Go snowshoeing within two hours of Portland
Snowshoeing is a social, low-tech and healthy winter leisure activity. Just put one foot in front of the other, albeit slightly sideways.
These three spots are a great place to be out in the snowy sunshine.
- Just be sure to check road conditions before you set off.
One of the busiest Mount Hood hikes in the summer, it's a little quieter in winter, but you're still likely to run into someone you know.
- This 4.7-mile loop trail is medium difficulty, and the 433-foot elevation gain can be taxing. You can just do the lake and back (1.9 miles).
- 1.5 hours from Portland, take US26E to Trail #761 at Trillium Lake Sno Park near Government Camp. Oregon Sno-Park Permit required. (Day $4, 3-day $9, annual $25.)
A 2.5–mile loop around the lake pays off with a view of Mount Hood if it's a clear day.
- The gain of 460 feet is a steady climb on a wide trail. Bolder people can head to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain and the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.
- 1.5-hour drive from Portland, take US26E to Mirror Lake Trail #664. Oregon Sno-Park Permit required.
This gorgeous spot on the south side of Mount St. Helens has varied terrain.
- It is 2.5 miles, in-and-out, with a fun uphill stretch that ends at June Lake and an icy waterfall. Once there, some people sit down and cool off, while others continue up the smooth, white cone to the volcano's summit.
- About 1.5 hours from Portland. Take I-5N to 503E through Cougar, Washington. Park at Marble Mountain Sno-Park (Washington sno-park permits are $25 a day or $50 for the season).
- Don't trust the cheap snowshoes from your favorite discount drop shipper: if a strap breaks, your day is over.
- Pro tip: Unless you want to spend between $150-300 on new snowshoes, rent the first time.
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