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Potato Hill Snowshoe

Willamette National Forest

Central Oregon, Oregon

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Potato Hill Snowshoe

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  • Morning sun through the trees at Potato Hill.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Some of the route follows a snowy forest road.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Views abound along the snowshoe trip.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • The burnt trees create a pretty contrast against the white snow.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • As you approach the ridgeline, the trees begin to thin out.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Views of Hoodoo, the Three Sisters and beyond.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • View of Three Fingered Jack and Mount Jefferson from the end of the trail.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Looking ahead at Potato Hill, an easy cross-country destination.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Another look at Mount Jefferson and Three Fingered Jack.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Fire-carved tree remnant.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Highway 20 carves through the mountains.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Watch for cornices along the steep north-facing cliffs near the top of Potato Hill.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • It's a lot faster coming down!- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • By descending the backside of Potato Hill, you can make an interesting loop back to the trail.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • The trail is popular with cross-country skiers and snowshoers alike.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Occasional signs will keep you on track.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
  • Some trees escaped the fire and flourish along the snowshoe route.- Potato Hill Snowshoe
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Easy access. Beautiful views.
Cons: 
Some routefinding to make the full loop.
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Region:
Central Oregon, OR
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
1,100.00 ft (335.28 m)
Parking Pass: 
Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,100.00 ft (1,249.68 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Pro Contributor

If you regularly travel between Eugene or Salem and the Cascades, chances are you've sped past this nondescript sno-park on your way across Santiam Pass without stopping to check it out. The next time you're headed over the pass, throw some snowshoes in your car and stop here for a quick viewpoint jaunt. A couple of well-marked trails lead out from the Potato Hill Sno-Park. Take the Hash Brown Loop for a pleasant, well-marked 3-mile walk through the woods.

If it's views you're after, then venture off on Jack Pine Road. This route goes straight to a dead end at a lovely viewpoint of Three Fingered Jack. Or keep walking beyond the viewpoint up the ridge to the summit of Potato Hill. There you'll see everything from Mount Jefferson to Black Butte and the Three Sisters

Potato Hill lies at the southern end of the B&B Complex fires that burned over 90,000 acres of forest in 2003. As you climb up toward the summit ridge beyond the end of Jack Pine Road you'll enter an eerie post-burn landscape. In winter, the blackened tree skeletons contrast beautifully with the sparkling white snow. Take your time to weave your own path through the sparse trees and identify all the volcanoes in the distance.

For a fun adventure, snowshoe the ridge to the summit of Potato Hill, then backtrack to the western edge of the ridge. Hike south down the hill to intersect the Hash Brown Loop Trail. Finish the loop and return to the sno-park.

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

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(60 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(125 within a 30 mile radius)

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