Sun lovers, rejoice — warm weather is (probably) coming this weekend.
Chris Sabo, U.S. Forest Service trails specialist, has some recommendations for good summer trail access, which include the Badlands Wilderness Area, the Horse Butte trails to the southeast of Bend, (snow line is around 5,000-5,200 feet) and Bessie Butte, “a one-mile hike ... with some nice views of the local area,” he said.
Trails around Central Oregon are in varying conditions as the spring transition continues. Deschutes River Trail, south of Bend, is melting out — expect some potholes, mud and patchy snow, but the trail should be in pretty good shape overall, said Sabo.
Benham East Trail access had some snow last week, but should be snow-free by the weekend, said Sabo.
Trail of the Molten Land at Lava Butte is closed for some reconstruction work. Lava Lands Visitor Center will be opening in early May.
The gate at Phil’s Trailhead is not open yet. Sections of trails above 4,700 feet or in shaded areas may have patchy snow. The trails are accessible by foot or bike. Expect a fairly full parking lot over the weekend, said Sabo.
The road into Tumalo Falls is still gated and closed to motorized vehicles. Hikers and bikers are likely to hit snow about two miles down the road.
Newberry Crater is just coming out of the winter season and Peter Skene Ogden Trail is not yet recommended, said Sabo. In Crescent, low-elevation trails have early spring conditions.
Peterson Ridge Trail is in good condition up to 4,800 feet, said Sabo. Metolius River Trail is in fair to good condition. Access to Black Butte is still closed for road construction and the trail is blocked by snow.
Trails in the Crooked River Grasslands are likely to have good conditions, said Sabo. For more information, visit the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests website (www .fs.usda.gov/centraloregon).
“Winter trails are waning,” said Sabo. But those who need to squeeze in a little more snow time should head to high elevation sno-parks (including Dutchman, Meisner, Wanoga and Swampy), where at least the snow depth is still fair to good. The snow itself may be “a little too soft for most folks,” and might get “sloppy” with the rain expected today followed by temperatures in the 60s and 70s over the weekend, said Sabo. Snowmobile trail No. 2 at Wanoga has bare spots and is not recommended.
Cascade Lakes Highway remains closed until further notice for plowing south of Elk Lake, down to the Crescent Cutoff Road.
Elk Lake Resort closed for the winter season last week.
At Upper Three Creek Sno-park (near Sisters) and Ten Mile Sno-park (Newberry Crater), expect bare spots and mud. Plowing operations will likely begin next week or sooner on Road 21 out of Ten Mile. Crescent Lake sno-parks are marginal. Skyliner Sno-park has patchy snow at best.