In the Willamette National Forest outside the logging town of Oakridge are miles and miles of great mountain-biking trails that have turned the Oakridge area into one of Oregon's top mountain-biking regions. Stop by the ranger station in Westfir to get maps and information on riding these trails. One of the most scenic rides is the 22-mile trail around Waldo Lake. You'll also find trails at Willamette Pass Ski Area (tel. 541/345-7669; www.willamettepass.com), where, in summer, ski trails are great for mountain biking. This ski area also operates a summertime sightseeing gondola that carries your bike up to the top of the mountain for you. An all-day pass costs $14 for adults, $8 for children, and $1 for children 5 and under. Mountain-bike trail passes cost $25 for adults, $15 for children.
If you're keen to soak in some natural hot springs, you'll find some right beside Ore. 58 about 10 miles east of Oakridge. McCredie Hot Springs are neither the hottest nor the most picturesque springs in the state, and with traffic noise and crowds, they aren't the most pleasant either. But if you want a quick soak without having to go wandering down gravel roads, they do the trick.
Just before reaching Willamette Pass, you'll see signs for Salt Creek Falls, which are well worth a stroll down the short trail to the falls overlook. At 286 feet high, these are the second-highest falls in the state. Longer hiking trails also lead out from the falls parking area.
Also just before Willamette Pass is the turnoff for Forest Service Road 5897, which leads 10 miles north to Waldo Lake, one of the purest lakes in the world. The lake, which is just over a mile high, covers 10 square miles and is 420 feet deep. When the waters are still, it is possible to see more than 100 feet down into the lake. Because this is such a large lake, and because there are reliable afternoon winds, it is popular for sailboating and windsurfing. Powerboaters, canoeists, and sea kayakers also frequent the lake. There are several campgrounds along the east shore of the lake, while the west shore abuts the Waldo Lake Wilderness Area. The 22-mile loop trail around the lake is popular with mountain bikers and backpackers, but shorter day hikes, particularly at the south end, are rewarding. The mosquitoes here are some of the worst in the state, so before planning a trip, be sure to get a bug report from the Middle Fork Ranger Station.
Just over Willamette Pass lie two more large lakes. Odell Lake is best known by anglers who come to troll for kokanee salmon and Mackinaw trout. However, it's also a good windsurfing lake. Though the waters never get very warm, Crescent Lake is the area's best for swimming, notably at Symax Beach, on the lake's northeast corner.
At Willamette Pass Ski Area (tel. 541/345-7669; www.willamettepass.com), 69 miles southeast of Eugene on Ore. 58, you'll find 30 downhill runs and 12 miles of groomed cross-country trails. The ski area is open daily from around Thanksgiving to mid-April. Night skiing is available on Friday and Saturday nights from December to March. Adult lift tickets are $45 per day.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.