Wrap yourself in a blanket of gently drifting flakes while snowshoeing through the hidden beauty of the Deschutes National Forest. If adrenaline’s more your style, strap on those snowshoes and launch yourself off a white-capped lava flow and into a pile of pillowy powder.
Winter lovers of all ages* and ability levels can enjoy snowshoeing together, so bring the kids and grandparents.
Wanderlust Tours, a nationally recognized ecotourism company based in Bend, takes small groups into little known sections of the forest off of Century Drive. Their savvy naturalist guides will dazzle you with details about forest ecosystems, the history of snowshoeing, and animals you may see along the way. You might follow a pine marten’s tracks or learn how the geology of the Three Sisters has influenced the land around the mountains.
Plan an unforgettable evening by booking a moonlight or bonfire snowshoe trip with Wanderlust. Turn off your headlamps and watch moonbeams reflect a thousand diamonds of iridescent light off the snow, or descend into a hand-built snow amphitheater to warm yourself by a bonfire with a mug of hot cider.
For those looking to break fresh tracks on their own, several Bend outdoor retailers rent equipment and sell trail maps and Sno-park passes. All five Sno-parks along or near Century Drive allow snowshoeing. Be courteous to your cross country ski friends and make your own tracks alongside the established ski trails instead of through them.
Not far from Bend, the Willamette National Forest, the Ochoco Mountains, Crater Lake National Park, and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument provide dozens of opportunities for natural solitude.
*Wanderlust recommends snowshoeing for children ages eight or older, but it is up to the parent’s discretion.
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