Get out and active in Central Oregon’s sno-parks
Central Oregon truly is a winter wonderland, especially for families.
In addition to downhill skiing, the Bend area offers a multitude of tubing, snowshoeing, sledding, ice skating, Nordic skiing and fat bike opportunities.
Want to really mix things up? Channel your inner Jack London and book a dog-sledding ride. Or better yet, bring your own pup with you on designated skijoring trails.
Here’s a list of some of our favorite sno-parks that’ll keep you and the little ones wholly entertained during the winter months in Bend:
Virginia Meissner Sno-Park
Probably the most popular trailhead for Nordic skiers, Meissner boasts more than 40 kilometers of groomed trails just 13 miles west of Bend, provided free to the public by the non-profit Meissner Nordic. The trailhead is equipped with a warming shelter, vault toilets and if you’re lucky, a hot chocolate cart.
Home to arguably the best sled hill in Central Oregon and designated fat bike trails, Wanoga is perfect for the non-ski crowd. That being said, Wanoga also allows skijoring, the underappreciated art of skiing while attached to your dog. If you’re into a full-throttle snow experience, Wanoga provides access to 180 miles of groomed snowmobile trails as well.
Located at the end of Skyliners Road, 11 miles west of the Old Mill District, Skyliners serves as the trailhead for one of Central Oregon’s truly classic winter adventures, a 6.5-mile trek to Tumalo Falls. Nordic ski or snowshoe out to this 97-foot waterfall that freezes during the coldest months of the year.
A sno-park that accommodates Nordic skiers, snowshoe adventurers and snowmobilers, Swampy has it all on its 25 miles of trails. Situated between Wanoga and Dutchman Flat, Swampy can make for a great starting point for an A-to-B trek if you plan ahead and figure out a shuttle option.
Edison Butte Sno-Park
Home to 24 miles of Nordic trails supported by two shelters, Edison is located a few miles south of the Sunriver cutoff on the way up to Mount Bachelor. It’s a great place to beat the crowds if Meissner and Swampy are super busy. Edison also provides access to 150 miles of snowmobile trails.
Dutchman Flat Sno-Park
Almost right next door to Mt. Bachelor Ski Area, Dutchman is extremely popular with all snow enthusiasts as it sits at 6,400 feet elevation and usually has snow even if the parks at the lower elevations are dry. Parking fills up fast, but if you can find a space you’ll be rewarded with 19 miles of Nordic trails – including a great practice oval – and more than 150 miles of possibilities for snowmobiles.
If you plan on enjoying Central Oregon’s sno-parks, be sure to follow these rules and guidelines:
- Sno-park permits are required between Nov. 1 and April 30. Annual permits are $25 and daily permits cost $4.
- Dogs are NOT allowed in sno-parks north of the Cascade Lakes Highway. They are permitted south of the highway.
- If you’re snowshoeing, make sure you don’t trample through the groomed trails for skate skiers.
You can buy sno-park permits at REI, Visit Bend, the Cascade Lakes Welcome Station, Pine Mountain Sports, Sunnyside Sports, Mountain Supply, Powder House and other outdoor stores.