Few destinations offer such expansive vistas for skiers and snowshoers with such little effort. The Vista Butte Trail is a relatively quick, 1.8 mile, 720-foot ascent through a thin forest of lodgepole pines and white firs. From the 6,619-foot summit you'll have excellent views of the closer peaks: Mount Bachelor, Tumalo Mountain, South Sister and Broken Top; on clear days, however, you'll also see as far south as Diamond Peak, Mount Thielsen, and Crater Lake's Mount Scott.
For a longer trip, take the Ridge Trail from the Swampy Lakes Sno-Park in lieu of the Vista Butte Sno-Park. The Ridge Trail will branch off onto the Butte Trail, totaling 7 miles round-trip. In addition to more exercise, this longer route provides a little scenic diversity.
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.