The Swampy Shelter is a newer shelter located on a ridge just above the southern shores of Swampy Lakes. The trail begins from the Swampy Lakes Sno-Park on the way to Mt Bachelor out of Bend. This sno-park has both dedicated snowshoe and cross county trails helping to distribute visitors to different areas. This loop is a great chance to stroll through the pillowy snow of the relatively open forest of lodgepole pine without dodging tons of other people.
Begin your trek out of the north end of the parking lot, across from the bathrooms and find the signs directing you to the Porcupine Loop. The trail will start out heading north and quickly angle towards the west. This section of trail is relatively flat and easy, slowly climbing about 200 feet over a mile and a half. At about the 1 mile mark, you will come to an intersection with the first tie in trail. Stay to the left and continue on the Porcupine Trail
About a half mile from the previous intersection, you will come to the intersection with the Swampy Shelter Tie-in Trail. Head to the right and the shelter is merely a quarter mile away. There is a nice wood burning stove located within the shelter and it makes for a great place to have a snack, grab a drink, and warm up a little. From the shelter, if you have the gumption, you can also climb down the steep bank towards the lake, which will now just be a beautiful, open, white plain of snow, to take in the view. Tumalo Mountain looms over the lake to the west and Broken Top can be seen peeking through the trees to the northwest.
Once you are warm and good, head out of the shelter and continue to the northeast. In 0.4 miles, you will again encounter the Porcupine Loop. Here, as of the winter of 2019, half of the sign informing you of the direction of Porcupine Loop is broken, making it look like the loop is to the left. While that is technically true, heading left will take you around Swampy Lakes and back to the part of the loop you have already done. This section of trail is beautiful though, allowing to you trudge right along the shores of the lake. However, if you are ready to head back to the parking area, head to the right.
This final section of trail begins heading south and will also begin to slowly climb again. Don’t worry, this will only be the case for the next 0.7 miles. Then you really get to climb, you lucky fellow you. The final ¾ mile of the trail has you heading right over the top of Telemark Butte. March up over 300 feet in less than half a mile on this final leg before home. Don’t forget to turn around, from time to time, to enjoy the view behind you. Once you crest over the top, feel free to run down the last half mile, the wind flying through your hair. You're almost there! Just don’t run into a tree. They are hard.
To reach Swampy Lakes Sno-Park, just head west of Bend on Century Drive towards Mt Bachelor. The Sno-Park will be on the right 14 miles from the round-about at the intersection of Mt Washington, Reed Market, and Century Drive.
Passes: An Oregon Sno-Park permit is required November 1 through April 30.
Dogs: Are not allowed at this Sno-Park.
Open Season: There will usually be snow cover from Thanksgiving into April some time.