Pumice Loop is a nice and easy, relatively flat 1-mile loop through the forests of the Cascades. Located at about 3,500 feet in elevation along the Santiam Pass, the Lava Lake Sno-Park has various trail options for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
From the parking area head west and look for blue diamonds on the trees (orange diamonds are for snowmobilers). There is a sign near the trailhead, but the numbers are worn off. The trees provide a little bit of cover and protection at times. The loop crosses with other trails and gives you the option to explore more of the Willamette National Forest or continue on the easy loop back to the parking area and try out one of the other five trails nearby. Or you can head across the highway to check out the Fish Lake Remount Depot, which is only accessible by ski or snowshoe during the winter.
The sno-park offers plenty of parking space, vault toilets, and information signs. The trailheads are not well marked, and depending on recent weather conditions they might be hard to find. The area is also open to snowmobilers, and some of the trails are shared.
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.