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What should I know about the new snowshoe trails near Bend Oregon?

New and old Snowshoe Trail Opportunities in 2007!
Bend/Fort Rock Ranger District

There are a couple of new snowshoe trails that deserve special mention in this New Year’s (‘07) report; as for some, it may be: "THE YEAR OF THE SNOWSHOE". They are the Nordeen Snowshoe Tie and Porcupine Snowshoe Loop out of Meissner and Swampy Sno-Parks. To the beginner and experienced snowshoer we encourage you to use the Bend/Fort Rock Ranger District's growing snowshoe trail system. Designed and constructed by snowshoeing volunteers in cooperation with the Ranger District, these snowshoe trails offer an experience with the snowshoer in mind. Thank you Jim Davis and crew, for all your past and continued hard work on these trails.

Specifically designed snowshoe trails tend to offer a more terrain and forest intimate as well as slower winter experience to the snowshoer; as opposed to the straighter and faster pace found on the ski trails. Using the snowshoe trails also eliminates the friction sometimes found between skiers and snowshoers caused when snowshoers perhaps unknowingly step on and obliterate a set ski track. Snowshoeing on a set ski track not only makes it unpleasant and more difficult for skiers, but it can also make it more hazardous for skiers (especially beginners) to maintain control in a ski track that is "chopped up". These snowshoe trails are not recommended for skiers.

If snowshoers choose to use the designated ski trails, please set a separate snowshoe track at least 2 ft. to either side of an existing ski track. If a ski track does not exist, set the snowshoe track as far to the side of the trail clearing as you comfortably can. Weaving the shoer track around trees will help discourage skiers from following directly in your shoer track. Likewise, skiers should set a separate ski track and not follow in a snow shoe track.

Snowshoe trail locations/short descriptions:
Meissner Sno-Park: Offers 5+ miles of easiest to more difficult rated snowshoe trails for the beginner to experienced shoer. There’s the short and long loops heading towards Meissner Shelter or try the new Nordeen Snowshoe Tie trail (short steep section) connecting Meissner Sno-park to Nordeen Shelter and the additional 9+ miles of the Swampy snowshoe trail system.

Swampy Sno-Park: Offers 9+ miles of easiest to most difficult rated snowshoe trails for the beginner to experienced shoer. This includes the new Porcupine Snowshoe Loop starting at Swampy Sno-Park taking the shoer on a great loop into Swampy Shelter and out. The 2.1 mile western leg of this loop flows over mostly gentle terrain that is well suited for all experienced and many new shoers. The 2 mile east leg of the Porcupine Snowshoe Loop was designed for the more energetic shoer and includes a 400’ moderate climb up Telemark Butte offering window views of the surrounding area. The trail then descends to Swampy Lake and the shelter before continuing on to the west leg and back to the sno-park. There also the original Swampy Snowshoe Short and Long Loops out towards Nordeen shelter with the connecting snowshoe trail to Meissner Sno-Park.

Dutchman Sno-Park and Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center access: Now a 3 mile snowshoe trail loop into Todd Lake venturing over varied terrain and thru lodgepole pine and old growth mountain hemlock forests. The full loop may not be for the less conditioned shoer but shorter out and back options provide an appetizer for a longer trip later on.

Edison Sno-Park: 4 miles of snowshoe trail that are dog friendly and provide an intermediate shoer experience over rolling lava flows, thru old growth ponderosa pine and lodgepole pine forests. There are short and long loop opportunities with a short tie trail to Edison Shelter. Another 4 miles of shoer trails are planned towards AC/DC Shelter with construction starting this winter.

Be sure to obtain an updated (December 2006 or January 2007) District ski and snowshoe trail map of these areas before heading out. We try to keep maps stocked at the sno-park information boards, but don’t rely on finding any during heavy use periods. Starting mid January, we hope to have the updated maps in the Forest Website:

The snowshoe trails have blue reassurance diamonds similar to the ski trails, but in the center of the diamond is a yellow snowshoer symbol. This symbol reflects the light should you choose to follow the trail at night with a headlamp.

And as always, be Responsible: Tell someone your: LOCATION, DURATION AND RETURN. Also, go prepared for the conditions and with extra food, water, clothing, map, compass, fire starter, first aid and repair kits, etc. Plan your trip within your abilities and the abilities of those with you. Make adjustments for changing snow conditions and weather. Carry the Ten Essential Systems!

Worried about having to break or set a snowshoe track and all the extra effort that involves? As popular as snowshoeing and these snowshoe trails have become, chances are you won’t have to break trail unless it’s during or just after a snowy period.

For more Bend/Fort Rock Ranger District Nordic Ski and Snowshoe trail information, please call: (541) 383-4000.


Snowshoe Trails!
Central Oregon Nordic Club Newsletter for January 2004

Some quick trail highlights here to promote use on the Bend/Fort Rock Ranger District’s specially designated snowshoe trails. With adequate snow depth, 10.5 total miles of snowshoe specific trails have been constructed, signed and mostly mapped at Meissner, Swampy, and Edison Sno-Parks. Each trail system offers a short and long loop opportunity with access to a warming shelter. These trails were planned and constructed mainly by snowshoe volunteers with snowshoers in mind. The terrain, scenery and experience of each trail system varies to meet the variety of snowshoe enthusiasts.

The Meissner Snowshoe Trails provide a mixed fir, lodgepole pine and ponderosa pine forest experience with forest openings and even a distant view of Broken Top and South Sister. This trail system has approximately 3.5 miles of easiest to more difficult shoeing terrain and is closed to dogs. The long loop reaches out directly to Meissner warming shelter. This trail system is fully in place though minimal snow depth will add to the difficulty and provide many tripping hazards along its course. Temporary blue junction signing is now in place and will be replaced with traditional brown reflective trail signs in the near future.

The Swampy Snowshoe Trails provide a mainly lodgepole pine forest setting with some open forest. The system is approximately 3.7 miles in total length of easiest to more difficult terrain and is also closed to dogs. Access to Nordeen Shelter is available by hiking out an additional 1 mile round trip on the Nordeen Ski trail loop. This snowshoe trail is fully operational though low snow conditions may exist. Temporary blue junction signing is now in place and will be replaced with traditional brown reflective trail signs in the near future.

The Edison Snowshoe Trails total 3.5 miles and provide a more unique snowshoe experience as they wind up and over ancient lava flows that mingle through old growth ponderosa and lodgepole pine forest. Due to varied undulating terrain and navigating along precipitous rocky ridges, these trails with a short and long loop opportunity are rated more to most difficult. Also due to their rocky nature, they are recommended only with adequate snow depth which may range from 2-3 feet.

From the Central Oregon Nordic Club Newsletter for January 2004




Mountain climbing has inherent dangers that can in part, be mitigated!

Read more . . .
American Alpine Club
Oregon Section of the AAC
Accidents in North American Mountaineering

  The Sport of Alpine Mountaineering
  Climbing Together
  Following the Leader
  The Mountaineers' Rope
  Basic Responsibilities       Cuatro Responsabiliades Basicas de Quienes Salen al Campo
  The Ten Essential Systems         Los Diez Sistemas Esenciales

HB 2509 mandates electronic locator beacons on Mt. Hood - climbers' views 
Oregon HB 2509 as approved on March 28, 2007
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Lost climber hikes 6.5 miles from South Sister Trail to Elk Lake
Young climber stuck on a steep snow slope rescued from Mt. Hood
American Alpine Club's Trad Award goes to Robert Speik in 2006

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On Being and Becoming a Mountaineer: an Essay
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AAC Report - Accident on Mount Washington ends with helicopter rescue
AAC Report - Fatal fall from Three Finger Jack in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness
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Mount Washington - Report to the American Alpine Club on a second accident in 2004
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Notable mountain climbing accidents analyzed 
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Mount Washington - "Oregon tragedy claims two lives"
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Do you have map, compass and GPS seminar notes?   six pdf pages

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