Snowshoeing at White River

On Saturday Greg and I headed to Mt. Hood from some much-needed fresh air and nature time. We headed to the White River Sno-Park, put on our snowshoes, and started hiking upriver, with a view of the big beautiful mountain right in front of us.

White River Snowshoeing

White River Snowshoeing

White River Snowshoeing

White River Snowshoeing

It was pretty easy going. It hadn’t snowed in a few days so the trail was pretty packed down. A little over two miles in, we stopped for a snack. All around us it was white and snowy. No wind, thankfully!

White River Snowshoeing

On the next hill over (at right in the photo above) we saw two tiny figures up on top. The route up looked really steep!

White River Snowshoeing

Then we headed back down.

White River Snowshoeing

There was an impressive amount of snow on the toilets at the parking lot:

A lot of snow

Edison Sno-Park

On New Year’s Day Greg and I went snowshoeing at Edison Sno Park, which is a few miles south of the Cascade Lakes Highway on Road 45. It was a bit of a white knuckle drive due to low visibility, questionable road traction, and several cocky drivers, including a giant jacked-up pickup coming at us in the opposite direction in our lane while passing. Going way too fast and driving way too recklessly for the conditions. Good grief.

Anyway, it was a relief to get out of the car and hit the trail.


It was a winter wonderland out there with all the snow.


I’ve never snowshoed on the east side of the Cascades before and I was delighted by two things over there: 1) how the beautiful red ponderosa bark looked in the snow and 2) how fluffy the snow is! Snow on the east side is fun snow, not the awful sticky icy junk we get here in Portland.





The network of trails at Edison is quite a maze. It’s actually quite confusing. Some junctions are signed and some are not.


We managed to navigate our way to the Edison Shelter, which had an impressive amount of snow on the roof.



We sat inside enjoying the warmth of the stove and the view out the door to the snowy forest beyond. Don’t let the people-less photos fool you. We saw over a dozen people while we hung out here.



It was unclear which trail we needed to finish our loop back to the parking lot, so we followed a sign that said 1.5 miles to the sno park. Along the way passed this massively weird snow mound. I’m guessing there’s a pile of lava or boulders under there.


I think we did about 3.5 miles or so and I couldn’t tell you which trails we took. Next time we’ll bring the GPS. The map on the Forest Service page is only so-so, but there’s a better map here.

We enjoyed some beer in Ben before heading back to our cozy Airbnb cabin.


BTW, we had an interesting time getting home on Monday. We had considered doing the Tumalo Falls snowshoe before heading home, but Greg had a committment in Portland in the evening and we didn’t think we had enough time. Turns out we were right. It took us just under six hours to drive from Bend to Portland via Highway 20/22. Most of the time we were going about 30 MPH due to the heavy traffic and the snowy conditions. Sure was a beautiful drive, though, with the fresh snow on the trees.

Snowy landscape

Our AutoSocks did great, although after so many miles (we put them on near Black Butte and took them off just after Detroit Lake) they are starting to show wear. Might only get one or two more uses out of them.


Snowshoeing the Isaac Nickerson Loop

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.