Mt. Jefferson / Santiam Pass Beginner Snowshoe Reccomendations?

Trip recommendations, current conditions, and other trail related Q&A
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Mt. Jefferson / Santiam Pass Beginner Snowshoe Reccomendations?

Post by hubbird » April 10th, 2019, 7:25 am

Hey y'all,

Long time reader, first time poster. I live in Portland, and have family in Eugene — we're thinking about meeting up somewhere in the middle for some last chance snowshoeing this weekend. I've done a little bit of snowshoeing, will be with at least one first-timer.

Any recommendations for a not-scary but beautiful 2-3 mile route in the Jefferson/Santiam area that would have snow but be accessible now, and fun for first timers?

Thanks! I know that's a lot of qualifiers.


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Re: Mt. Jefferson / Santiam Pass Beginner Snowshoe Reccomendations?

Post by rutpos14 » April 10th, 2019, 5:57 pm

Potato Hill is a nice road that leads to some beautiful views even if you don't make it all the way to the top.

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Re: Mt. Jefferson / Santiam Pass Beginner Snowshoe Reccomendations?

Post by johnspeth » April 11th, 2019, 3:46 am

Circling Hayrick Butte is possible. It's next door to Hoodoo ski area. When I did it, I parked at the bottom of the Ed lift and proceeded clockwise and returned from the tubing hill. Wait a couple of weeks and the ski area will be closed and all to yourself.

To save time, I hiked up the ski run of the climbers left side to avoid skiers. Turn left whenever you're ready. Walk along the flatter areas circling the massive rock (Hayrick Butte). Eventually you arrive at the top of the tubing hill. Be careful of snowmobiles who might be venturing off trail. There are numerous summer time ATV trails in that area and some snowmobilers might try to use them. I didn't see any but you can hear them, probably for miles.

Access for winter fun is generally via Snow Parks and ski areas. Avoid Benson Snow Park because it's heavy with snowmobilers. Nash Snow Park is nice and gets few snowmobilers but is not immune to them. Maxwell Butte is nice for snowshoeing but not very scenic for the first few miles. I've never been to Big Springs Snow Park so no comment there. I've never been to Potato Butte Snow Park but it looks fun from the road. Check a map to evaluate how much uphill you might have to do.

First-times don't need or want vertically challenging stuff. All you really need is a safe and legal place to park and Snow Parks provide it. I'd pick a mutually convenient Snow Park and take off on or off trail.

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Re: Mt. Jefferson / Santiam Pass Beginner Snowshoe Reccomendations?

Post by jessbee » April 11th, 2019, 3:32 pm

Actually I quite like the loops from Ray Benson Snow Park for beginners: ... recid=4674 (click on the map of Ray Benson Nordic ski trails)

Please remind your beginner snowshoers to stay off the Nordic ski tracks and stay on the snowshoe tracks or make your own. While there are snowmobilers out there, the snowshoe trails are lovely and if you can make it to the shelter that's a real treat!
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