5 Amazing Snowshoeing Spots Near Medford

Photo: NPS

Reliable snowfall and endless trails make Medford, Oregon, a snowshoer’s paradise.

Next to sledding, snowshoeing is one of the most accessible ways to experience winter. You don’t need to learn a lot of technical skills or buy a bunch of gear—all you have to do is grab a pair of snowshoes and get exploring. Well—grab a pair of snowshoes, figure out where to go, and then start exploring. 

As for that middle piece on your destination? That’s where the guidance below will factor. Medford is surrounded by some of the greatest and most varied natural beauty that Oregon has to offer. That said, some places are better for snowshoeing than others. Snow-covered roads, wide trails, and more rolling terrain tend to be the most snowshoe-friendly. And because moving through snow is way tougher than strolling across dry ground, try sticking to shorter loops instead of looking to knock out a 20-mile day, especially if it’s your first time on ’shoes. 

With all that in mind, consider a mix of wide, snowy Forest Service roads, and narrower singletrack so you’ll be able to find something fun no matter your comfort level. Here are five local-favorite spots to snowshoe near Medford.

1. Crater Lake

On average, Crater Lake National Park gets more than 40 feet of snow per year. That’s enough to turn this tourist hotbed into a quiet winterscape, devoid of crowds and painted all in silvers and blues. The other bonus to having that much show is that the main park road closes to vehicle traffic in the winter—which means those traveling via human power get full reign along the iconic 31-mile Rim Drive. Consider a 2.4-mile out-and-back from Rim Village to Discovery Point, or a 5.4-mile out-and-back to Watchman Overlook. (Both can be done via road or trail.)

During most winters, park rangers also lead guided snowshoe tours. Each two-hour walk wanders through off-trail terrain that most Crater Lake visitors never get to see. Best of all: Sign up for a guided hike, and snowshoe rentals are free of charge.

2. Mount Ashland 

Mount Ashland may be best known for its skiing, but its easy access and plentiful trails make it just as idyllic a snowshoeing destination. You can park at the Mount Ashland Ski Area lot as long as you have an Oregon Sno Parks parking permit. Head east to Bull Gap for some gentle downhill hiking to sweeping views of Mount Shasta, or go west and connect Forest Service Roads 20 and 300 to gain the Mount Ashland summit.


3. Greensprings Mountain 

Just south of Hyatt Lake, you’ll find a couple of trailheads that offer incredible access to winter snowshoeing along the Pacific Crest Trail. From the southernmost parking area (located just off the highway), you can trace a 5.9-mile lollipop loop around Green Springs Mountain, or try to knock out the 7.5-mile trek to Hyatt Lake (this distance is one-way, so consider shuttling a car if you’re not ready for the full 15-mile out-and-back). When you’re done, pop by the nearby Green Springs Inn for locally sourced barbecue in cabin-style digs.

4. Great Meadow Sno-Park

With about 165 miles of groomed trails to explore, Great Meadow is one of the best launching points for a snowshoe adventure in the Lake of the Woods area. Start at the Great Meadow parking area off Falls Highway/OR-140. (You’ll need an Oregon Sno Parks permit to park there.) Pick up the High Lakes Trail going west. After 1.8 miles you’ll reach the scenic shores of Lake of the Woods and views of Mount McLoughlin draped in snow. Want to keep going? In 5.3 more miles, you’ll reach the Pacific Crest Trail. From there, the adventure opportunities are endless.

5. Fish Lake 

Located about 8 miles west of Great Meadow Sno-Park, Fish Lake Resort offers several options for short, beginner-friendly snowshoe loops. You can trace the lake’s northern shore for a 5.5-mile out and back, or connect smaller loops on the relatively mellow trail network east of the resort.

Looking for a bigger adventure? Snowshoe from the resort to the nearby PCT and plot an out-and-back of your choosing. Or, park just north of Fish Lake at the Mount McLoughlin Trailhead and go for a winter summit. (At nearly 4,000 feet of elevation gain over just 4.3 miles, this one’s reserved for experienced adventurers.) When you’re done, be sure to stop at the Fish Lakes Resort to warm up with a cup of hot cocoa.  

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.