Snowmobiling Near Frog Lake Buttes, Oregon

After our 2008 Polaris 700 Dragon RMK snowmobile engine burned up on our last trip, my friend John and I decided to buy a new 2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK snowmobile to replace it. I plan to rebuild the engine on the 700 Dragon RMK, but will probably sell it after it's running again.

Another snowstorm typical of this season (mostly higher elevation snow) rolled through the mountains just before the weekend. Luckily a few inches fell around pass level so there was enough for John and I to test out the new sled near Frog Lake.

We were one of the first ones to arrive at the snopark around 7:15 AM Saturday morning. There was a couple inches of snow covering the parking lot. It was around 26°F under partly cloudy skies and no wind. We spent a few minutes swapping snowmobiles around because I wanted to put the two new sleds on my trailer and the old sled on my sled deck. Since it was just John and I, the old Polaris 500 remained on my truck while we set off riding the new sleds.

The first part of the trail just past Frog Lake was fine, but started to thin out as we dropped ever so slightly in elevation. Soon we could hear the all-too-familiar sound of gravel underneath our skis. Luckily there was just enough snow to keep the sleds cool and tracks lubricated. We headed up the back side of Frog Lake Buttes and the snow became consistently deeper as we increased in elevation. I had my chainsaw along for the ride, so we cleared a couple small trees that had fallen over the trail.

Getting ready to snowmobile from Frog Lake SnoPark     A little bit of trail maintenance

We rode up spur road 250 near Green Lake. At the end of the road there was a couple feet of snow (elevation ~4,500'). There was barely enough snow to get out in the clear-cut and play with plenty of tree stumps and rocks still visible.

Plenty of virgin snow up higher     Play area on back side of Frog Lake Buttes

John and I parked our sleds and took a quick hike down to Green Lake. We had hiked here in the fall and it was fun seeing it covered in snow.

Green Lake frozen and covered in snow     Green Lake in winter

We explored a couple more spur roads that no one else had been on. The new 800 Pro RMK is a fun sled to ride even on the little bit of snow we had.

Before heading back, we rode up to Frog Lake Buttes. At the time, I didn't realize what day it was, but technically spur road 290 up to the Buttes is closed to motorized vehicles in February. My mistake! In the past I have seen a sign posted right at the beginning of spur road 290, but it was not there on Saturday. I shouldn't have assumed it was open just because other snowmobilers were riding up the trail. Now I know. I apologize to any skiers I may have offended. One can still ride up to Frog Lake Buttes off trail from the back side near Green Lakes, but we need more snow to make that ride safe (not enough snow coverage deep in the trees yet).

John relaxing on snowmobile on Frog Lake Buttes     Polaris snowmobiles on Frog Lake Buttes

There seems to be plenty of snow up high, but getting to it has been challenging this season. We still need a couple more good snow storms to have any good riding around Mt Hood.

Gear List

2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault Snowmobile
2014 Polaris 800 Pro RMK 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
Lifeline Aluminum Sport Utility Snow Shovel
First Aid Kit
iPhone w/NeoTreksGPS
Suunto A-10 Compass


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