountain Sports, REI, Powder House, Gear Fix, and Mountain Supply. If you’re not sure what equipment to rent or what to wear on your snowshoe adventure, just ask while you’re at one of the local sporting goods shops or give us a call. Plan on dressing in layers so you can add or subtract layers as you go and try to wear non-cotton clothing like microfleece. Don’t forget to add waterproof boots and pants. Fill your pack with extra clothes just in case, along with plenty of water and snacks too.
Finally, one of the most important rules of snowshoeing (especially in an area well-known for Nordic skiing): do not walk on the Nordic skiing tracks, as doing so will ruin the trail for Nordic skiers unnecessarily.
Explore the Wonders of Oregon with Bend Vacation Rentals
Contact our team of reservation specialists to learn more about snowshoeing and other fantastic activities and attractions you can enjoy in Bend when you reserve your stay in one of our awesome vacation rental properties today!