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Winter is a great time to enjoy recreating on your national forest. From skiing to snowmobiling, always be prepared for changing winter weather conditions. Many forest roads close Dec. 1 - April 30; consult your motorized recreation use maps for more information. The condition of forest roads that remain open to travel during the winter/spring can change dramatically and without warning; wind, snow and rain events can substantially affect road and trail conditions causing hazards and obstructions to travel. Please contact your local office before your trip. Here are a few tips for safe winter recreation.
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 use caution and pay attention! Use helmets, take changes of clothes, watch for signs of fatigue, and make time for rest and high energy snacks.
Rose Springs - 15 miles south of Pomeroy, WA on FSR 46. This area offers the perfect slope for sledding with ample parking.
Andies Prairie - 7 miles east of Tollgate , OR off State HWY 204. Offers a place for the whole family to play.
DOWNHILL SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
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 Nov. through early April.
CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING AND SNOWSHOEING
With the right equipment, minimum snow cover, and flat ground, cross-country skiing is winter sport that can be enjoyed almost anywhere, by anyone. 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 - 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 - 19 miles west of La Grande, OR, or 37 miles east of Pendleton, OR. From I-84, take Summit Rd, Exit 243 and go north 1.7 miles to the Emily Sno-Park. 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 cross-country skiing and snowshoeing as well.
SnoPark Permits are required to park at all snowmobiling, cross-country ski, downhill ski, snow shoeing and sledding areas from Nov.1-April 30. Money collected pays for snow removal, trail grooming, sanitation, education programs and enforcement. Oregon and Washington States no longer honor each other's permits for winter recreation areas.