First big snow dump of the year - snowmobiling near Mt Hood

We had our first big dump of snow this season with over a foot at Mt Hood pass levels and over three feet up higher. John and I were stoked to go snowmobiling Sunday. We drove up to Frog Lake arriving around 7:15 AM. There was one other trailer already, but they had stayed overnight. The snopark had not been plowed, so it was challenging getting my truck and trailer through a foot of slush underneath/snow on top mix.

Shortly after warming up and unloading the snowmobiles, we hit the trail. Someone in a 4x4 truck or jeep had illegally driven on the trail the day before. Most of the forest service roads around Mt Hood close on December 1st to provide opportunities for snowmobiling and skiing, etc., and to keep cars/trucks from getting stuck and stranded in the middle of nowhere.

Unloading Polaris snowmobiles at Frog Lake SnoPark     Lots of wet snow at Frog Lake SnoPark

Our first destination was Bonney Meadows, about 17 miles down the trail. While there was only about 12-18" of snow at Frog Lake, there was several feet above 5,000' elevation around Bonney Meadows. It was great fun.

Snowmobiling in powder past our knees     Taking a break at Bonney Meadows campground

Bonney Meadows was beautiful as always. We were the first ones there, but decided to stay out of the meadows this trip. Too many bad memories of early season disasters at Bonney Meadows for me. I must be getting wiser in my old age.

Bonney Meadows campground in the snow     Bonney Meadows covered in snow

From Bonney Meadows we tried continuing up the trail toward Badger Lake. Unfortunately I got stuck in a snow drift on a steep stretch of trail. After getting my sled unstuck, we decided to turn around, as we saw several more challenging (for us novices anyway) snow drifts that would have likely caused more problems.

We headed back down to road 48 and then up 4860 toward Badger Lake (the first road we were on was 4890 where we turned around). We stopped and took a break where we have deer hunted in the past before continuing on. Unfortunately we came upon a large tree that had fallen across the road. It was way too big for my small chainsaw (which we used earlier in the day to clear smaller trees out of the road), so we turned around and decided to call it a day.

Powder everywhere! A snowmobiler's dream.     It finally looks like winter near Mt Hood

We had a quick snowmobile ride back to Frog Lake SnoPark where we found tons of people. Unfortunately there were people riding quads and dirt bikes too fast in the parking area. I am flabbergasted why they would waste their time in the parking lot when there was tons of great snow just feet away. Why risk getting a ticket or worse - hitting a kid - when there are better places to play nearby?

One last picture of John posing with my Polaris snowmobiles

2015/16 Mileage

Trip: 55 miles
Season: 85 miles
Total Days: 2

Gear List

2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK Snowmobile
2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
Up North Technologies PRO SERIES Snowmobile Cargo Rack
P-700-B Low Profile Powder Keg
Echo CS-271T chainsaw
HMK Summit V16 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggles
VOOZ Snow Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
HMK Hustler 2 Snowmobile Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
HMK Cascade Snowmobile Jacket
Columbia Powerfly Down Puff Jacket
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
HighGear ATF8 Altimeter
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony HDR-AS200V ActionCam
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
Fiskars POWER TOOTH Softgrip 10" Folding Saw
First Aid Kit
Samsung Galaxy S6 Active w/BackCountry Navigator
Suunto A-10 Compass


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Disclaimer: You are responsible for informing yourself of the hazards of backcountry travel and taking the necessary precautions. Loomis Adventures may not be held liable.