If you want to have a day or two to play in the snow this winter, the Cascade Mountains are calling! Just an hour from downtown Eugene, there are several options for making the most of a snowy adventure. Here are a few of our favorite ways to play in the snow.

PNW Rides Shuttle Van to Ski Resorts
: PNW Rides

PNW Rides Shuttle Van to Ski Resorts

Take a Shuttle Bus to the Ski Resorts

Depending on snow levels and demand, PNW Rides offers a shuttle van on most days to Mt. Bachelor, Hoodoo or Willamette Pass during the winter ski season. These rides depart early in the morning from Berg's Ski Shop downtown, arriving at the slopes just as the lifts are opening, and return to Eugene in the late afternoon or early evening. All van trips require advance reservations.

The City of Eugene's River House also offers a youth ski shuttle for children ages 12 -17 years old on Saturdays, departing from Sheldon Community Center or Echo Hollow Pool, depending on the date. This ski van goes to Willamette Pass. There is an opportunity to purchase discounted lift tickets and gear rental during registration, or provide your own gear and season pass.

Berg's also has re-started its Saturday ski bus program for all ages. Advance reservations required.

Snow Camping Tent Site by Joey Jewell

Snow Camping Tent Site on a Guided Expedition

Go with a Guide on a Customized Tour

Local tour guides make it easy to enjoy snowshoeing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and even snow camping. As packages, transportation and group minimums vary, please check directly with the guide service. For example, the Cascades Outdoor Center based in Westfir provides snowshoeing expeditions with a picnic lunch. Gear is not included but they do have snowshoe rentals available.

Salt Creek Sno Park

Snow sledding in the Cascade Mountains

Join an Adventure Group on an Outing

REI offers occasional cross-country and snowshoeing orientations at their Eugene location. Watch their calendar for group treks to nearby Sno-Parks including cross-country for beginners or moonlight snowshoeing. They also offer virtual sessions on snow sport and safety basics.

The University of Oregon's Outdoor Program rents snow gear and leads field trips for snowshoeing, skiing and snowboarding. To participate, you must either be a UO student or join as a "community member" paying nominal annual dues.

The River House Outdoor Center, operating with the City of Eugene, also offers occasional skiing and snowshoe tours. Willamalane in Springfield schedules seasonal snowshoeing trips and other outdoor adventures. Willamalane also rents snowshoes for independent jaunts.

Salt Creek Sno-Park Sledding by Taj Morgan

Salt Creek Sno-Park Sledding

Drive Your Own Car

If you have a car with the required tires and/or chains, you can drive directly to the snow. Please check weather and road conditions first. The closest Sno-Park to Eugene is Salt Creek Falls which offers a maintained parking lot and restroom. Snowshoe to a spectacular waterfall or romp on the sledding hill. Other Sno-Park destinations include Gold Lake, ideal for cross country skiing; and Waldo Lake, most popular for snowmobiling. You will need to purchase Sno-Park permits in advance (required November - April), as passes are not sold onsite.

The closest ski resort is Willamette Pass, just past Oakridge/Westfir. They offer downhill runs and Nordic trails. Next there is Hoodoo, just past the McKenzie River region. Hoodoo has downhill runs, Nordic trails, night skiing and an autobahn tubing park. Further on is Mt. Bachelor.

Berg's Ski Shop in Downtown Eugene by Melanie Griffin

Shopping Snowboards at Berg's Ski Shop in Downtown Eugene

Where to Get the Gear

If your guide doesn't provide it, you can rent or purchase snow equipment from local outfitters. Find quality consigned winter clothing and snow sport gear at Eugene Gear Traders. Other local outfitters include Berg's, which rents ski and snowboarding equipment and sells new apparel; REI, which has apparel and equipment; and Play it Again Sports, which sells used equipment. The UO's Outdoor Program may have gear that is used in association with their programs. 

In Oakridge, inquire at the Willamette Mountain Mercantile (they can also tune and wax your skis), Willamette Pass resort or Odell Lake resort for gear. In McKenzie River, Hoodoo is your best bet. Plan on bringing your own sled and snow shoes with you if you are heading to one of the Sno-Parks. Unlike the ski resorts, the parks do not have on-site rentals. 

Westfir Lodge in Snow by Tracey Sunflower

Westfir Lodge in Snow

Where to Stay

If you want to maximize your time in the snow, plan to stay overnight in the mountains. McKenzie River is closest to Hoodoo and Oakridge - Westfir is closest to Willamette Pass.

Terwilliger Hot Springs in the snow

Terwilliger Hot Springs in the snow

Add to Your Experience

  • Relax in the hot springs

  • Hang out in the local brew pub, or dine at one of the local eateries in Oakridge

  • Plan your return visit in the spring for hiking, fishing and camping

Before you head out, check out our Adventure Checklist to make sure you're prepared for the outdoors. Have fun in the snow!