White River / moderate / snowshoe
Hikers aiming to fill their camera frames with Mount Hood summit shots won’t do better than the White River Trail: the entire path wanders under the watchful eye of the volcano’s massive cinder cone. Perched on Hood’s southern flank, White River is often soaked in sun. Atop Boy Scout Ridge, at some 5,000 feet, the peak’s yawning crevasses, towering seracs, and blue-green glacial ice appear close enough to touch.
Round trip: 5 miles. Distance from downtown: 63 miles. Map: Mt Hood Ski and Snowshoe Trails —Christopher Van Tilburg
Devil’s Half Acre / moderate / cross-country skiing
Seek out this hidden gem when Trillium Lake’s trails are jammed with skiers. The path was first blazed in 1845 by legendary Cascade mountain man Samuel Barlow, who hoped to spare Oregon Trail travelers a sketchy barge ride down the swift-moving Columbia River. After a quick descent, the pioneer-era road traverses a corridor of tall pines that gives way to an expansive meadow at the base of a softly sloping knoll. Use this backcountry bunny hill to practice telemark turns, or as a secluded listening post for the rat-a-tat-tats of wintering pileated woodpeckers.
Round trip: 3 miles. Distance from downtown: 59 miles. Map: Green Trails No. 462 —CVT
Glade Trail / difficult / cross-country skiing
The historic Glade Trail links the alpine hamlet of Government Camp to the mighty Timberline Lodge. Following the path of a bygone tramway line (from which a Portland city bus was suspended during the 1950s), the wide swath rises 2,000 feet over 3.5 miles. Meander past dense groves of Douglas fir and western red cedar before you emerge near Timberline’s Blossom Chairlift. Warm your bones at the lodge’s Ram’s Head Bar and mark your calendar for the annual “Ski the Glade” event in March, when the trail is groomed for a day of retro-themed skiing. (Check mthoodmuseum.org for the date.)
Round trip: 7 miles. Distance from downtown: 56 miles. Map: Green Trails No. 462 —CVT
Crosstown Trail System / easy / snowshoe
Government Camp’s rolling Crosstown Trail fits the bill for novice outdoorsmen and families in need of a short, no-hassle day trip. True, you won’t wander far from civilization, but stands of giant salal, hibernating rhododendron bushes, and subalpine pines filter the highway noise well enough to maintain the Narnia-in-winter vibe. And should your budding snowshoer tire of the fairy tale in favor of hot cider, a multitude of side trails leading back to town will let you bail out pronto.
Round trip: 3 miles. Distance from downtown: 55 miles. Map: Green Trails No. 461 —CVT