Yesterday I decided to load up the old snowmobile and saddle up for a ride to Elk Lake Lodge for lunch with some friends. We parked at the Vista Butte Snow Park, (a pull off parking area a few miles before Mt Bachelor), unloaded the snowmobiles, and geared up for the ride. It's a short 4 mile ride to Dutchman snow park, which is the closest snow park to Elk Lake. We elected to park at Vista Butte, because Dutchman fills up fast and can be challenging to find a spot for a truck and trailer.
From Dutchman, it's an 11 mile ride on a groomed trail to Elk Lake Lodge. It's a beautiful ride with views of Broken Top, Bachelor, and the Three Sisters along the way. You'll also see the frozen Sparks and Devil Lakes.
The Lodge at Elk Lake
We played around a little bit, but mainly stayed on the groomed trail until we reached the resort. The resort in the winter consists of the lodge and several rental cabins. The cabins range from "rustic", to remodeled cabins with 2 or more bedrooms. They also rent snowmobiles at the resort (an option for those who ski or ride the snow cat in). Once inside the lodge we grabbed a table close to the big screen tv to eat lunch and watch the Seahawks loose a close game to the Falcons. The menu is small, but the food is great. We all had burgers and not a scrap was left by the time we were done. They also have a full bar, with several local beers on tap.
If you don't have access to snowmobiles you can either rent some from a company like Central Oregon Adventures (from Wanogo Snow Park), cross country ski in, or ride the snow cat. The snow cat usually picks up resort clients from Dutchman Snow Park on Friday and returns on Sunday. If you're in Bend and looking for a fun winter adventure, I'd highly recommend the trip to Elk Lake. Whether you're just going for lunch, or staying in one of the cabins, you're bound to have a good time.