If you're new here in Bend or Central Oregon and you're trying to figure out all the ways to enjoy winter fun, one of the classic destinations is definitely a winter sno park. It's a mystery that stretches from Oregon to Washington to California sno parks: Why no "w" in snow? Maybe there was no room left on the signs? In any case, here are a few details to know.
Get a pass. No, this is not the same pass you bought when you parked at summertime bike trails, or even that time you took your mom to Smith Rock State Park. Sno parks require a Sno-Park permit, valid from November to April of the following year. Pay $4 for a day pass, or $25 for the entire season (ski and bike shops in the area may charge a little more to sell you one). They're also available at dmv2u.oregon.gov/eServices/_/,
Bonus: The passes are valid in Idaho and California, too!
Check out the highlight reel. Before you go all "surly local" and start looking for the lesser-traveled sno-parks, check out some of Central Oregon's faves along the Cascade Lakes Highway (aka Century Drive). Wanoga is a popular choice for families, and well, everyone else, boasting a giant parking lot for snowmobiles, a "snow play" area complete with bonfires and a sledding hill, and dog friendly Nordic ski and snowshoe trails. For a Nordic-only vibe, check out Meissner, where you'll find loads of groomed trails and fun "ski hut" destinations. Swampy has huts, too, and may be a bit less crowded. For awesome views where you can snowshoe or Nordic ski (or to snowmobile or try out off-piste skiing), Dutchman Flat is the spot. The views of Broken Top can't be beat.