Added by Michael Graw
This snowshoe or cross-country ski route provides epic views of Diamond Peak, followed by a night of hanging out around the fire at one of Willamette National Forest's awesome winter shelters.
This is a great and relatively easy winter overnight trip for cross-country skiiers and snowshoers alike into the crest of the Oregon Cascades. The route offers tremendous views of Diamond Peak, Willamette Pass, and the western Oregon Cascades. While it can be done in a day, take advantage of the US Forest Service's Fuji Shelter and spend the night warming up next to the wood stove. Because of its accessibility and views, the hut can be popular on weekends but is usually deserted mid-week.
The trip starts at the Salt Creek Sno-Park, which is on the south side of OR-58 just west of Willamette Pass. You'll need a Sno-Park permit to park there. Wait to strap on your skis or snowshoes, since you'll have to cross the highway. Look for a snowed-in road just across the highway from the entrance to the Sno-Park - you'll be following this road up the flanks up Fuji Mountain. Once you're safely out of the way of traffic, strap into your skis or snowshoes.
The hike climbs steadily up the road, passing through lush Douglas Fir forest. Logging in the area has provided some lookouts, however, which open up to views of 8700-foot Diamond Peak towering over the landscape to the south. Keep an eye out for small waterfalls along the uphill side of the road, which rush with snowmelt on warmer winter days.
After about 3.5 miles, you'll reach a signed intersection. Here, follow the signs to turn left off the road and continuing following the trail (even with fresh snow cover, it's easy to pick out the trail) until you reach the next sign in a quarter mile. Bear left again and you'll shortly reach the shelter, where a picnic table, wood stove, and abundant wood await you. Don't overexert yourself on the climb - you still have to chop the wood yourself! The loft platform will comfortably sleep two and fit up to four, and if the shelter is very popular there is space downstairs as well.
In the morning, catch the sunrise turning Diamond Peak pink and gold, then zip downhill on skis or hike down on snowshoes back to your car. If you have time, Salt Creek Falls is just a five minute walk from the Sno-Park lot and the hike to Diamond View Falls, which leaves from Salt Creek Falls, can easily be done in an afternoon.
- Oregon Sno-Park permit
- Snowshoes or cross-country skis
- Poles (with powder baskets)
- Camping gear, excepting a tent
- Winter clothing (think layers!)
- Adult beverages and games for the night
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