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Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing

East (Avalanche) Bowl + Southeast Ridge

Southern Oregon Cascades, Oregon

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Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing

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  • Skinning in on road NF-3703, which is shared with snowmobiles.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Making our way on the skier-only Hemlock Butte Trail (NF-380).- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Skiing in to Mount Bailey.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Skiing in to Mount Bailey.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Making our way up the southeast ridge. Avalanche Bowl is in the distance.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Winter in all its beauty.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Mount Theilsen from the flanks of Mount Bailey.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Mount Theilsen from the flanks of Mount Bailey.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Mount Theilsen from the flanks of Mount Bailey.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Untouched lines. The rim of Crater Lake sits in the distance.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Skinning up the southeast ridge.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Skinning up the southeast ridge.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Skinning up the southeast ridge toward the summit.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking back at the skin track and Mount Thielsen.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking at a crater near the top of the south ridge that is known as the Cereal Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking back at the skin track and Mount Thielsen.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Skinning around the Cereal Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Approaching the windy south ridge summit.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking back at Cereal Bowl from the south ridge with the rim of Crater Lake in the distance.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • The mountain is open to motorized travel. Snowmobilers playing around in the Cereal Bowl. - Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Fresh turns along the southeast ridge.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Enjoying the fresh turns and views of Mount Theilsen along the southeast ridge.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking back at the lines on the north side of the southeast ridge.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Surveying the cirque at the base of the east bowl (Avalanche Bowl).- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • The slow traverse up Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Apporaching the summit from Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking north twoard the Three Sisters from the summit of Mount Bailey.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Standing at the summit of Mount Bailey looking east to Mount Theilsen and Diamond Lake below.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Standing at the summit of Mount Bailey looking south.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Decending in Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Making turns in Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Making turns in Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Making turns in Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
  • Looking south at the southeast ridge and Avalanche Bowl.- Mount Bailey Backcountry Skiing
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Great backcountry skiing. Mountain views. A variety of terrain and difficulty.
Cons: 
Terrain is shared with snowmobilers.
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Region:
Southern Oregon Cascades, OR
Max slope angle: 
15-30 degrees
Parking Pass: 
Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)
Total Distance: 
12.00 mi (19.31 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
5,390.00 ft (1,642.87 m)
Vertical descent: 
2,978.00 ft (907.69 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Mount Bailey stands in the southern Oregon Cascade mountains sandwiched between beautiful Crater Lake and Mount Thielsen. This 8,375-foot shield volcano receives around 600 inches of annual snowfall and provides some excellent opportunities for backcountry skiing. The mountain is currently home to a commercial cat-ski operation based at Diamond Lake Resort during the winters. For those looking for more human powered adventures, the mountain can be accessed from the southeast via the Three Lakes Sno-Park. There are two areas that are easily accessible from this point. One is the southeast ridge, and the second is the east bowl, which is better known as Avalanche Bowl or “Avy Bowl.”

The southeast ridge offers the easiest access to both the mountain summit and Avy Bowl. After about 3.5 miles from the sno-park, the Mount Bailey summit trail branches left from the Hemlock Butte Trail (NF-380). The trail climbs the ridge pretty gradually with only two steeper spots. If a trail has not been broken by others, simply follow the contours of the ridge up. Once above the tree line the route to the summit will be apparent. At this point there are opportunities to drop into the north side of the ridge if you don’t wish to go further. If you chose to summit or proceed further, both the north and south sides of the ridge offer great routes down. If the north aspect of the southeast ridge is chosen as your decent path, stay to the skier's right once you descend into the smaller growth trees of the bowl. You will want to hug and follow the natural line created by the transition of the older growth trees and the debris field trees. This natural line will eventually lead you to a catch line of NF-380, which then leads back to the sno-park.

Avy Bowl got its nickname from a large avalanche in the 1960s that cleared a 200 yard pathway from the summit all the way down to the 6,000-foot elevation mark. The bowl can be accessed from the southeast ridge, or you can follow the Hemlock Butte Trail (NF-380) road to its terminus at the base of the debris field and follow the natural tree line up into the center of the cirque. From there just follow the tree line on the north side, and this will provide the most gradual approach. After reaching those trees the terrain becomes steeper and a long traverse may be required for a gradual climb to the summit. Ski crampons are highly recommended and could shorten the traverse time. Once at the summit, there are many options for descent. The steeper sections are directly east of the summit, while the most moderate route down is the way you came up.

Note that there is shared access with snowmobilers on the entire mountain. Always be aware and use caution. Also, for those lucky enough to snag a reservation, Hemlock Butte Cabin offers an excellent base camp for a multi-day outing.

Backcountry Safety

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.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(18 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(45 within a 30 mile radius)

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110 Adventures Explored
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