First snowmobile ride of 2015/16 season - Bennett Pass, OR

On Saturday we went Christmas tree hunting as a family. During our adventure, we made a detour to Bennett Pass SnoPark, so I could check out the snow conditions. To my surprise, we found enough snow to snowmobile. So I came back on Sunday with my friend Jordan for the first snowmobile ride of the 2015/16 season.

We arrived just before 8 am to a completely empty parking lot. It was 18°F at the snopark, but had been 12°F just a mile or two back down hwy 35. It was cold, but there was no wind which was a nice change from the past few days. It was sunny and Jordan and I were looking forward to a great day of snowmobiling.

Mt Hood from Bennett Pass SnoPark     Unloading Polaris snowmobiles at Bennett Pass SnoPark

We headed down the trail toward Badger Lake. There was about 4-8 inches of hard packed snow and we only came across a couple short bare patches (which is pretty good for early season riding).

Mt Hood     2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK with PRO SERIES cargo rack and Powder Keg

On our way to Grasshopper Point, we encountered several downed trees across the trail. Luckily I brought my small Echo chainsaw and we quickly cleared the trees.

The Three Sisters and Mt Jefferson from Grasshopper Point     Polaris Snowmobile on Grasshopper Point

From Grasshopper Point we backtracked a little then headed over to High Prairie at the base of Lookout Mountain. This was the first time conditions have allowed me to ride this trail. It was a fun trail with spectacular views of Mt Hood (along with a few more downed trees that we took care of).

The Three Sisters and Mt Jefferson with fog in the lowlands     2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault with Mt Hood in the background

Over near Lookout Mountain we made a quick loop around the High Prairie survival shelter, so Jordan could see it. It is in okay shape, but the stove pipe is separated inside, rendering the stove inoperable.

High Prairie Survival Shelter     One last look at Mt Hood with a Polaris Pro RMK

We cruised back to Bennett Pass SnoPark without having to deal with any more downed trees. The parking lot had a handful of other vehicles when we returned, but was nowhere near full. For such a beautiful day I would have expected more outdoor enthusiasts. Maybe everyone was worn out from the Thanksgiving holiday. In any case, Jordan and I had a great snowmobile trip. The snow wasn't awesome, but it was one of the better earlier season rides I have been on. There was as much as a foot of snow in some areas.

2015/16 Mileage

Trip: 30 miles
Season: 30 miles
Total Days: 1

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
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
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


Post new comment

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.