A Sunny Day for Snowmobile Play Near Timothy Lake, Oregon

Spring is in the air, but I am not quite ready for it to arrive. On Saturday I took my friend Donnie from work on his first snowmobile adventure. We left early, thinking Skyline Sno-Park (South of Mt Hood) would fill up quickly due to the sunny weather forecast. I was wrong. Skyline was the least busy I have ever seen it. Maybe the beautiful weather sent everyone over to ride on Mt Saint Helens.

It was cold when we started riding (about 26°F) and sunny with no wind. It quickly warmed up as Donnie got the feel for my Polaris 500 RMK snowmobile. With his ATV background he was comfortable on the sled after just a few minutes.

Little Snow on the North Side of Timothy Lake     Donnie with Timothy Lake and Mt Jefferson in the Background

We rode around the North side of Timothy Lake and went off trail on a small plateau with good views of Mt Jefferson. We played around a little before heading back to the trail.

Mt Jefferson from the Top of a Plateau     Jason Taking a Snowmobile Break

We stopped to take a break at a great viewpoint of Mt Hood on the West side of High Rock. This was my first time here in the winter and I recognized the spot as I have taken the same pictures in the summer.

Mt Hood Viewpoint from Forest Service Rd 58     South Side of Mt Hood
Jason with Mt Hood in the Background     Donnie with Mt Hood in the Background

While enjoying the sun we saw two other snowmobilers ride by (the first two we had seen all day). I observed Wolf Peak and and High Rock and look forward to climbing both someday. They should both have rewarding views.

Mt Hood (left) and Wolf Peak (right)     Just Mt Hood and My Feet

We continued down the road past High Rock and found a nice hill area on our left to play on. It had a few fresh tracks from the snowmobilers that passed by, but otherwise was untouched. We started riding up and down like joyful kids at Christmas. It was a blast!

Wolf Peak (left) and High Rock (right)     Donnie Ready for Some More Hill Play

We left the hilled area and hit the trail again to find another hill to play on. What a great day. We met back up with the two snowmobilers we had seen earlier as they were headed back. They stopped and took a couple trips up and down the hill before Donnie and I did the same. We were right on the edge of the Salmon Huckleberry Wilderness.

Snowmobile Hill Climb     Donnie Climbing the Hill

After getting our fill of hill climbing, we continued to the end of the road where there was another great viewpoint of Mt Hood.

South Side of Mt Hood     Snowmobiling Near Mt Hood

On the way back we had a great view of the first hill play area we went to. The photos do a decent job of showing its steepness.

Snowmobile Climbing Hill     Close up of Snowmobile Climbing Hill

We couldn't pass up some more hill climbing, so we played again at the first hill play area.

Donnie went from apprentice to master in one day. I was impressed how well he handled the snowmobile all day, especially on the hills.

Lots of Fresh Snowmobile Tracks on a Play Hill     Donnie Coming Down from a Hill Climb

On our way back we rode around the other side of Timothy Lake (South side). It appeared to be frozen, but neither of us was daring enough to ride across. We saw another pair snowmobilers as we headed back, bringing the total to 4 for the day.

Dock Near Dam at Timothy Lake     Frozen Timothy Lake
Timothy Lake Dam in the Winter     Dock at Timothy Lake

We ate lunch at Timothy Lake, but passed up someone's leftover meal. We couldn't really determine what it was, but I wasn't willing to get too close.

Someone's Leftover Meal     Timothy Lake Water Spout

We stopped briefly at Clackamas Lake on our ride back. We saw another two snowmobilers nearby. It was amazing how few people were out on such a perfect day.

Clackamas Lake in the Winter     Snowmobiling by Clackamas Lake

Clear Lake lookout tower was our last stop of the day. I had hoped to take Donnie up to the catwalk for the great views, but no one was there and it was locked. We still had some good views from the stairs. It was terrific day and hopefully a great introduction to snowmobiling for Donnie. Hopefully he gets hooked and buys a sled someday. We finished the day out riding a total of 65 miles. Skyline Sno-Park was still not busy when we returned around 2 PM.

Clear Lake Lookout Tower in the Winter

Gear List

'02 Polaris 500 RMK Snowmobiles
Osprey Variant 37 Pack
GMAX GM76X Helmet
Smith Phenom Turbo Fan Rx Goggles
Columbia Men’s Bugaboot Max Electric Boots
Columbia Men's Echochrome Ski Pants
Columbia Titanium Hightail II Softshell Jacket
Columbia Sportswear Men's Peak 2 Peak Jacket
Columbia Sportswear Men's Lhotse Mountain II Parka Liner
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
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.