Oregon has an incredible network of Sno Parks that offer access to winter recreation activities like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. In order to utilize the facilities like bathrooms and warming huts, you must buy an annual, daily, or 3-day Sno Park permit sold at local retail stores or the DMV. There are 15 state-maintained Sno Parks in Central Oregon. Here are our favorite places to go as employees of Tetherow.
Wanoga Snow Play Area
The Wanoga Sno Park is off the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway before you get to Mt. Bachelor, just up the road from Tetherow. The snow play area features some of the best sledding around with a steep hill that levels off nicely for a perfectly fast run. There are vault toilets in the parking lot next to the warming hut which has electricity but no running water.
There is also access to 180 miles of snowmobile trails where you can spend the day exploring the backcountry between Crescent Lake and Santiam Pass. Another warming hut built and operated by the Central Oregon Snowbusters and Sisters Sno-Go-Fers snowmobile clubs sits between Wanoga and Three Creek Sno Park so you can take a rest and eat a snack.
It’s one of the few Sno Parks that allows dogs on leash both on the cross-country trails and on the sledding hill, making it a favorite for Bend locals and Tetherow employees.
Virginia Meissner Sno Park
This Sno Park is across the street from Wanoga and it’s one of our favorites because of well-maintained cross-country skiing trails by Meissner Nordic. We also proudly sponsor the park! Formally known as the Tumalo Langlauf Club, the Nordic ski group works with the Forest Service to make this park the best it can be for the cross-country skiers in the area. They groom 40-km of trails five times a week and built the new Meissner Shelter and the warming hut in the parking lot complete with tables and a wood stove.
We also love the Luminaria event that the Club puts on every year. Participants snowshoe or cross-country ski to the Meissner Shelter lit by the light of the moon and candles in paper bags (luminarias). It’s always a great time!
Dutchman Flat Sno Park
The Dutchman Flat Sno Park is right across the road from Mt. Bachelor and it’s one of our favorites due to the stellar snowmobile access to 150 miles of trails. This park is also popular with cross-country skiers who can spend the day exploring 19 miles of Nordic trail. You can spend hours exploring the network of trails both on skis and on a snowmobile!
If you decide to take the day for an adventure, follow the trails to Elk Lake and Elk Lake Resort for lunch or dinner or to stay the night.
Swampy Lakes Sno Park and Trailhead
The Swampy Lakes Sno Park is also off the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway at the foot of Tumalo Mountain which provides incredible opportunities for extreme snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. Along the 25 miles worth of trail are numerous warming huts where you can take a break and warm your toes on a wood fire. There are many loops you can try at Swampy Lakes like the Porcupine Snowshoe Loop. Note that there are no dogs allowed at this Sno Park and you cannot stay the night in any of the shelters.
Skyliner Sno Park
Skyliner Sno Park is off Skyliner Rd. before Tumalo Falls. It’s one of our favorite parks thanks to its epic sledding and beautiful views of the surrounding Cascades. The Skyliner Trail is open to dogs and leashed while in the park. You can snowshoe up to Tumalo Falls in the winter for a beautiful view of the valley. There are clearly marked trails for cross-country skiers and snowshoers marked by blue diamonds with yellow snowshoers.
The Skyliner Lodge was built in 1935 to serve the Skyliners ski club through 1940 to 1950. While it doesn’t provide services any longer, it is now home to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s Cascade Science School so you can learn all about the history of the area and how Mt. Bachelor came to be what it is today.
Stay at Tetherow
As employees of Tetherow, we are lucky to be surrounded by endless natural beauty. We work hard but we play hard, too, and we love being outside exploring the many Sno Parks in Central Oregon. Come stay with us at Tetherow and we can give you some local insight on where to explore!