Top 10 Northwest Snowshoe Areas

Evergreen Hiker

When the snow starts to fall and you just can’t stand being cooped up any longer, head out hiking. Grab a friend, some poles and a pair of snowshoes and try one of these fun snowshoe trails around the Pacific Northwest. You might just bump into me this winter!

Oregon

Tumalo Mountain, Bend

A 4-mile trail leading up the side of the mountain, this trail offers amazing views of Mt. Bachelor and the Three Sisters from its peak. While its hard to get lost on Tumalo Mountain’s flanks, be wary that there is no visible trail in the winter. Located off Cascade Lakes Highway across from Mt. Bachelor at Dutchman Flat Sno-Park.
View from Tumalo Mountain

Gold Lake

An idea hub for winter adventures, Gold Lake offers scenic trails for all ages. Travel around the lake from hut-to-hut and and enjoy the area’s varied trails. Good for beginners to advanced snowshoers and Nordic skiers…

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Summiting the South Sister

Climbing the last stretch, a mile straight up through red-brown silt and gravel, I kept my eyes on the peak ahead. The blue sky over the rounded bulge summit at 10,358 feet beckoning me like a turquoise pendant. Reaching the top of this mountain however, awarded me with a hiking high better than any jewels could offer.

Hitting the trail, I completed the first hike of my “10 hikes in 10 years” plan by summiting the South Sister in central Oregon. The third largest mountain in Oregon and the highest of the three sisters, the South Sister is one of few climbs of its size in the state that doesn’t require technical equipment. A 12-mile round trip trail leads from the base of the valley at Devils Lake up the mountain plains then finally along a rocky ridge to the mountain’s summit. Continue reading

Climbing into the Canopy in the McKenzie River Valley

Surrounded by a rainbow of green and the scent of fresh spring forest, I hung out with my feet dangling and wide grin on my face. Nothing could ruin my spirits – especially at 100 feet off the ground! Gazing over the tree tops in the HA Andrews’ Experimental Forest while attached to an old growth, I breathed in the light and clean McKenzie River Valley air and took in the moment of my first successful tree climb.

I had the joy this past week of taking a tree top adventure with Pacific Tree Climbing Institute. Based out of Blue River, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute is a registered Oregon outfitter that takes visitors on an amazing experience to explore the lush and alive forests of the Pacific Northwest. Using ropes and harnesses, the duo who owns the company, assist, train and teach guests of all ages and abilities how to climb into the forest canopy.

Using my legs to boosted myself upward and then gliding my hands up the rope, I slowly but surely moved my way up the tree. The further up in the tree we progressed, the more the beautiful little details of nature popped out: the bark with its rough surface and color like rich, dark chocolate and sweet smell, the hanging gray-green beard-like moss, and the rush of the nearby the river. In the tree top, the forest fully came alive in an animated orchestra of textures, smells and sights.

Only for a brief moment at the beginning was I afraid – where the heart quickly skipped a beat – but amazingly the higher I went the more confident and exciting the trek became. The first one to the top and the last down, I was a kid again as I hung about the limbs in that evergreen park.

Beyond just leading quick day climbs, Pacific Tree Climbing Institute also offers overnight trips in the tree canopy and educational programs. Find out more about Pacific Tree Climbing Institute and book an adventure that you won’t ever, ever forget!

Check out more photos from my climb:

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8 Must Do Day Hikes in Oregon

Silver Falls, Oregon

Silver Falls by orvalrochefort

Spring is here, which means its time to start planning your warm weather hikes, day trips and summer vacations. So dust off your hiking shoes and head out to explore more of Oregon with these eight must-hit trails!

Silver Falls Park

Wander through a temperate rain forest, lush with wildlife and trickling water at this beautiful state park. Follow the Canyon Trail along Silver Creek to take in 10 majestic waterfalls. Ranging from 27 to 177 feet, the waterfalls on this trail and the stunning beauty of the natural surroundings keeps you in awe of the Cascade foothills around each turn. Also with over 25 miles of trails, it’s an easy park to explore over and over.

Multnomah Falls

Tumbling an impressive 620 feet combined, Multnomah Falls is Oregon’s largest waterfall. With its white cascading waters against the evergreen forest, the falls shine as one of the iconic destinations along the Historic Columbia River Highway. Even though a frequently busy location during high season, the falls is worth the stop. Get out of the car and explore along the 1.2 mile hike to the top for great views of the waterfall and Columbia Gorge. If you’d like to extend your hike, continue another 6 miles to Larch Mountain.

Smith Rock State Park

There are several different trails of varing difficulty at this iconic central Oregon park. Enjoy bird watching and hiking along the river and don’t forget to take the short .5 mile hike along the Rim Rock Trail to take in the beautiful views from the park’s main lookout.

Tillamook Head, Oregon

View from Tillamook Head by OCVA

Tillamook Head

Rising 1000 feet from the ocean, this jagged cape offers three beautiful trails to explore its coast-swept sands. Not only a stunning sight today, this headland was also a part of the original route of Lewis and Clark.  Stare out to the vast Pacific Ocean and take in the fantastic coastal wildlife that hugs this rugged stretch of the Oregon Coast.

Sweet Creek Falls

Follow this twinkling stream near Mapleton through a canopy of lush trees as it flows toward the Siuslaw River and out to the Ocean. An easy 1.1 mile hike along a dirt and grated platform trail leads you past a series of tiered falls to the main waterfall. This is great hike for kids! If you want to get a second view of the creek, continue from the Homestead Trailhead up the road to the Wagon Road Trailhead and take the .8 mile hike back down toward the falls on the other side of the bank.

Note: Lane County Public Works will start construction on Sweet Creek Road in July 2012 that will cause significant delays. Construction is expected to continue through August 2013. So get out there this spring!

Anthony Lake

Anthony Lake

Anthony Lake by Baker County Tourism

Explore pristine alpine lakes surrounded by wildflowers and take in stunning views of the granite peaks of the Elkhorn Range with a day hike near Anthony Lake. Several trails make this mountainside paradise accessible for a wide range of hikers. Follow an easy 1-mile path looping the lake or tackle the 8.2 mile loop around Gunsight Mountain. Located in Eastern Oregon, Anthony Lake is about 20 miles north of Baker City.

Oregon Table Rocks

Jutting 800 feet above the Rogue River Valley, the Oregon Table Rocks are an iconic landmark in Southern Oregon. Created by lava flows filling ancient canyons, these vast mesas now are home to hundreds of acres of meadows and rock flats protected as a nature conservancy. Explore the spectacular diversity along the easy/moderate 2.8-mile hike to the Upper Table Rock; for a longer hike follow the 5.4-mile trail up Lower Table Rock. From the top enjoy beautiful views of the Rogue River Valley.

Steens Mountain

For amazing views of the arid eastern Oregon desert landscape, hike atop Steens Mountain. Drive the highest road in Oregon that follows the ridge of this mountain range and its mile-high cliffs. To stretch the legs, take the three short paths to various viewing stations of the canyon. If you are up for a challenge, take the 2.4 mile hike descending 1100 feet to Wildhorse Lake to take in the beautiful bowls of wildflowers lining the valley. TIP: Before heading to this remote area, fill up your gas tank in Burns, Oregon.

What is your favorite Oregon hike?

Snowshoe Hike at Salt Creek Falls

With each step a high-decibel crunch erupted against the crusted white snow, drowning out the winter silence in the central Oregon Cascades like a rolling freight train – but our laughter sounded louder.

This past weekend I headed east along highway 58 into the Cascades from Eugene to spend the day playing in the snow. Stopping at the Mercantile in Oakridge, which carries snowshoes and cross-country skis during the winter season, we picked up some winter gear and continued to Salt Creek SnoPark. Continue reading