Spend a few days curled up in winter wonderland lodging, warming up with a steamy drink and a crackling fire. The Cascade Mountains offer a snowy playground perfect for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Even when there isn't snow on the ground, the magic of winter means there are fewer people around as you take in the beauty of Oregon.
Visit maintained Sno-Parks with sledding hills, trek to icy waterfalls or enjoy skiing and snowboarding at a mountain ski resort. Here are some favorite wintertime destinations you'll want to explore this season.
Oakridge - Westfir
The communities of Oakridge and Westfir are often (but not always) just below the snowline. This makes overnight logistics easy, with the Willamette National Forest just a short drive away. Salt Creek Falls Sno-Park is just twenty miles southeast, with Gold Lake Sno-Park just five miles further. Also in the same vicinity is Waldo Lake Sno-Park, known for its snowmobiling trails. Willamette Pass is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing.
There is a special magic about the McKenzie River area. A collection of small communities are carved out along the majestic McKenzie River. Snowshoe the McKenzie River Trail, which stretches for more than 20 miles alongside the river. Along the trail, you'll discover waterfalls and the hot springs-fed swimming pool at Belknap Hot Springs' rustic lodge. From here you can reach the Hoodoo Ski area in under an hour.
Willamette Valley Metro Area
Sometimes it snows in the Eugene - Springfield area. If your visit is during winter weather, stay in lodging perfect for snowy days. Hike or take the bus around downtown or stay indoors admiring the dazzling sparkle from warm, comfortable rooms. There are plenty of coffee shops serving up hot drinks, restaurants dishing up soups and stews, and distilleries pouring spirits. Poke around in a used book store, record store or antique shop. Show off your skill in an arcade or billiards parlor.
If the flakes aren't falling in town, you can still enjoy snowy day trips to Oakridge or the McKenzie River.
Okay, so most years it doesn't snow on the Oregon Coast. Winter in Florence is a great time to experience storm-watching from the comfort of a cozy hotel, enjoy the view from Heceta Head lighthouse or Cape Perpetua lookout on a sunny day or take a mushroom-hunting hike in the foggy mountains with the sound of the waves in the distance! The weather changes quickly but if you come prepared with the right gear, you'll have an unforgettable getaway no matter what the sky does.
Stay in Historic Old Town to get around easily to shops and restaurants, or book your stay just a little further out to maximize beach access, views or entertainment.
And as always, the weather from the coast to the mountains can change quickly, so no matter where you roam dress with warm layers and be prepared for unexpected rain, ice and snow. Before heading out, check for any new travel alerts.