While it is sometimes possible to catch lift chairs at Mount Bachelor on the last weekend of May, years with light snowpack see the lift operations close much earlier. If you aren't quite ready to hang up the skis or board for the season, or if you are looking to get in some quick alpine "training," plenty of snow lingers on the upper two-thirds of the mountain for those wanting to earn their turns.
Snowcats are still active on parts of the mountain, and they occasionally provide some untouched corduroy for the descent. While this is perhaps a downside for those seeking purer conditions, a trip up Mount Bachelor is best understood as a developed backcountry experience. And this hybrid has some redeeming aspects, as the snow on the cat tracks proves decidedly less sticky than the rest of the surface snow.
Beginning from Cascade Lakes Highway, a "straight line" ascent to the summit will climb 2,665 feet in roughly 2.5 miles. If you are opting to hike, snowshoes may not required, and their use will ultimately depend on personal preference.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.