Go play in the snow! (2011)
Snowshoe at Sumpter Valley Dredge
Did you know that you can snowshoe here? Park Ranger Miranda Krane and volunteers go out daily and mark almost three miles of trails through the tailings left by the historic dredge.
Want a guided tour? Join Ranger Krane on a two-mile snowshoe trek Jan. 15. She will share tips on spotting wildlife, plus talk about the history of this unusual place. The Friends of Sumpter Dredge sponsors the event. Meet in front of the dredge at 10 a.m. Although the parking lot, restroom and dredge are closed for the season, you can park at the office lot outside the gated entrance, or park by the dredge superintendent’s house, one block north of the entrance.
Take off from your cabin at Emigrant Springs
You can start a snowshoe or cross-country ski jaunt from your cabin or campsite at Emigrant Springs State Heritage Area.
Park Manager Matt Rippee says, “This is a GREAT place for winter recreation.” Snow is usually about 3 feet deep. The park has eight reservable cabins and five full hookup sites open first-come, first-served during the winter. Rippee adds that the shower/restroom building is open; the fire pits are clear, and firewood is on sale.
Use Wallowa Lake as your base camp
Wallowa Lake State Park is ideally located for visitors attending two annual area events—the Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race Jan. 5-8, and Winterfest 2011, Jan. 11-13, sponsored by the Wallowa County Gamblers Snowmobile Club. The club also is hosting the 2011 Oregon State Snowmobile Association Convention Jan. 18-22.
The park has two yurts and 10 campsites that stay open in the winter. Water is available from frost-free faucets throughout the campground.
What about the west side?
At least two state parks west of the Cascades have a chance of snow on the ground.
For the first time, Detroit Lake State Recreation Area has 35 full hookup sites open first-come, first-served this winter. If there is snow, campers can snowshoe, cross-country ski and sled on three miles of closed campground roads. Park Manager Bob Rea points out that even if there isn’t snow in the park, you’re just a few miles from several feet of snow. Rea also says winter fishing is excellent at the lake and the new winter boat ramp is open (Jan. 5 Update: The winter boat ramp is closed at least through Jan. 10. The water level is 3 feet below normal low lake level.)
When snow hits the coastal foothills, Stub Stewart State Park has good sledding on the slopes of Hilltop Day-use and Clayhill Horse Staging areas. With more than 20 miles of trails, you’re bound to find one for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. Dairy Creek Camp West sites 2-17, Dairy Creek Camp West Walk-in tent sites 18-29, Brooke Creek Hike-in Camp and Mountain Dale Cabin Village are open.