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There are many options for winter sports on the Umatilla National Forest. If you like cross-country or down-hill skiing, sledding, or even mushing, the Umatilla National Forest offers it all.
SLEDDING ON THE UMATILLA:
Many families head for the mountains during the winter months just to play in the snow. Several areas on the Forest are popular for sledding and innertubing. However, a fast ride downslope can end against a tree or even out into a busy highway, so caution and attention to safety should be observed. If young children are involved, adults should take a change of clothes, watch for signs of fatigue, and make time for rest and high energy snacks.
Rose Springs - Located off of Forest Road 46 about 15 miles south of Pomeroy, WA, this area offers the perfect slope for sledding. This area is located off of the road with ample parking.
Andies Prairie - This area is located just off of Oregon State Highway 204, 7 miles east of Tollgate and offers a place for the whole family to play.
DOWNHILL SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
If you are a winter sports enthusiast, the Blue Mountains offer blue skies and sunshine. This forest administers two ski areas in the heart of the Blues.
Ski Bluewood and Spout Springs ski areas operate under a special use permit and offer downhill skiing opportunities from late November through early April.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING AND SNOWSHOEING
Cross country skiing is winter sport that can be enjoyed almost anywhere, by anyone. With the right equipment, any area with minimum snow cover and flat ground can be a cross country skier's playground.
Although designated, marked areas are limited on the forest, many opportunities are available for the Nordic Ski enthusiast. A variety of landscapes await skiers, from dense forest canopy to wide open prairie. Roads, closed during the winter months allow skiers to explore the winter forest. A few marked Nordic trail systems are available on the forest. Designated trails are marked with blue diamond shaped markers and primarily follow existing roads. Most designated routes are suitable for beginning and intermediate skiers.
Horseshoe Prairie- Located 7 miles south of Tollgate, OR on the west side of State HWY 204. The 7 miles of marked trail maintains an average elevation of about 5,000 feet.
Meacham Divide- Located 19 miles west of La Grande, OR, or 37 miles east of Pendleton, OR. From I-84, take Summit Road, Exit 243 and go north 1.7 miles to the Emily Sno-Park. This is Oregon's second largest Nordic Area. The trail system is over 20 km long comprised of 8 trails.
In the winter months closed forest roads are accessible by snowmobile. Be aware of skiers as these roads are open to crosscountry skiing and snowshoeing as well.
SnoPark Permits are required to park at snowmobiling, cross-country ski, downhill ski, snow shoeing and sledding areas from November 1-April 30. Money collected pays for snow removal, trail grooming, sanitation, education programs and enforcement. Begining in November 2013, Oregon and Washington state no longer honor each other's permits for winter recreation areas.