Overnight Stay at Warm Springs Cabin and Snowmobiling to Olallie Lake

Ever since learning about the Warm Springs Cabin on forest service road 42, I have wanted to snowmobile to it and spend the night. My cards finally lined up and I planned a trip this weekend with a couple friends. The Warm Springs Cabin is maintained by the Mt Hood Snowmobile Club. It's a log cabin with a concrete floor, large wood stove, and sleeping loft.

We all met up at Skyline Sno-Park at 7:30 AM Saturday morning. I was amazed that the snopark was nearly empty. Besides us, there was only a motorhome parked in the lot. It was cold, around 17°F, and snowing lightly. There wasn't really any new accumulation of snow, so the trail was hard packed. We loaded up two gear sleds and set off down the trail toward the Warm Springs Cabin.

It's about a 17 mile ride to the cabin. We stopped a couple times on the way there after some gear bounced out of my older Pelican Snow Trek 60 gear sled. My newer larger Pelican Snow Trek Sport 75 sled did great.

Once at the cabin, we settled in and started a fire in the wood stove. We brought a little wood with us and there was a little left in the cabin as well. Before long it was toasty warm inside and we were enjoying lunch after cutting and splitting enough firewood to get us through the night.

John inside the MHSC Warm Springs Cabin     Mt Hood Snowmobile Club's Warm Springs Cabin

After lunch we jumped back on the snowmobiles and headed to Olallie Lake. It's about 17 miles from the cabin (34 miles from Skyline Sno-Park). We didn't make it there last year because of how deep the snow was, but this time it was a piece of cake. The new snowmobiles made for a fun ride. We stopped at Olallie Meadow and played around a little on the ice. We discovered a rustic cabin that I didn't know about. It was piped for a wood stove, but there wasn't one inside. It looked a little rundown, but still useable.

Snowmobiling at Olallie Meadow     Olallie Meadow rustic cabin

Keeping to tradition, I crashed my snowmobile while doing cookies in the icy meadow. One of these days I will learn where the threshold between awesome fun and crashing lies. My buddy Lee caught my crash on video. Besides for an extremely bruised rear end, I ended up okay. My sled did okay except for the throttle being crushed as the sled flipped over and the handlebar crashed through the ice. Luckily John had a couple zip ties which I combined with some first aid tape to make the throttle functional. No more crazy stuff for me the rest of the trip.

After Olallie Meadow, we rode the rest of the way to Olallie Lake. It was completely frozen over and covered in lots of snow. The resort was closed for the season with snowdrifts all the way to the roofs. We didn't spend long there as the wind and snow had picked up, making standing around uncomfortable.

Olallie Lake in the winter     Olallie Lake Resort covered in snow

When we arrived back at the Warm Springs Cabin there was another group of snowmobilers that was warming up inside. We exchanged stories for a bit before they continued on their way. After that we had the cabin to ourselves. We enjoyed a large dinner of corn, chili, stew, and hotdogs and spent the evening playing cards.

By morning the temperature had unfortunately warmed up. There was 2-3 inches of fresh snow covered by a thin layer of freezing rain. So much for the 6-12 inches of snow originally forecast for Sunday! We packed up and headed back to Skyline before the weather got any worse. It was mostly freezing rain and sleet coming down with a little bit of snow. We had to stop several times to clear the ice off our goggles. By the time we pulled into Skyline Sno-Park, the snowmobiles, our gear, and we were all covered in ice. Oh what fun freezing rain is (not). This continues to be our most disappointing winter since 2004/2005. At least we got out riding and had a fun time staying overnight at the Warm Springs Cabin. Now my snowmobile needs to go into the shop to get fixed before our next trip. It will probably rain all next week anyway!

Gear List

2002 Polaris 500 RMK Snowmobile
2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK Snowmobile
Pelican Snow Trek Sport 75 Utility Sled
Pelican Snow Trek 60 Gear Sleds
Pelican Sled Metal Tow Hitches
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
Century Mighty Lite Single Mantle Lantern
Olympus Tough TG-1 Camera
Sony Action Cam HDR-AS30V
Stihl MS270 Chainsaw
Fiskars X25 splitting axe (28")
Kel-Tec P3AT .380 pistol
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass


Ken, Mon, 03/10/2014 - 00:38

It was good to meet you at the cabin. I'm the big(good looking ha ha) guy you talked with at the cabin. I didn't know you are a local 48 hand. I've been a 48 member since '91. Who are you working for at Intel? I'm at Mod 2, I'm sure we will work together sooner or later. Now to the important stuff...riding. Looks like the sleds might be done for the year, I hope not, but the weather and flowering plants tell me to get the quads ready. We are going to east fort rock march 27th weekend if you all wanna go. I'm taking my motorhome and about 6 people. Im going to buy a RzR before we go, just for the girls, I still prefer a bike or sport quad. We like a good fire, etc, and always pack out what we bring in, though we may have left a water bottle at the cabin when we left you last?

Cheryl Hill, Mon, 03/24/2014 - 20:46

That old cabin at Olallie Meadow was built in 1910 and is the oldest administrative structure in the Mt. Hood National Forest. Amazing that it's still standing, but it helps that some volunteers spruced it up a few years ago. The nearby resort used to rent it out, but they don't anymore. Anyway, a little more background is here: http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/mthood/learning/history-culture/?cid=stelp...

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