The Long Loop Snowshoe Trail out of the Edison Butte Sno-Park provides snowshoers the opportunity to take a nice trek through the lava carved forest south of Mt Bachelor. This dedicated snowshoe trail slowly eases its way up and over snow covered lava ridges as it meanders through large, red barked, Ponderosa Pines. There’s even a warming hut to kick back and take a pull or two from your flask in.
The trail is located at the Edison Butte Sno-Park off of Forest Road 45, which connects Sunriver to Mt Bachelor. The trail heads out of the south end of the parking area. There will be signs for multiple snowshoe and XC trails, but look to the left and you will see the sign marking the beginning of the Short and Long Loop Snowshoe Trail.
The trail is very well marked and easy to follow as it heads through the forest. There seem to be those little blue diamonds with a snowshoer in the middle of them nailed to a tree every couple hundred feet or so. The trail heads south from the Sno-Park and slowly heads downhill as it moves away from the mountains. The first mile or so can be pretty fun, as you climb up and over numerous lava ridges along the trail. The rock formation makes for interesting lumps in the snow, and the steep ups and downs over the ridges can be an adventure in itself.
A third of a mile from the Sno-Park, you will reach an intersection marking the beginning of the loop. I prefer to stay to the left so that you will have the shorter leg of the loop after the shelter, rather than before. So stay left and continue to march up and over lava ridges on your stroll through the snow covered forest. It’s a little more than half a mile from the beginning of the loop until you hit the junction with the Short Loop. If you want to shave a mile off your trip, you can head right here, but if you are reveling in your snowy adventure, continue to the left and keep trekking.
Following the intersection with the Short Loop, you leave much of the lava behind and start a more normal slog through the woods. There are some beautiful, huge, red barked Ponderosa Pine trees through this stretch, creating a cool contrast with the white snow. About a mile from the Short Loop intersection, keep your eyes peeled for some weird looking rocks to your right. There is a cave hidden in there, but it may be buried in the snow. It is possible that this could be Edison Ice Cave, but I think that cave is actually a short distance to the east from this spot.
Less than half a mile past the cave, you will come to another intersection of trails. To your right is the end of the Short Loop you bypassed a while ago. If you are up for about a half mile detour, take the Tesla Loop to your left and in about a quarter mile, you will find yourself at the Edison Snow Shelter. It is a pretty good, continuous uphill to the snow shelter, but it is only about 100 foot climb, so you can do it. Chilling at one of these tiny cabins deep in the woods is a magical experience that you don’t’ want to miss.
After relaxing for a while by the fire in the shelter, head back the way you came towards the Long Loop. Once rejoining your trail, head to the left to finish out the loop. You will once again enter the land of lava ridges. It’s a little less than a mile until you reach that first intersection once again. Head left and in a third of a mile, you will be celebrating your successful adventure with some nice hot chocolate you had stashed in your rig. Hurray for planning ahead!
From Bend, head west on Century Drive/ Cascade Lakes Highway for 16 miles. Right after hitting the 4-lane section of the road, signs will direct you towards Forest Road 45 towards Sunriver. Make a left and head south on 45 for 4 miles. Edison Sno-Park will be on your right.
From Sunriver head towards Mt Bachelor on Forest Road 40, which will be Spring River Road turning into Conklin Road. Four miles from the intersection with South Century Drive, the road will Y. Vere to the right and continue onto Edison Ice Cave Road/Forest Road 45. The Sno-Park will be 7.2 miles ahead, on your left.
Passes: An Oregon Sno-Park permit is required November 1 through April 30.
Dogs: Allowed and must be on leash or under voice command at all times.
Open Season: As long as there's snow. This Sno-Park is over 5,000 feet, so it usualy has fairly consistent snowpack.