If you are into Nordic skiing and want some groomed trails, Teacup Lake near Government Camp is a great place to go. There are 12 miles of groomed trails that range from easy to difficult, and all are designed for skate and classic cross-country skiing. For this trip we skied Lakeside Trail-Nordic Way/Stump Street-Hood River Road-Meadow Trail, but many different trail combinations exist depending on your appetite. Because all of the trails are loops, you will encounter views of Mount Hood on both ends of the trail system. The Teacup trails are groomed three times a week by the Oregon Nordic Club, which also maintains the Ray Garey Cabin. Here you will find a wood stove and a number of tables for eating your packed lunch; there are also two sheltered restrooms next to the cabin. The club does not receive any state or federal funding and relies on a suggested $10 donation per person. This covers not only the grooming, cabin and toilet maintenance, but also supplies such as trail maps and firewood.
The parking lot at the Teacup Lake Sno-Park has recently been expanded to 200 hundred spots, and though it might be intimidating to see a full parking lot when you arrive on busy days, skiers come and go with enough frequency that the wait for parking usually isn’t long. Likewise, the trails are designed so well that crowding is rarely an issue outside of a few congested areas. If the parking lot is full and you don't want to wait, park on the west side of the highway at the Clark Creek Sno-Park.
Dogs and snowshoes are not allowed on groomed trails.
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.