Last Snowmobile Ride of 2013/14 Season - Bennett Pass, Oregon

I wanted to go out snowmobiling one more time this season before calling it quits this season. My friend John was back from vacation in Panama, so we decided to go riding Saturday out of Bennett Pass SnoPark. The snow is gone from all the lower elevation snoparks, so Bennett Pass was our only option. It's right across from Mt Hood Meadows at almost 4,700' in elevation. We often rider here early and late in the season as it's the first place snow falls and the last place it melts. Unfortunately there is a section of the trail called the "terrible traverse" a couple miles in that is impassable most of the season. Our plan was to possibly dig it out to open up lots of higher elevation riding areas.

The forecast called for cloudy skies in the morning giving way to sunshine and warm temperatures. We left my house just before 7 AM and arrived at Bennett Pass Sno-Park just after 8 AM. There were two other vehicles parked in the lot, but no people or other snowmobiles around. The snow was still icy when we arrived, so we spent a little time swapping sleds around from the trailer to the back of my truck. I had three sleds with us today, but only needed two for John and I. There was probably 3-5 feet of snow at the sno-park, so we were eager to get out riding.

Snowmobiling at Bennett Pass SnoPark

We headed down the trail enjoying the great weather. We stopped to admire the views of Mt Hood.

Still lots of snow up higher     Mt Hood

We continued snowmobiling towards the terrible traverse. The trail became gnarly as it narrowed and passed through an area prone to snowdrifts. We rode on and stopped just shy of the traverse. The snow was still icy and just starting to soften up where the sun was shining on it. We took a walk along the traverse and once to the other side, decided it would be too much work to dig it out. We would have had to wait for the snow to soften up more before even starting and a lot of digging would have been involved.

Snow drifted trail starting to melt out     Gnarly trail to the terrible traverse
The terrible traverse     Looking back across the terrible traverse with Mt Hood in the background

We turned the snowmobiles around and headed back towards some other spur roads we knew we could ride on. Unfortunately John hit a couple of the snowdrifts at a funny angle and rolled his snowmobile not once, but twice! Both him and the sled were fine luckily. We made it back onto more even ground and rode around a bit longer before stopping to eat lunch. We started a small fire and relaxed in the warm Spring sunshine. Camping and fishing season are definitely upon us. It's sad to say goodbye to the snow, but I take comfort in knowing the next season is only half a year away. By that time my mini-adventurer might be ready to ride with me. I finished the season getting 20 days and 500-600 miles of riding in. Only a handful were great days, but with such a poor winter I am thankful I was able to ride at all.

Relaxing in the snow with a campfire

Gear List

2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK Snowmobile
2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
HMK Summit V16 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Columbia Men's Echochrome Ski Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
Columbia Triple Trail Shell Jacket
Columbia Powerfly Down Puff Jacket
Head Digital Sport Liner Gloves
Outdoor Research Ambit Gloves
Columbia Men's Fast Trek Fleece Hat
Petzl TIKKA XP 2 Headlamp
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS30V
Sony Live View Remote RM-LVR1
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone 4S w/NeoTreksGPS
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.