Greg and I spent New Year’s weekend in Bend. On our way there on Saturday we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do some snowshoeing since it was such a gorgeous day! We stopped at the small Ikenick Sno Park (right across Highway 126 from Clear Lake) and headed out on the Isaac Nickerson Loop.
You can start off on the road, or start off with a short jaunt through the trees (marked by blue diamonds) which joins up with the road. We opted for the forest.
Once the trail dumped us on Road 650 it was easy going thanks to a nice path cleared through the snow. It looked awfully even, like it had been machine-groomed somehow. I’ve never seen anything like it. In any case, it made for fast going.
After a mile we turned onto spur 637, traveling through a young forest filling in an old clearcut site:
The snow buildup on stumps and logs was pretty amazing.
We saw all sorts of little critter tracks beside and crossing our path.
We left the old clearcut and re-entered mature forest:
Then we re-entered another recovering clearcut:
637 curved and started climbing and when we turned to look behind us we had our first view of Three Fingered Jack:
A little further along we got our one and only view of the Three Sisters, which looked beautiful on this clear day:
This was north of the sisters and we think it’s Belknap Crater:
A little further along still we got a peek through the trees at Mt. Washington:
According to our 15-year-old copy of Snowshoe Routes: Oregon, somewhere around this spot was the proposed site of a snowshoer/skier shelter. Guess that never panned out because we saw no mention of it elsewhere. The route looped around and back down to 650, which we followed back to the sno park. The section of road between the two junctions was not groomed so it was slower going. But we got another view of Three Fingered Jack:
This was a really nice loop. Not super hard, nice variety, and a few views along the way. Also, we only saw two people on the trail! We couldn’t believe our good luck, and imagined the crowds of people we would be encountering if we were at a Mt. Hood sno park that day.
Here’s a map of the route. You can click on the image to see the full map of the area:
Speaking of which, the Willamette National Forest has these really nice sno park nice trail maps on its websites. On the Maxwell Butte page they even have GPS files! I find, in general, that the quality of data and information on the WNF website is vastly superior to what you find on the Mt. Hood National Forest site.