Winter Recreation

McKenzie River area winter recreation

Hoodoo Ski Area

On the crest of Santiam Pass on Highway 20, Hoodoo Ski Area is the oldest ski area in the Central Cascades. With a full service lodge and five chairlifts, Hoodoo Ski Area is a place for the whole family.

Little Nash Sno-Park

Little Nash Trail

Difficulty: Easiest, Length: Round trip 1.4 miles, Type: Ski trail.

Santiam Airstrip Trail

Difficulty: Easiest/More Difficult, Length: Each way 7.3 miles, Type: Snowmobile trail.

Potato Hill Sno-Park

Hash Brown Loop

Difficulty: Easiest/More Difficult, Length: Round trip 3.5 miles, Type: Ski trail.

Ray Benson Sno-Park

Located just south of Santiam Pass on Big Lake Road, 32 miles northeast of McKenzie Bridge, this sno park is situated at 4700 feet elevation.

Circle Lake Trail

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: Loop trip 7.5 miles via North Loop and South Loop, Type: Ski trail.

Cross-District Trail

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: 11.7 miles, Big Lake to Hwy 242; 35 miles from Big Lake to Three Creek Lake, Type: Snowmobile trail.

Fireline Loop

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: Round trip 4.9 miles. Type: Snowmobile trail.

North Loop

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: Loop trip 3.8 miles, Type: Ski trail.

Pacific Crest Trail (winter)

Difficulty: Most Difficult, Length: Loop trip 6.5 miles via North Loop and South Loop, Type: Ski trail.

Sand Mountain Loop

Difficulty: Easiest, Length: Round trip 10 miles, Type: Snowmobile trail.

South Loop

Difficulty: Easiest/More Difficult, Length: Round trip 5.0 miles, Type: Ski trail.

Toll Station

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: 6.3 miles one way Round trip 5.0 miles, Type: Snowmobile trail.

Two Buttes Cut-Off

Difficulty: More Difficult/Most Difficult, Length: Loop trip 5.2 miles via North Loop and South Loop, Type: Ski trail.

Santiam Sno Park

Located at the top of Santiam Pass, 30 miles northeast of McKenzie Bridge, this snopark is situated at 4,700 feet elevation. Facilities: winter trail orientation sign, parking area, restroom and tubing hill.

Attractions: Santiam Sno Park is best known for the snow play area located there. The Santiam Snowplay Area is currently the only recommended tubing site on the Santiam Pass. The run is cleared of trees for your safety. Some safety thoughts to remember when tubing:

* Use only inner tubes or saucers on this slope. * Wait your turn and watch out for others. * Jumps are dangerous, so don’t build or use them. * When you reach the end of your run, get out of the way immediately. * Stay to the sides of the run when not tubing.

Santiam Sno Park also provides cross-country skiing and snowshoe access to the Pacific Crest Trail in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The route is not marked beyond the wilderness boundary.

Ray Benson Sno-Park

Located just south of Santiam Pass on Big Lake Road, 32 miles northeast of McKenzie Bridge. Two restrooms, warming hut, orientation maps, staging area with snub posts for sled dogs. Concessions and telephone are located nearby at Hoodoo Ski Area.

Skiing/Snowshoeing

Circle Lake Trail, North Loop, Pacific Crest Trail ~ Winter, Sand Mountain Loop, South Loop, and Two Buttes Cut-Off.

Snowmobiling: Cross-District Trail, Fireline Loop, and Sand Mountain Loop.

Mushing/Skijoring: Sand Mountain Loop.

Sledding/Tubing

Santiam Sno-Park

Use only inner tubes or saucers. Wait your turn and watch out for others. Jumps are dangerous, so don’t build or use them. When you reach the end of your run, get out of the way immediately. Evaluate conditions and play within your limits.

Camp White Branch

Parking is at the west side snowgate on Hwy. 242 which is a short walk to the inner tube hill. Snow park permits are not needed.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends, Christmas break (except Christmas Day), Martin Luther King Day and President’s Day when the snow conditions are satisfactory.

There is an entry fee. A snack bar is available for food, snacks and hot and cold drinks. The historic lodge is a place to get out of the cold and visit with friends.

 

Little Nash Sno Park

Little Nash Trail

Difficulty: Easiest, Length: Round trip 1.4 miles, Type: Ski trail.

Attractions: Little Nash Trail begins at Little Nash Sno-Park and parallels Highway 20 eastward to the Santiam Airstrip. This trail is recommended for novice skiers. The airstrip is also a destination for over-the-snow vehicles traveling on the Santiam Airstrip Snowmobile Trail. CAUTION: Santiam Airstrip is an operational landing field.

Santiam Airstrip Trail

Difficulty: Easiest / More Difficult, Length: Each way 7.3 miles, Type: Snowmobile trail

Attractions: This route begins at the Little Nash Sno-Park and travels southward along Forest Service Road 2676 for approximately 2.5 miles. It then heads eastward on the old Santiam Wagon Road for another 4.8 miles, ending at the junction with the Sand Mountain Loop at Big Lake. CAUTION: Sanitam Airstrip is an operational landing field.

Potato Hill Sno Park

Located 2 miles east of the Highway 22 junction, this snopark is situated at 4000 feet elevation, adjacent to Highways 20/126. Facilities: winter trail orientation sign and parking area.

Trails:  Hash Brown Loop - Difficulty: Easiest / More Difficult, Length: Round trip 3.5 miles, Type: Ski trail

Attractions: This trail begins at Potato Hill Sno-Park and trends southeasterly through old-growth Douglas-fir forests to the northeast part of the Airstrip Burn. The route circles to the east towards Potato Hill Ridge and back along Forest Road 2000-830 (Jack Pine Road) to the Sno-Park.

Hoodoo Ski Area

On the crest of Santiam Pass on Highway 20, Hoodoo Ski Area is the oldest ski area in the Central Cascades. With a  full service lodge and 5 chairlifts, Hoodoo Ski Area is a place for the whole family.

Hoodoo Ski Area is operated under special use permit with the U.S. Forest Service. For more information about what Hoodoo has to offer go to www.hoodoo.com.

Ray Benson Sno Park

Located just south of Santiam Pass on Big Lake Road, 32 miles northeast of McKenzie Bridge, this sno park is situated at 4700 feet elevation.

Facilities: two restrooms, warming shelter, orientation maps, staging area with snub posts for sled dogs. Concessions and telephone are located nearby at Hoodoo Ski Area. Trails: Circle Lake Trail * Cross-District Trail * Fireline Loop * North Loop * Pacific Crest Trail * Sand Mountain Loop * South Loop * Toll Station * Two Buttes Cut-Off

Circle Lake Trail

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: Loop trip 7.5 miles via North Loop and South Loop, Type: Ski trail

Attractions: This trail begins on North Loop about 2 miles northeast of Ray Benson Sno-Park and winds easterly through lodge pole pine and small openings to Circle Lake. From Circle Lake, the trail turns south to the Airstrip Burn and junctions with Island Lake Trail. Once the trail reaches this junction, it trends southwesterly through the burn to its tie-in with Two Buttes Cutt-off and South Loop. There is a warming shelter located on this trail at Island Junction.

CAUTION: Several creek crossings may be hazardous during periods of warm weather or low snow-pack.

Cross-District Trail

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: 11.7 miles, Big Lake to Hwy 242; 35 miles from Big Lake to Three Creek Lake, Type: Snowmobile trail

Attractions: The trail runs along the historic Santiam Wagon Road to the site of the old Cache Creek Toll Station, and continues over Forest Service roads to the McKenzie Highway. Slow down and use extra caution between the Meadow Lake Junction and the Sand Mountain Loop Junction. Remember, there is no fuel available along this route. This route is usually groomed weekly, depending on snow conditions, through a partnership with the Oregon Snowmobile Association and Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club.

Fireline Loop

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: Round trip 4.9 miles

Type: Snowmobile trail

Attractions: This trail follows the old fireline eastward from Ray Benson Sno-Park and loops through old fire roads and volcanic sand blowouts. This route is distinctive in that it travels the line between the forest and open burn areas. This route is usually groomed weekly, depending on snow conditions, through a partnership with the Oregon Snowmobile Association and Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club.

North Loop

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: Loop trip 3.8 miles, Type: Ski trail

Attractions: The trail begins at Ray Benson Sno-Park and trends in a northwesterly direction through a forest of lodge pole pine, mountain hemlock and fir. It then follows the old Hogg Railroad Grade eastwardly for 1⁄2 mile, heads southward, and winds through gentle swales and ridges typical of the pass area. Occasionally skirting small meadows, the trail circles back to the north side of Ray Benson Sno-Park.

Pacific Crest Trail

Difficulty: Most Difficult, Length: Loop trip 6.5 miles via North Loop and South Loop, Type: Ski trail

Attractions: The Pacific Crest Trail bisects the North and South Loops as it winds in a north-south direction the length of Santiam Pass. The portion, which is marked for winter travel, begins on the northern edge of North Loop about 1.5 miles northeast of Ray Benson Sno-Park and ends along the southern edge of the South Loop near the old Santiam Wagon Road. The Pacific Crest Trail is not constructed or cleared specifically for winter travel. It is narrow, and frequent “tree wells” may be encountered north of its crossing with Fireline Snowmobile Loop.

Sand Mountain Loop

Difficulty: Easiest, Length: Round trip 10 miles, Type: Snowmobile trail

Attractions: A popular and easy route over varied terrain, the trail leads south from Ray Benson Sno-Park, via Big Lake Road, past the base of Hayrick Butte. The trail swings westward to Sand Mountain through various small buttes south of Hoodoo Ski Area and returns via the Santiam Wagon Road and an abandoned airstrip just north of Big Lake. Much of the trail is located in the burn area and provides many opportunities for open country travel. This route is usually groomed weekly, depending on snow conditions, through a partnership with the Oregon Snowmobile Association and Mt. Jefferson Snowmobile Club.

South Loop

Difficulty: Easiest / More Difficult, Length: Round trip 5.0 miles, Type: Ski trail

Attractions: This trail begins at Ray Benson Sno-Park and southeasterly parallels Big Lake Road and Sand Mountain Snowmobile Loop. The trail circles to the east past Brandenburg Butte, junctions with Circle Lake Trail, and continues to the west where the loop ends near Hayrick Butte. On clear days, the route offers splendid views of Mt. Washington to the south and Three Fingered Jack to the north. There is a warming shelter located on this trail near Brandenburg Butte.

Toll Station

Difficulty: More Difficult, Length: 6.3 miles one way - Round trip 5.0 miles, Type: Snowmobile trail

Two Buttes Cut-Off

Difficulty: More Difficult / Most Difficult, Length: Loop trip 5.2 miles via North Loop and South Loop, Type: Ski trail

Attractions: This cut-off connects the North Loop and South Loop east of the Pacific Crest Trail. The route begins at the southeast corner of North Loop and winds southward across Fireline Snowmobile Trail past Claypool Butte, and ends at the junction of South Loop and Circle Lake Trails. This trail also offers the visitor outstanding views of Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack. It is recommended this route be skied from north to south.

Santiam Sno Park

Located at the top of Santiam Pass, 30 miles northeast of McKenzie Bridge, this snopark is situated at 4700 feet elevation. Facilities: winter trail orientation sign, parking area, restroom and tubing hill.

Attractions: Santiam Sno Park is best known for the snow play area located there. The Santiam Snowplay Area is currently the only recommended tubing site on the Santiam Pass. The run is cleared of trees for your safety. Some safety thoughts to remember when tubing:

* Use only inner tubes or saucers on this slope. * Wait your turn and watch out for others. * Jumps are dangerous, so don’t build or use them. * When you reach the end of your run, get out of the way immediately. * Stay to the sides of the run when not tubing.

Santiam Sno Park also provides cross-country skiing and snowshoe access to the Pacific Crest Trail in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness. The route is not marked beyond the wilderness boundary.

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