Deschutes National Forest
|Mount Bachelor (Lyn Topinka, U.S. Geological Survey)|
Three Sisters (North, Middle, and South), a Broken Top, and a Bachelor. Those are the names of the five volcanic cones that make up the Three Sisters area of the Cascade Range. There's a psychological novel in there somewhere, but it's winter and that's not the first thing on our minds. We want to hit the slopes.
Mount Bachelor is the the most classic example of a shield volcano in the Three Sisters area of the Cascade Range. It's regularly sloping sides make for some great skiingpeople come from all over the world, put their money down, ski the mountain, and stay in the nearby commercial resorts. But it's on national forest land, so there's great and free cross-country skiing to be had around the mountain, too. And you don't have to choose one or the other. There are some connecting corridors between the commercial and public ski areas.
The Deschutes National Forest has five cross-country ski areas in the vicinity of Mount Bachelor. If you want to skirt the edge of the Three Sisters Wilderness Area, and maybe even head into it, the Three Creek Lake area to the north offers additional loops, including an expert loop out to the lake.
Cross-Country Skiing around Mount Bachelor
Dutchman Flat - Has some of the most challenging trails, and a connecting corridor to (commercial) Mount Bachelor Nordic Lodge. Take the Cascade Lakes Highway to the Dutchman Flat Parking Area. The area offers an 11-mile easy ski along the unplowed portion Cascade Lakes Highway, and several expert trails.
Edison Butte - Features an old-growth forest trail. Take highway 45 off the Cascade Lakes Highway. Mostly beginner and intermediate trails.
Skyliner/Meissner - Features Tumalo Falls. Thirteen miles west of Bend via Galveston Avenue and Skyliners Road. Good beginner trails shading into intermediate.
Swampy Lakes - Through lodgepole pine territory. Parking off Cascade Lakes Highway east of Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. Extensive set of loops of mostly beginner and intermediate difficulty.
Vista Butte - Features dry lakes and dense forest. Parking across Cascade Lakes Highway from Mt. Bachelor Ski Resort. Mostly beginner and intermediate trails with a couple of short expert sections.
Cross-Country Skiing around Three Creek Lake
Traveling south or uphill on the Three Creek Lake Trail system will eventually lead one up to Ian McArthur Rim in the Three Sisters Wilderness. Nordic trails are not marked in wilderness areas and using a map and compass is advisable.
The trails begin at the Upper Three Creek Lake Sno-Park located near the junction of Forest Roads 16 and 1620.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication