The winter trail network located off of Highway 22 just north of the junction with Highway 126 offers Oregon snowshoers and cross-country skiers a fantastic variety of trails and views. The Maxwell Sno-Park serves as a hub for the trails east of Highway 22, most of which are easy to moderate in difficulty and very family friendly. You can explore the trails as a day trip, or you can extend your trip by staying overnight in the Mountain View Shelter.
Because the shelter is located within a trail network, you'll have options for the route you'd like to take. From the Maxwell Sno-Park, the easiest route heads north toward the Flat Loop and then northeast along the Mountain View Loop. If you want to extend your trip, there are longer options involving the Mountain View Loop that will still lead to the shelter. All of the trails lead through the thick Douglas fir, hemlock, and cedar, and generally the trails are very well marked with blazes and signs at junctions; note, however, that abundant fresh snow may make route finding a bit of a challenge, so be sure to travel with a map.
The shelter is open for overnight stays from November 15 to April 30. Space in the shelter is first-come, first-served, and there is no charge. You may find yourself sharing the shelter with strangers, but guests are usually friendly and respectful. The shelter has a wood burning stove, and wood is cut and stocked by volunteers in the summer season. A solitary outhouse sits a short walk from the shelter. The shelter is magnificently situated for views of Three Fingered Jack on clear days, and it is a great spot to enjoy the peace and solitude of the Willamette National Forest.
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.