UPDATED: December 2023
Before the snow even starts falling we are chomping at the bit to get out in the white stuff. Here are some ideas for what YOU can do so that you can start planning your next southern Oregon winter vacation!
SNOWSHOEING AT CRATER LAKE
Probably one of the coolest things you will ever do in your life. Crater Lake National Park offers FREE ranger-guided snowshoe walks starting in December through April. You just have to make your reservation and show-up and they will do the rest; they even provide the snowshoes! The only limitations are that it is for ages 8 and up. See our adventure when we took our ten-year-old here or make your reservation by calling 541-594-3100.
You can also rent snowshoes and venture out on your own. For your convenience, we will add a list of places for rentals later!
SKI OR SNOWBOARD
Grab your skis or snowboard and venture to one of our Southern Oregon mountains in the Cascades and Siskiyous.
Mt. Ashland Ski Area
With five lifts and twenty-three trails including a beginner’s hill and two terrain parks for freestylers, Mt. Ashland offers specials throughout the season making it possible for just about anyone to try it out. Even if you aren’t into snowboarding or skiing, you can always attend the events that are held throughout the season such as Bavarian Night providing live music, food, and community spirit. Get all of the details on their website.
WARNER CANYON SKI AREA
Warner Canyon Ski Area is the lesser-known ski area of Southern Oregon it is the second-oldest ski area in the whole state. With one lift and twenty-two runs the small-town feel makes it a fun destination when you are visiting Lakeview. See more on our past story.
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING
Snap on some skis to explore our backcountry through a whole different lens. Some of the most popular spots include Diamond Lake, Crater Lake, and Lake of the Woods Resort. Equipment can be rented at the lodges or if you want to venture out on your own you can hit the local outdoor stores for rentals.
The first time I ever went it was in the dark holding onto my friend’s snow jacket for dear life as we sped from our cabin to the Diamond Lake lodge. It was exhilarating and terrifying all at once and I immediately wanted to do it again. It’s definitely an experience that everyone needs to have once in their life.
Olivia can’t stop talking about ice skating and while we can go anytime at the RRRink in Medford, ice skating outside makes it feel like a whole different experience. Fortunately, we have more than one option with the Ashland Rotary Centennial Ice Rink in Ashland and the Bill Collier Ice Arena at the Running Y Ranch just north of Klamath Falls on Highway 140 near Spence Mountain. As long as the weather holds up both arenas are open into February.
We basically sled wherever we can find a hill including our local park! If you can drive a little ways out, just an hour or so, there are some really great places to go around southern Oregon. Make a day of it, break out your snow clothes, cook up a crockpot of chili and spend a day playing in the snow. Where should you go?
FAREWELL BEND, UNION CREEK
Farewell Bend is free except for the snow permit. There are three hills that you have to walk up with varying degrees of incline. Ilias and Olivia have a great time zooming down the hills racing one another. Last time we went it was crazy busy, so be ready for a crowd! If you want to skip the crowd I would suggest going during the week if you can. Also, there is only one bathroom available so just be prepared.
TABLE MOUNTAIN, HYATT LAKE
Table Mountain was one of my favorite places to go when I was a teenager! We would take our inner tubes and fly down the hill with four more people than should be possible on one tube. They even have a warming shelter that you can bring your own wood for. It also is free!
DIAMOND LAKE RESORT
Diamond Lake now has a conveyor belt that can move hundreds of people in an hour. They provide everything you need for the day for a nominal fee. Keep an eye out for cosmic tubing in the dark complete with firepits and a DJ. If you want to stay the night they offer cabins too!
Something I’ve never tried, but would really like, to is ice fishing! Lake of the Woods Resort rents you all that you need to get the job done and if you want to stay the weekend they too have cabins for rent.
Hiking in southern Oregon isn’t just for the warmer months. We love to hike as a family in the winter too! Many of the lower elevation trails may have a smattering of snow that just adds to the beauty of the adventure. Just be ready with four-wheel drive for some places such as White Rabbit Trail in Ashland. Grizzly Peak in Ashland, the Table Rocks in White City, Mill Creek Falls in Prospect, Cathedral Hills in Grants Pass, Watson Falls and Toketee Falls in the Umpqua are some of our other favorites to hike in the winter. See many of our hiking adventures both in the snow and other times of the year here.
As you can see there are numerous possibilities for snow adventures. We hope that you take the time to explore southern Oregon in the winter because it is truly a magical place. Just dress warm and you will be ready to go!
You must have a permit to for snow-parks in Oregon. You can either grab them online or at any of our outdoor stores listed below.
PLACES TO RENT EQUIPMENT
Mountain Adventures in Medford
SNOWSHOE & X-COUNTRY SKI RENTALS
Medford – Blackbird
Roseburg – Waldron’s