There are few regions that can rival Central Oregon’s snowmobiling mecca. Thousands of acres of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land are criss-crossed by miles of unimproved roads that transform into a pristine playground for sledding enthusiasts in the winter. Snowmobilers can take their pick of countless distinguished snowmobiling areas, all offering a unique taste of terrain. Hundreds of miles of trails reach to the horizon, many groomed and maintained by proactive local snowmobile clubs from the Ochocos near Prineville to Sisters. The result: Smooth corduroy and unparalleled powder days in the backcountry. As with other winter recreation activities in Central Oregon, there are restrictions on whether you can take your pooch. Any sno-parks on the South side of the Cascade Lakes Highway, dogs are permitted. Due to wilderness access and wildlife, no dogs are allowed on any trails on the other (North) side of the road.
Where to Snowmobile Near Mt. Bachelor
To take a break from the slopes or get out of the city and stage an epic snowmobiling getaway, you’ll find the best, most comprehensive sledding network of the Cascades mountain range right by Mount Bachelor. This expansive area is accessed by a hub of multiple sno-parks where you can launch your snowmobiling adventures. Managed and maintained by Moon Country Snowbusters snowmobile club, this network boasts more than 250 miles of regularly groomed snowmobile trails, backcountry bowls and out-and-back destination day trips. Here are the most popular spots to stage your snowy missions.
Dutchman Flat Sno-Park: Located just by the gate where the Cascade Lakes Highway is closed to vehicles from November-May, Dutchman Sno-Park is an extremely popular, smaller multi-use lot that offers access to the higher-elevation, breathtaking mountain peaks and lakes in the winter. Because this lot is shared by skiers and snowshoers, it gets crowded quickl, so plan accordingly. Snowmobiling from here is coveted to cruise nearby Dutchman Flat, up to Todd Lake and Tumalo Mountain and, infamously, to take a day tour out to Elk Lake Resort 11 miles down the road. Accessed only by sno-cat, cross-country skiing or sleds in the winter, this resort has a cozy restaurant, rooms and cabins right on the lake.
Kapka Sno-Park: Just minutes down the road from Mount Bachelor at the intersection of Forest Service Road 45 from Sunriver, Kapka sno park is a favorite for easy-in, easy-out snowmobiling, with substantial pull-through trailer and RV parking. Snowmobilers can ride trails until the sun sets and still not cover the miles that span from La Pine to Sunriver and beyond. As with many, this sno-park is multi-use, so be on the lookout for cross-country skiers striding and making their way to make some backcountry turns.
Edison Butte Sno-Park: About 20 minutes from Sunriver along Forest Service Road 45, you will find Edison Butte Sno-Park. Its large paved parking area allows ample room for large groups, RVs and trailers. You can also easily get there from Bend, turning left off of the Cascade Lakes Highway and driving just a few minutes down the road. Edison offers access to hundreds of interconnecting trails from either side of the road.
Wanoga Sno-Park: This popular sno-park (get there early or later in the day for the best parking) provides access to motorized dog-friendly snowmobile trails, as well as opportunities for sledding and tubing.
Starting from its warming tent in the lot, riders can access over 180 miles of groomed snowmobile trails between Crescent Lake and Santiam Pass. Plus, there’s a warming shelter between Wanoga and Three Creek Sno-Park near Sisters, Oregon, built and operated by the Central Oregon Snowbusters and Sisters Sno Go-Fers snowmobile clubs.
Snowmobiling at Three Creeks Sno-Parks near Sisters, Oregon
An approximate 15-20 minute drive out of Sisters, adventurous snowmobilers can brave the last section of unplowed road with 4-Wheel drive vehicles to access Lower and Upper Three Creeks Sno-Parks. From these snowy lots, you can find trails that circumnavigate, as well as climb, inspiring Tam Mcarthur Rim and connect with the vast network of groomed snowmobile trails that connect all the way to the Mount Bachelor area.
Snowmobiling near LaPine, Oregon
A half an hour’s drive south of Bend, the La Pine area hosts some picturesque snowmobiling options, in large part due to the grooming by its local La Pine Lodgepole Dodgers snowmobile club. Newberry Crater National Monument offers a unique and scenic snowmobiling experience, with trails to play in the shadow of Paulina Peak. Snowmo enthusiasts can gain access to 150 miles of snowmobile trails from 6-Mile Sno-Park or 10-Mile Sno-Park off of Paulina Lake road. Closed to vehicles in the winter, the road climbs to the four-season Paulina Lake Lodge, which offers sno-cat rides up to its snowed-in rustic retreat of cabin rentals, a restaurant and bar for a bar-none getaway.
Snowmobile Rentals in Central Oregon
If you can’t bring your machine with you, or want to give snowmobiling a test drive, not surprisingly this sled destination hosts multiple options for businesses and operations that rent snowmobiles near Bend. Many are full-service rentals, offering various high-end snowmobile rentals, safety and operation instruction, all the necessary equipment and even a trailer for your DIY snowmobile adventure.
Central Oregon Rentals in Bend, Oregon outfits beginner to expert snowmobilers with a fleet of rentals. You can rent for either 5 or 10 hour sessions, as well as multi-day rentals along with a trailer to transport your snow machine to your choice of the area’s sno-parks. The rental comes with usage of a sno-park permit, helmet, map and a complimentary full tank of gas!
Good 2 Go is an all-season company renting snowmobiles from the heart of The Village in Sunriver, located between the bookend snowmobiling networks of Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Mount Bachelor. They offer sunrise to sunset rentals from $200 for a single seat, to $300 for high performance rentals, and an option to pick up your sled the night before. Also in Sunriver, you’ll find Adventure Rentals, where you can rent the full package with a trailer to boot.
Elk Lake Lodge also rents snowmobiles, where you can be sno-catted in for a cozy stay in one of their cabins, then cruise the trails all day long.
Snowmobile Tours Available in Central Oregon
With such an extensive area to explore, taking a snowmobile tour makes a ton of sense to sample the best snowmobiling trails in Central Oregon. Central Oregon Adventures serves as a hub for snowmobilers, from rentals to avalanche awareness courses. Led by professional guides, they offer small group tours of no more than six machines, which allows them to cater each experience to the group’s level and interests. Popular excursions are the infamous ride to Elk Lake Resort, and a two-hour tour around Mount Bachelor.
Whatever your snow machine dreams are, they’ll likely come true in Central Oregon. There aren’t many places where you can snowmobile all day, and then warm up with drinks and dinner afterwards at endless bars and restaurants in and around Bend. Bottoms up–but only after your riding day’s done!
Explore Nature’s Beauty
From the sagebrush-covered plains of the high desert to the towering pines and majestic mountain peaks, discover the diverse landscape Central Oregon has to offer.