White River Sno Park is very popular amongst people who enjoy a variety of different snow activities. It can get very crowded, especially on the weekend. The view of Mount Hood that one sees immediately upon getting out of the car is a good reason why. Luckily, the crowd thins out quite a bit past the first half mile and it is definitely worth the short trek. For much of the time you spend exploring the park, the massive peak of Mount Hood is right in front of you.
What Makes It Great
When you arrive, it is simple to find the wide, well-used trail that will lead you to the forest, snow bowl, and powerlines that make up the 1-mile or 3-mile loop. There are many routes in this area and the cross country skier can explore farther up the main trail or take on off-shoot trail that leads to other views of Mount Hood and snow-covered forests to explore. You can ski past the powerlines up the river, explore the ridgeline, or head into the woods. For your convenience, there are blue diamond marks on the trees that lead the explorer back to the parking area.
If the skier would like to see more views of Mount Hood, ski past the powerlines and soon you will come upon a mass of rocks and sediment, which descended from the White River Glacier. The view of the mountain is spectacular from this point.
Who is Going to Love It
There are several options for exploring the sno park that can accommodate any skill level. A short option is a 1-mile round trip route that follows an old quarry road up White River Canyon and ends at a snow bowl. To extend your trip, ski up a hill from the south side and to the powerlines, which makes this a 3-mile round-trip hike. If you feel up to it, a short ski a little farther past the powerlines leads you to another great view of Mount Hood.
After climbing the somewhat steep slope entering a snowfield filled with trees, the path will curve around the top of the bowl and the cross-country skier will soon reach a well-used and defined Nordic track. For this route, the skier should turn right and head uphill and follow the silver diamond trail markers. After almost 2 miles, the scene opens up to a view of the White River canyon and another spectacular view of Mount Hood.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to White River Sno Park from Portland, take Highway 26 to Government Camp then take the Hood River exit for Highway 35. In 4 miles, you will approach the sno park and you should park in the western parking lot.
The trail is best from December through March. A Sno-Park pass is required.