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
There are many routes in this area and the snowshoer can continue farther down the main route or take an off-shoot trail that leads to other views of Mount Hood and snow-covered forest to explore. You can snowshoe 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 snowshoer would like to see more views of Mount Hood, hike past the powerlines and soon you will come upon a mass of rocks and sediment, which descended from the White River Glacier. If conditions are right, the snowshoer might be able to ascend them with care. The view of the mountain is even more 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, hike 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 hike a little farther past the powerlines leads you to another great view of Mount Hood. To change up the route back, snowshoers can cross the White River and get back to the highway from the north side of the river.
After climbing the somewhat steep slope entering a snowfield filled with trees, another option presents itself and the path will curve around the top of the snow bowl. The snowshoer will soon reach a well-used and defined Nordic track. You should be mindful and considerate to avoid trampling the track. For this route, the snowshoer should turn right and head uphill, following 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.