There are lots of trails in the Bend area, but snow cover varies widely according to the season. However, the Bend area is awesome, the snow covered peaks worth the effort. The following trails open in December and usually run out of snow by the end of March, with the exception of Tumalo Falls, which has a short season, January through February.
Trailhead elevation for this group of trails varies between, 4,800 and 6,400 feet, so be forewarned you will be dealing with altitude, in case you are coming from the flat lands. The Bend population is young, median age under 40 and the lifestyle is both unique and active. You will enjoy yourself both on and off the trails here where microbreweries abound and the area is known for its artistic community. Accommodations in and near the Bend area include Seventh Mountain Resort, Entrada Lodge, Sunriver Resort, and La Quinta Inn.
Be sure to watch the forecasts, as many winters find this beautiful valley without enough snow. Go figure! In a good year this 3-mile out-and-back route is open January through February and the Tumalo Falls are spectacular in winter surrounded by ice and snow. The trail is classified as easy with minimal elevation gain. The trailhead lies at 4,800 feet.
EDISON BUTTE – EDISON SHELTER
This is a newer addition to central Oregon’s system of trails and offers great diversity to snowshoers and cross-country skiers alike. The trek will take about 2 hours and covers 3.5 total miles twisting and turning through ponderosa and lodge pole pines. Trailhead elevation is 5,080 feet and there are a whole slew of trails that crisscross each other, though most are well marked. January through March is the best time to hit the Edison Butte area. Elevation gain is minimal and the trail is rated as easy.
EDISON BUTTE – AC/DC SHELTER
This is a longer outing, running 5.7 miles and classified as more difficult. December through March is the prime time to try this loop trail that takes the pressure off the busy trails around Swampy Lakes and Dutchman Flat. Bend locals love this area for that reason. Trailhead is at 5,080 feet, with top elevation at 5,620 feet.
WATER TOWER LOOP
This easy loop trail between Dutchman Flat and Todd Lake runs 2.5 miles through dense areas of lodge pole pine and really ancient hemlock. Rated easy, this trail is open December through March, its trailhead at 6,400 feet with no appreciable elevation gain.
If you’re looking for the trail less traveled and are up for the effort, try this 6.5 mile loop. Rated more difficult and beginning at 6,300 feet, the trail is off the outer ring of cross-country and snowshoe trails radiating out from Dutchman Flat. Todd Lake lies hidden in a deep basin, so once you find it, you’ll enjoy the peace and quiet here, with no snowmobile noise, or any other sound for that matter. December through March is peak season for this gem.