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  • Writer's pictureTribe Pilot

Tumalo Mountain Winter/Summer Adventure

Outside of Bend, Oregon, Tumalo Mountain is a well-trafficked out-and-back hike accessible all year round. The trail slightly less than 2 miles long (one way), but it gains a whopping 1419 feet in that distance. The steep slope makes it a real leg burn, but the reward on top is spectacular.

From the Dutchman-Flat parking area, across from the Mt. Bachelor Resort, park your car and look for the trailhead near the outhouse on the west end of the parking lot. From here, the trail climbs steadily up to the summit of 7,775 ft (up ~1400 feet from the parking lot). It ascends at a steep incline, kind of like an hour of stairs. Don’t be fooled by a few false summits; you will know the top by the most significant steepest incline of the hike. Along the way, you will find beautiful vistas of Mt. Bachelor behind you, and at the summit, you will discover 360º views of the area. Looking down the foothills from here, you find the city of Bend, OR. To the South Mt. Bachelor and many runs tower above, looking north, your gaze follows the volcanic Cascade range toward Washington. On a clear day, you can see hundreds of miles in each direction.

This trail makes for a fast burn in summer, great for beginners that can take their time. Trail runners use it as an intense training hill as practice for bigger summertime events.

It is a popular snowshoe route for the hikers or a backcountry wonderland for the split-boarders, alpine-touring, and telemark crowd in winter. The winter uphill route can take up to 2 hours, depending on snow conditions. After a powder dump, the bold will wake early, often in the dark, to get the hike started. The fun is off the backside (opposite slope from where you climbed up). A bowl-like downhill run makes for several hundred yards of perfect pitch powder turns. Once the slope flattens and you lose your momentum, skin up for another run. As the hill matures, a cornice forms on the leeward edge. Drop it at your own risk.

Once your laps are done, head down the way you came; it can be a fun tree-run to ski/board down or hike back on the trail. Use caution not to get off course, as you may end up miles from your vehicle if you descend even a few degrees off your bearing.

Caution: it can be easy to take the wrong course down and end up miles from your car. Bring a map and stay close to the trail on your way down.

Caution: this area has been known to avalanche, so do not run it without proper avalanche training. Bring a beacon!

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