Snowmobiling to Olallie Lake from the Upper Clackamas

Since Thursday afternoon was beautiful, I decided to make a quick drive to the Upper Clackamas for a snowmobile trip to Olallie Lake. I had never ridden this route and was curious what the snow conditions were currently like. We received about 10 inches of new snow earlier in the week before the sun came out and warmed things up again.

I left my home at 2 PM with my Polaris snowmobile loaded in the back of my truck. By 3:45 PM I had found snow on forest road 4690 at about the 3,300 foot elevation level. I unloaded my sled and parked my truck off to the side of the road. Forest service road 46, 4690, and 4220 are a few of the only roads open to vehicles other than snowmobiles in the winter. As a result there were plenty of Jeep ruts for me to maneuver in and out of.

Snow covered Jeep ruts on forest road 4690     My 2013 Polaris 800 Switchback Assault snowmobile on the way to Olallie Lake

The weather was beautiful with the temperature around 40°F under sunny skies and calm winds. I made one wrong turn on my way to Olallie Lake and found bare gravel roads as a result. I turned around and soon found myself back on course. The snow ranged in depth from just inches to several feet. It was disappointing how little snow is left between 4,000 and 5,000' elevation.

Olallie Butte from near Olallie Meadow     Olallie Butte covered in snow

I made it to Olallie Lake just before 5 PM. I snapped a few photos and turned around and headed home. The ride back was a little easier as following my tracks was better than the old Jeep ruts. Unfortunately I came upon a Jeep headed to Olallie Lake for the weekend. We chatted about the road conditions before parting ways. The rest of the way back was pretty bumpy in the fresh tire ruts. The guy told me several more rigs were headed up as well.

Olallie Lake with Mt Jefferson in the background     Olallie Lake Resort with Olallie Butte in the background
Mt Jefferson from frozen Olallie Lake

It took me about 15 minutes to change out of my riding clothes and get the sled loaded up in my truck. That's probably a record for me. I was trying to meet my goal of getting home around 7 PM (the time I told Katie I would be home). Luckily traffic was light and I pulled into the driveway at 7:08 PM. It's pretty cool that I live in a place where I can go snowmobiling after work for a couple hours and get home before it gets dark. I love Oregon!

Gear List

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 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.