There are many, many reasons to fall in love with Bend, but one of the biggest perks is its year-round outdoor fun. Right now, we’re in the middle of winter and craving some adventure. We’ve been to a number of sno-parks in the area, but Swampy Lakes Sno-Park has been by far the most kid-friendly. It has a number of well groomed ski and snowshoe trails, but the ultimate appeal for me was the relatively flat terrain on the Snowshoe Short/Long Loop, making it perfect for beginners (aka my children).
There are two options- the short loop and the long loop on the snowshoe trail. The Snowshoe Short Loop is 1.75 miles and the Snowshoe Long Loop is 3.25 miles. You can hike to the intersection of the long loop continuation and the short loop cut back and gauge how you feel at that point before choosing a path. Spirits were high and we were feeling optimistically ambitious, so we continued on with the long loop. Hindsight being 20/20, we should have taken the short loop because our kids struggled (read: major tantrums + meltdowns) towards the end of our hike. Overall though, it was a beautiful hike and a great outing for the whole family!
There are two vault toilets at the trailhead.
Dogs are NOT allowed during the winter season.
Pack lots of snacks and maybe a few treats to entice the little ones.
Take a sled and give yourself the option of pulling younger children.