McKenzie Pass is still open, until “heavy and reliable snow" starts falling and the state closes it for the season, according to Chris Sabo, U.S. Forest Service trails specialist.
Last week the pass was believed to be closed because of snow, but plows were able to clear the 9-10 inches of snowfall, Sabo said.
Cascade Lakes Highway is also still open, and area trails have seen a slight retreat of last week’s snow.
“We’re basically back to some decent fall hiking and biking conditions," said Sabo.
This week’s warm weather melted off last week’s snow up to elevations as high as 6,300 feet, leaving the snow on the high trails patchy and the lower trails ready for more dry weather action.
For disappointed winter enthusiasts, take heart: it’s an “easy come-easy go situation," until the season truly changes from fall to winter, said Sabo.
Paulina Peak Road and Forest Road 370 north of Todd Lake will remain closed for winter. Newberry Crater will be closed to vehicle traffic at the 10-mile gate as of Friday evening, said Sabo.
That road becomes a snowmobile trail when there is sufficient snow, which there currently is not. Hikers, bikers and equestrian trail users are still welcome after the gate closes. The rim trail may have some patchy snow, but the lower trails in Newberry Crater are in pretty good shape, said Sabo.
Tumalo Falls has reopened and the trails are “back to their normal fall operations," said Sabo.
Trails in Happy Valley may have some snow; other high trails may have some mud from last week’s snow melting.
Winter trail preparations are continuing, with volunteers stocking and repairing shelters and performing maintenance on nordic and snowmobile trails before the snow hits.
The best thing to do now is to enjoy the mild weather while we wait for the change in seasons. As you head onto the trails, be sure to take the essentials and go prepared for unexpected changes in the weather.