Nordic and cross-country skiing in Bend, Oregon


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Nordic and cross-country skiing in Bend, Oregon

Home to countless miles of Nordic and cross-country skiing trails, Bend has something to offer to every type of skier, with opportunities for all abilities and levels of adventure; from Olympic athletes to someone getting out on skinny skis for the first time. 

Nordic skiing opportunities range from groomed and signed trails, available at Mt. Bachelor and Virginia Meissner Sno-Park, to more adventurous outings from Dutchman and Wanoga Sno-Parks, where you can break trail and follow blue diamond “blazes” (located high on the ponderosa pine trunks) through the Deschutes National Forest. Although most of Bend’s Nordic skiing opportunities are located along Century Drive, venturing off the beaten path, to Edison, Skyliner, or Three Creeks Sno-Parks, is a great idea on a powder day. When the snow really falls and the town is blanketed, Shevlin Park, First Street rapids, and the groomed oval at Skyline Park provide novel urban skiing experiences.

Skate skiing in town, in Bend, OR

Before you head out for a day of Nordic skiing, be sure to plan your route, bring plenty of food, water, and warm clothing, tell someone where you are headed and be sure you have the correct equipment for the terrain and conditions. Here are some quick tips on how you can have fun, stay safe and Leave No Trace this winter. 

  • Know before you go: Monitor snow conditions frequently and prepare for extreme weather, hazards and emergencies. 
  • Pack it out: Pack it in, pack it out; including litter, crumbs, peels, cores and poop. 
  • Keep wildlife wild: Protect yourself and wildlife by observing them from a distance. The presence of humans may be stressful, causing them to flee, defend themselves, or even abandon their young. 
  • Stick to the trail and respect other users: When ascending trails, keep clear and yield to downhill traffic and avoid booting and snowshoeing in skin or ski tracks.

Sno-Park permits

To park at any of the Oregon Sno-Parks, November 1 – April 30, you will need a Oregon, California, or Idaho Sno-Park Permit. Permits can be purchased at the Bend Visitor Center and at other locations around town, but are not available at the Sno-Parks. 

Annual Sno-Park Permit (November 1 – April 30): $25

3-Day (consecutive) Sno-Park Permit: $9

Daily Sno-Park Permit: $4

Nordic skiing at Mt Bachelor near Bend, OR

Mt. Bachelor

The Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center has one of the longest ski seasons in North America and is home to the US National Ski team’s spring training camp, where they hone their skills and fitness on the same groomed skate ski and classic ski trails that you can enjoy all winter long. All 56km of trail, groomed for both skate and classic skiing, is marked with green (easy), blue (more difficult), black (more difficult), or black diamond (extreme) signage, indicating the level of difficulty of each section of trail, helping skiers inform their route based on their ability level. Located just 22 miles from Bend, across the parking lot from the main Mt. Bachelor downhill ski area, Mt. Bachelor Nordic is the sole full service Nordic ski area along the Century Drive corridor, providing rentals, lessons, and a cafe, all located in the historic lodge. 

Cross country skiing at Meissner Nordic near Bend, OR

Virginia Meissner Sno-Park 

Meissner Nordic, located at the Virginia Meissner Sno-Park, 14 miles from Bend, is a community supported ski area, providing seven-day a week grooming for 47km of skate and classic track, as well as ungroomed classic trails. Meissner has trails that are appropriate for beginners as well as those looking to push the limits of endurance. For those just getting started, head out to the gentle terrain of Lodge Pole Loops, a trail project supported by the Bend Sustainability Fund. For those who are more advanced, head to the Cinder Pit, by way of the Tangent Loop, and make your way back on Snowbush.

You can support this amazing community resource by becoming a Meissner Nordic member and making a donation online, or dropping a few dollars in the blue box located at the trailhead. 

Skate skiing at Swampy Sno-Park near Bend, Oregon

Swampy Sno-Park

Just a few miles south of Meissner Nordic, Swampy Lakes Sno-Park is an ungroomed adventure land. A shared trail system in the summer with runners and mountain bikers, Swampy has almost endless route combinations, all signed and marked with blue blazes. Although most trails get packed down early and navigation is fairly easy; wider, metal edged skis make for a more confidence-inspiring experience. 

Pro Tip: You can access the groomed trails of Meissner Nordic from the Swampy parking lot, along a groomed access trial. 

Cross country skiing near Todd Lake outside of Bend, Oregon

Dutchman Flat / Todd Lake

With access to the “high-country” including Broken Top, Todd Lake, and Flagline, skiing from the Dutchman Sno-Park allows you to get off the beaten path and break your own trail. While you will find some blue trail markers along popular routes like Todd Lake and Flagline trails, Dutchman Flat gives you the opportunity to chart your own course. Be sure to come prepared with a map, good navigation skills and gear for any weather as conditions can change quickly. The new and upgraded trailhead kiosk and informational signage at Dutchman, and other sno-parks along Century Drive, was made possible with support from the Bend Sustainability Fund

Pro Tip: The Dutchman Sno-Park fills up early, however, you can access Dutchman Flat and Todd Lake through the Common Corridor. Park at Mt. Bachelor and ask for a free Common Corridor pass at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center. This pass allows you to pass through the paid nordic trails to the fee-free Deschutes National Forest. 

Cross-country skiing to Tumalo Falls near Bend, Oregon

Skyliner Sno-Park

With a frosty waterfall at the end of the road, Skyliner Sno-Park provides winter access to Tumalo Falls. For a mellow out-and-back route take Tumalo Falls Road, closed to cars for the winter. If you are looking for a more challenging route, make it a loop and return by way of the Tumalo Creek Trail. 

Three Sisters Hut to Hut Traverse 

Built for the truly adventurous, the Three Sisters Hut to Hut Traverse is a self-guided, three-day point to point high-country journey. You’ll spend two nights in handcrafted winter huts as you make your way from Dutchman Flat to Three Creeks Sno-Park. Three Sisters Backcountry manages the huts, and provides food and shuttle service. Make your reservations early and be sure you and your equipment are up for the challenge of 22, ungroomed, off-trail miles.

Skijoring with a dog at Wanoga Sno-Park near Bend, OR

Skiing with your dog

During the winter season (November 1 – May 1), dogs are allowed on the south side of Century Drive, including Edison and Wanoga Sno-Parks. Wanoga’s groomed skate ski track is a popular place for skijoring with dogs — check out the Pacific Sled Dog and Skijor Association for information about events and races. Dogs are also welcome at Skyliner Sno-Park, Three Creeks Sno-Parks, and the off-leash dog area at Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. 

Dogs are not permitted on the north side of Century Drive, including Meissner, Swampy, Vista Butte, and Dutchman Flat Sno-Parks. 

Warming hut on a cross country ski trail near Bend, OR

A note on warming shelters 

Forest Service warming shelters, constructed and maintained by Central Oregon Nordic Club, can be found throughout the nordic ski network. These include Nordeen, Swampy, and Swede Shelters. 

  • Shelters are intended for day use only. 
  • All firewood is cut and stacked by volunteers, and is not replenished during the season. Be respectful of others and use wood sparingly.
  • To reduce risk of fire, no candles or open flames in the shelters. 
  • Please do not use stacked wood for any fires outside the wood stove.
  • Pack it in, pack it out. This includes litter, crumbs, peels, cores, and poop. 

Finding the right equipment

Looking to rent, buy or upgrade your equipment? Bend has a number of excellent ski shops that will help you find just what you are looking for.  WebSkis is the best choice if you are looking for race-type equipment, Pine Mountain Sports is your go-to if you are looking for a more ”off-the-beaten-path” adventure, and Sunnyside Sports does it all well. Equipment rentals are also available at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center.