One thing that has been really nice about Bend and Central Oregon, is the ability to escape the dry sage landscape and head up into the mountains, where at this time of year, we have been greeted by mounds of snow. Most locals will say winter time in Bend, consists of storms that will drop 3-4 inches, and stay 3 or 4 days then it will all melt away in town. But for people like me, who love winter, the proximity to the Cascade Range brings the opportunity to get into serious deep snow, simply by driving 20-30 mins up.
Recently, we have had the chance to take quick Sunday trips up into the mountains as they received their first noticeable quantities of snow. Both of these hikes start after a 30 minute drive from our house in Tumalo. Mt. Bachelor and the surrounding peaks have been getting steady snow, and even as I type this they are being pounded by heavy snow and HUGE winds that should end up with a really nice base to ski in the coming weeks.
Tumalo Mountain is across the Cascade Lakes Highway from Mt. bachelor and serves at a popular snow shoe and back country ski destination for peeps from Bend who want to earn some turns. We decided to check it out, and scout the terrain because a few backcountry ski runs is definitely something I would like to learn how to do this season. The hike gains about 2,000 over 2 miles (so it’s consistenly up, with few switchbacks) and opens to a huge ridgeline that drops into a beautiful bowl below. We were battered by driving snow on our hike up, but there was only 3 or so inches on the ground early in the season. I can really see why this is a popular spot to earn some turns, and a great place to escape crowds that gather across the mountain at Bachelor.
Todd Lake sits in the same general area, and can be reached by a quick walk from the parking lot. The views at Todd Lake are supposed to be fantastic, but unfortunately the day we hiked up there, it was really socked in with driving snow. We were able to hike up ont he ridge above the lake and sit to enjoy some hot chocolate, as the peaceful mountain snow fell around us. I really would like to go back up there on a bluebird day, because the lake views, and scenery or Bachelor and Broken Top are supposed to be max! We are very fortunate to be able to have a lazy Sunday morning, and still be able to get into some of these environments with a short drive and a quick hike.
Cheers to Bend!