The Ultimate Guide to Cross Country Skiing in Bend

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Central Oregon is well known for its abundance of outdoor adventure opportunities, and cross-country skiing is front and center during the winter months. Since moving to Bend, I have made Nordic skiing a mainstay for workouts and getting outside during the winter months.

We have even added a ski trailer to our garage full of outdoor gear so we can bring our littlest one along on our ski trips.

From flying on freshly groomed trails at Virginia Meissner to breaking trail through fresh powder at Dutchman Flat, there is plenty of adventure for everyone around Bend.

Groomed Cross Country Ski Trails in Bend

Six areas in Bend are groomed for cross-country skiing, including the United States’ longest ski season, which takes place at Mt. Bachelor.

Virginia Meissner

Location: NF-4615, Bend, OR 97701
Miles of Trails: 29 miles of groomed trails
Amenities: Warming huts, heated lodge, snowshoe trails, restrooms
Dogs Allowed: No
Check Grooming Status: Nordic Pulse

skiing at virginia meissner nordic trails

Virginia Meissner Nordic trails are located approximately 15 miles from downtown Bend along the Cascade Lakes highway. The cross-country ski trails at Virginia Meissner are some of the most popular in the area due to their exceptional grooming and proximity to town.

The Meissner Nordic Ski Club maintains and grooms the trails and runs its operations 100% by donations from the community. This means there are no passes to buy when using the trails but please consider dropping a donation into the donation box near the trailheads. They also have a Venmo link for the cashless skiers amongst us.

Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center

Location: Mt. Bachelor West Village Lot
Miles of Trails: 35 miles of groomed trails
Amenities: Nordic Lodge, ski rentals, lessons, restrooms, food and coffee
Dogs Allowed: No
Check Grooming Status: Mt. Bachelor Nordic Conditions

mt bachlor nordic center in the snow

Mt. Bachelor boasts a world-class Nordic system that is used as training grounds for Olympic athletes every spring due to it having one of the longest seasons in the country.

If you’re new to Nordic skiing then this is a great spot to take a lesson to get your feet, and skis, under you so you can fully enjoy your time out on the trails.

We love Mt. Bachelor as the Nordic season typically runs well into the spring. The last two years we have cross-country skied on Memorial Day weekend in t-shirts!

The trails here are quite a bit hillier than at Meissner so come prepared for a workout on the trails!

Swampy Lakes

Location: Swampy Lakes Sno-Park
Miles of Trails: Connects to 29 miles of groomed trails + many more ungroomed
Amenities: Restrooms
Dogs Allowed: No

virginia meissner cross country ski trail at sunrise

The Swampy Lakes Sno-Park and Nordic trail system connect to the western edge of the Virginia Meissner trail system. That means from this sno-park you can access the extensive network of trails groomed by Meissner Nordic as well as dozens more miles of ungroomed trails that can take you to untracked buttes with thrilling downhill runs and modern warming huts.

To access the groomed trails head straight north from the parking lot until you run into the Tangent trail. You can’t miss it!

If you turn right onto Tangent the trail will take you downhill (watch your speed as there is a steep s-curve to navigate on this section of trail) to the Meissner Sno-Park. Turn left and you’ll also head downhill but into the heart of the trail system where there are numerous loop options to enjoy.

If going off groom is more your style then we enjoy the Swampy Loop with a stop at the Swampy Lakes Shelter. The shelter was recently rebuilt and has a large sliding wood door to keep the inside of the hut toasty on cold winter days.

The Ridge Loop to Vista Butte trail is another fun option if you’re looking for some off-trail downhill turns.

Wanoga Sno-Park

Location: Wanoga Sno-Park
Miles of Trails: 2 Miles of groomed trails + many more ungroomed and snowmobile trails
Amenities: Restrooms, warming hut, sledding hill, dog-friendly trails
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Check Grooming Status: Dogpac Facebook Page

Wanoga Sno-Park is located just across the street from the Meissner Sno-Park and offers a great skiing alternative for those who like to bring their pups along for some fun.

In general, any sno-park along the south side of the Cascades Lakes Highway is open to dogs during the winter months while the sno-parks on the north side are closed to our canine friends.

The groomed trail here is an approximately 2-mile long loop that is groomed a few times a week by volunteers at Dogpac.

Skyline Park

Location: Skyline Park (not to be confused with Skyliners Sno-Park)
Miles of Trails: 1km groomed loop (no tracks set)
Amenities: Restrooms, nearby coffee shop, lights for night skiing
Dogs Allowed: No
Check Grooming Status: BPRD Winter Updates Page

Skyliner Park is located right in NW Bend and, thanks to the efforts of numerous volunteers, now has the equipment to offer groomed Nordic skiing in town. And best of all the park is lit for night skiing which is a huge win for those who want to get in a quick ski after work!

We haven’t had much of a snowpack in town the last few years so grooming opportunities have been limited. Fingers crossed though that this is the year we can finally take advantage of this amazing cross-country skiing opportunity in Bend!

The loop is perfectly flat so this is a great spot for newbies and kids to work on their skate skiing form without having to worry about hills.

Hoodoo Ski Area

Location: Hoodoo Ski Area
Miles of Trails: 11 Miles of groomed trails
Amenities: Restrooms, rentals, lodge amenities
Dogs Allowed: No
Check Grooming Status: Hoodoo Nordic Conditions

Hoodoo is located approximately an hour from Bend out past Sisters. This is a lower elevation mountain than Mt. Bachelor so their season can be quite a bit shorter but they are a great lower-priced option for professionally groomed Nordic trails.

The mountain also offers low-priced downhill skiing and a tubing hill for the kids!

Ungroomed Nordic Trails

If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and enjoy some solitude out in the mountains then there is no shortage of ungroomed Nordic trails to enjoy as well!

The Central Oregon Nordic Club has a wealth of information on trails, maps, classes, and group outings. If you’re looking to get more involved in ungroomed Nordic skiing I’d check them out!

Here’s a quick rundown of our favorite sno-parks for ungroomed cross-country skiing in and around Bend.

Three Creeks

Location: Three Creeks Sno-Park
Amenities: Restrooms
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Warming Hut: Yes

Three Creeks Sno-Park is located outside of Sisters and offers miles of Nordic and snowshoe trails. These trails lead you to some amazing views of the Three Sisters Wilderness and the incredibly scenic Jefferson View Shelter.

This area can get busy with snowmobilers but once you’re out on the Nordic trails you’ll hardly notice them.

Dutchman Flats

Location: Dutchman Flats Sno-Park
Amenities: Restrooms
Dogs Allowed: No
Warming Hut: No

Cross country skiing at Dutchman Flats near Bend

Dutchman Flats is located across the Cascade Lakes Highway from Mt. Bachelor and, unfortunately, is one of the most popular sno-parks in the area for both skiers and snowmobilers. Because of this, it can be difficult to find a parking spot during the weekend.

Luckily you also have the option of parking at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center and skiing along the common corridor (for free!) to access the Nordic trails.

One of our favorite treats to find in this area is occasionally one of the groomers (we’re not sure if it is the groomer at Mt. Bachelor or one of the snowmachine groups) will run a beautiful corduroy trail up into the Three Sisters Wilderness that is an absolute joy to skate ski. Unless you’re in the know there are no announcements on when this happens.

Skyliners Sno-Park

Location: Skyliners Sno-Park
Amenities: Restrooms
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Warming Hut: No

Skyliners Sno-Park is a great spot for visitors as it is one of the only sno-parks in the area that doesn’t require a sno-park pass. From this sno-park, you can ski the Tumalo Creek Trail out to Tumalo Falls or follow some of the off-the-beaten-path trails up onto the ridges overlooking the parking lot.

Ten Mile Sno-Park

Location: Ten Mile Sno-Park
Amenities: Restrooms
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Warming Hut: Yes

This is one of the few locations in Central Oregon where you can cross-country ski to a lodge that is open during the winter. Paulina Lake Lodge makes for a perfect stop during a day trip or you can even rent a cabin for an overnight stay!

The trail here is shared by snowshoers and skiers so it can get a little chunky if it’s been a minute between snowfalls.

Edison Butte

Location: Edison Butte Sno-Park
Amenities: Restrooms
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Warming Hut: Yes

Edison Butte Sno-Park has an impressive collection of both Nordic and snowshoe trails crisscrossing through lava rock formations that can make for some fun up-and-downs.

There used to be two warming shelters on this trail system, the AC/DC shelter and the Edison shelter but the Edison shelter has been closed due to structural concerns. The CONC has plans to replace the shelter in the coming years so keep your eyes open for that!

Where to Rent or Buy Cross-Country Skis in Bend

Bend has no shortage of ski shops where you can buy are rent cross-country gear. For rentals, we really like Pine Mountain Sports for their wide range of backcountry and classic gear.

Sunnyside Sports is another great option for renting classic or skate skis. They also rent out kids’ skis and sleds/pulks for pulling gear or little ones on the trails.

If you’re looking to buy used gear then we like both Latitidue 44 Sports and The Gear Fix. They usually have a wide selection of skis and boots in stock.

Best Cross Country Ski Trails for Kids

We’ve had our kids on cross-country skis since they were 3 years old so we’ve experienced all the ups and downs that come along with teaching little ones to ski.

If you’re looking to take your kids out for their first ski then here are a few of our favorite trails to try out. Just remember to pack plenty of hand warmers and hot cocoa for an after ski treat!

Lodgepole Loops at Virginia Meissner

The Lodgepole Loops at Meissner are a great spot for kids and beginners to start. There are a variety of loops you can take to keep your first outings short and the trails are mostly flat.

Big Meadow Trails at Dutchman Flats

The Big Meadow Trails at Dutchman Flats is another short and flat cross-country ski trail that is perfect for kids. If everyone is feeling good there are plenty of side trails to explore and small hills to glide down.

Skate Loop at Skyline Park

When we have snow in Bend the groomed loop at Skyline Park is a great spot for night skiing with the kids. Best of all you’re never more than a couple minutes from the car so the minute they start getting cold and tired it’s easy to pull the plug on the outing!

About the author
Derek Carlson
Pacific Northwest native, cross-country skier, hiker, mountain biker, wannabe fly fisherman, writer and owner of Roam the Northwest