As the temperature drops and it seems impossible to escape the everyday rain, it's easy for us in the Northwest to cuddle up on the couch with a warm cup of coffee and binge watch Oregon Field Guide (or maybe that's just us here at OPB). But this time of year is actually the perfect time to venture forth and enjoy the great Oregon outdoors! With a bevy of places to ski, snowboard, snowshoe and explore in the Northwest, here are seven picks that are a great place to adventure.

Snowshoe around Crater Lake National Park


Crater Lake isn't just beautiful in the summertime. The national park happens to be one of the snowiest inhabited regions in the United States, which makes for some spectacular views and provides a whole new way to explore one of Oregon's greatest natural wonders.

Take in this snowy wonderland this winter on a ranger-guided snowshoeing tour. On the weekends, visitors can sign up to tag along with a park ranger and explore the natural beauty of the park. These 1-mile guided tours are free (and snowshoes are provided free of charge as well) and last about two hours.

Want to trek out on your own? You can! The park is technically open 24 hours a day. Just be safe, smart and check weather reports ahead of time. For more information on snowshoeing tours and winter conditions, check out the National Park Service's website.

Bonus: Crater Lake National Park doesn’t collect entrance fees during winter months.

Dog sled rides on the Oregon Trail of Dreams

Take in the beauty of Central Oregon from the comfort of a dog sled. This family-friendly winter adventure is fun for all ages. These guided dog-sled rides offer a perfect way to experience a new side of Oregon’s largest ski resort. Oregon Trail of Dreams is owned and operated by an experienced Iditarod musher, Rachel Scdoris, and features elite, athletic dogs who have competed in the historic race.

Under the guidance of an experienced dog musher, you’ll take a one-hour dog-sled ride on a sled that can accommodate up to four people (perfect for small families). Those interested in learning more about maintaining a team of sled dogs (or those with small children) can hang around after the ride and help feed and water the dogs as well.
Rides for children cost $49, but prices for adults vary from $90-$105 depending on the day of the week.cFor more information about reservations and pricing, check out the Oregon Trail of Dreams’ website.

Take in the stars from Crystal Crane Hot Springs

Soak away in 100-plus degree mineral water under a brilliant Harney County sky at these rustic hot springs. Escape from the stresses of wintertime life and get out to Oregon's high desert for a remote, relaxing trip to Crystal Crane Hot Springs.

From a teepee with a private hot tub in the middle to old-school cabins, there are accommodations for everyone. Their wide selection of comfortable overnight accommodations start at $45 a night and go up from there. And these remote hot springs offer the perfect excuse to disconnect for the weekend and unwind. Just want to soak for a day?
Day use passes begin at $4.25.

For more information about pricing and reservations, visit Crystal Crane Hot Springs’ website.

Ski the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

When it comes to skiing or snowboarding in Oregon, there are no shortage of options.  But if you're looking for a less-crowded, new experience, head out to Eastern Oregon. Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort is just 35 miles northwest of Baker City, Oregon, nestled in Eastern Oregon’s Elkhorn Mountain range.

Less busy and crowded than the larger Western and Central Oregon ski resorts, Anthony Lakes offers more than 1,000 acres of lift-accessed terrain with a base elevation of more than 7,000 feet. It’s only open on weekends, but its full-service lodge offers all the accommodations of its larger peers. All-day lift tickets start at $21 for children and $35 for adults.  You can even rent out the entire mountain for a private party with their “Own The Mountain” package for a cool $4,000. For more information about hours, rentals and lodging, visit Anthony Lakes' website.

Explore the Willamette Pass

The Willamette National Forest is home to some of the best backcountry skiing and snowshoeing in the state. With numerous enclosed shelters in the Willamette Pass region, it's easy for experienced and beginners alike to trek through its thousands of acres of groomed nordic trails and find a spot to warm up or stay the night.
The Gold Lake Sno-Park Warming Shelter sits at the head of the Gold Lake Sno-Park (with an elevation of more than 5,000 feet). This shelter, staffed by the Willamette Backcountry Ski Patrol, provides hot drinks, snacks, maps and information for cross-country skiers and snowshoers. From there, you can make your way through numerous groomed trails to lakes and overnight shelters such as Westview and Bechtel, or head to the other side of Highway 58 for trails to more remote shelters such as the unique eight-sided Maiden Peak Shelter.

All shelters are on a first-come, first-serve basis, and exclusive use is prohibited. An Oregon Sno Pass is required to park in Sno-Park areas. You can get an annual permit for $25 from Oregon DMV locations a specific partners. For more information, visit the Forest Service’s website.

Find frozen waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge

This adventure takes a bit more luck, but has the potential to offer some of the best visuals you'll find. Oregon's side of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is home to more than 70 waterfalls, including gems such as Multnomah Falls, Horestail Falls and Bridal Veil Falls.

If the weather is just right (read: frigid cold) these powerful waterfalls can partially freeze, creating gorgeous natural ice sculptures. Roughly 30 miles east of Portland and easily accessed from Interstate 84 and the Historic Columbia River Highway 30, seeing many of these frozen falls require little more than parking the car. Hikes up into the Gorge offer even more possibilities.

Make a day out of it and grab lunch at the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge while taking in the view of Oregon's highest waterfall.


Camp out at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park

Take a winter trip to the Oregon Coast and camp out in a rustic, Mongolian-style yurt at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. These circular, domed tents can hold up to seven people and offer a comfortable base for your winter coastal explorations. Complete with electricity and heating, you'll stay warm and dry no matter the weather. Standards yurts start from $40 per night, and deluxe yurts (which have kitchens and bathrooms) go for $90.

Spend a day sightseeing, hiking or relaxing. There’s plenty to do from this location. The Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is less then a mile from the Central Oregon coast, and access to the 65-foot Umpqua River Lighthouse is just a short walk away. The park is nestled along the expansive Oregon Dunes Recreational Area as well, and there are plenty of hiking trails along the Umpqua River.

For more information about reservations, check out Oregon State Parks’ website.