The Tesla Loop 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 right and you will see the sign marking the beginning of the Tesla Loop Trail.
The trail is very well marked 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 passes a few snowmobile and XC trails along the way, but the junctions area always well marked and it is easy to pick the snowshoe trail up once again.
The trail heads towards the northwest, slowly climbing as it heads towards Mt Bachelor and Kwohl Butte. While the trail does climb over 400 feet in 2 miles, the ascent is pretty gradual. What is more challenging is climbing up and over the multiple lava ridges along the way. While not more than 15 or so feet tall most the time, they can be steep and require more effort to get over than the more gradual, continual uphill.
After two miles, the trail will begin to loop back towards the south and then turn towards the southeast. There really isn’t much for views along this trail, but the undulating terrain and the beautiful pines make for a very pleasant stroll.
About 3 miles into you trek you will cross over a snowmobile road. Continue across it and procede, for you are only about half a mile from the Edison Snow Shelter. This nice, wodden cabin has a warm wood stove inside and plenty of firewood. It makes for a great place to take your snowshoes off and relax for awhile.
After relaxing for a while by the fire in the shelter, continue on towards the Long and Short Snowshoe Loops. You will encounter these trails after about a quarter mile of pleasent downhill through some nice Ponderosas. Make a left once you reach the loop trails and once again enter the land of lava ridges. Continue through the undulating terrain for a little less than a mile, picking your way up and down ridges and around trees. In a little less than a mile, you will encounter the beginning of the Long and Short Loops. Head left here and follow the path a third of a mile back to the Sno-Park.
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.