Oregonians are very proud of their snow parks, for good reason! Well-maintained open spaces are much more than a place to sled; they’re fast tracks of cross-country and snowshoe trails through lodgepole forests to beautiful views of the Cascades. And the bonus? Taking a load off to enjoy some food and beverages at one of the backcountry warming huts.
These rustic A-frame log cabins seat up to 15 and have a wood-burning stove to keep your toes toasty. (Pro tip: Bring a flask of whiskey or wine and you’ll fit right in with the locals.) Glide or snowshoe your way to Virginia Meissner Sno-Park near the base of Mt. Bachelor ski area. This gorgeous recreation area has miles of well-groomed trails, maintained and upgraded by local volunteers under a donation-based agreement with the National Forest Service. And wow, do they do good work!
For an easygoing 4-mile cross-country ski, link Tangent loop with Manzanita, Mistletoe, and Pine Drops trails. The route has you stopping at Meissner Shelter for a break and a banner view of the Cascades, including distinct Broken Top Mountain. Warm up and have lunch here before finishing your loop.
BONUS FOOD, BEER, & SUNSET: Après scenes just go better with sunsets, so head to Crux brew pub (50 SW Division St, Bend) for their Sundowner Hour (aka Happy Hour, occurring from 30 minutes before sunset to 30 minutes after sunset). Take a seat on their winter patio with two outdoor fire pits and enjoy the panoramic view of the sun setting across the Cascades. Grab some nachos or soup, and try their sampler of IPAs, lagers, and stouts.
Here’s a map to the Virginia Meissner SnoPark. Powder House Ski & Snowboard (311 SW Century Dr, Bend) rents cross-country ski and snowshoe gear. No dogs on trails at Virginia Meissner. There is a $6 Sno-Park fee. Pay onsite with exact change, or pick up a pass at PowderHouse Ski & Snowboard in Bend.