3-Day, 2-Night Backcountry Hut to Hut Ski Traverse

The self-guided 22-mile route contours along the eastern boundary of the Three Sisters Wilderness roughly following the historic Metolius Windigo Trail at an average of 6,500′ in elevation. The route moves through the heart of our beautiful Oregon Cascades from Dutchman Flat near Mt Bachelor to the Three Creeks Snopark near Sisters, OR, through old growth Hemlock forests and hidden meadows that offer sweeping views of the Three Sisters and Broken Top.

Unlike the ascent/descent skiing that we host at Tam MacArthur Rim with our Owl and Raven Yurts, this journey will be Low Backcountry/Nordic. What’s Backcountry/Nordic? Well, the terrain is ungroomed and rolling with gentle slopes. The designated route is void of any avalanche terrain. The snow conditions will vary infinitely from day to day. Sometimes there will be a packed trail from the previous group, other times there will be deep fresh powder, other times it will be icy and firm. Regardless, it will be a spectacular adventure.  Those with some fitness, off trail ski experience and appetite for adventure will enjoy.  The challenge of the route will be not be technical terrain, but accurately navigating long distances in a variety of winter weather and potentially difficult snow conditions. 

*This link takes you to a great trip report by HUT 2 HUT 

A sweet video provided by some of our guests!

The day begins with guests meeting at Three Creeks Snopark at 8:30am to drop off their vehicles. You will meet with our staff for a briefing about the route and snow conditions. A Cog Wild van will then shuttle you and your gear to Dutchman Flat for the beginning of your ski adventure. Maps and route descriptions will be provided in a waterproof case to bring with you. The designated route roughly follows the Metolius Windigo Trail.  The route is marked with diamonds and flags. Each group skis from south to north, moving to the next hut each day. Other groups may start the day before or after you, therefore we do not offer the ability to ski the other direction, visit only one hut, or stay for multiple nights. No guiding will be available. Each group must be self sufficient and prepared to deal with an emergency while skiing the route. From Dutchman Flat, skiers will proceed 8 miles into the Tumalo Creek drainage where skiers spend the first night at the Happy Valley Hut. The Hut is fully insulated with steel siding and wood interiors, has 8 bunks, a full kitchen, wood stove and a lounge area. Depending on snow conditions and experience this could be very quick or take most of the day. When conditions allow, there are endless opportunities to extend your route, or you can just spend your time enjoying the peaceful remote cabin.

Skiers continue following the Metolius Windigo trail eight more miles to the Lone Wolf Hut, which is located near Three Creeks Meadow with stunning views of the Three Sisters and Tam McAurthur Rim The hut is nearly identical to the Happy Valley Hut but the terrain offers more open views.

On the final day skiers will enjoy a six mile ski that gradually descends more than a thousand feet through the Three Creeks Nordic trail system. Views of the Three Sisters and Mt Jefferson are stunning. The route passes by the Jeff View shelter which is an excellent spot for lunch and taking in the scenery. You will finish at the Three Creeks Snopark where you left your vehicles on day one.  

This is an off trail, un-groomed 22 mile backcountry route.   There is no steep or technical terrain.  The challenge lies in variable snow conditions and the distance.  It is NOT recommended for beginners. If the route is icy and you have little experience on nordic skis, you will be falling… a lot.  If there is lots of new snow, it can be exhausting breaking trail.  That said, many beginners do tackle the route regardless, they find it rewarding, but very challenging.  If you are not sure if you are up for it, go ski “off” trail for 8 miles at a local XC ski area and see how you do.  Also, make sure there are others in the group that are very experienced to help you.

We operate the Ski Traverse mid Dec – the end of April.  Dec and January will have the coldest temps and best chances for dry cold snow.  That said, they also are the shortest days of the year.  Day 1 can be long with the shuttle.  If there are added challenges along the route, this can put the group at risk of skiing in the dark before they reach the first hut.  As the days get longer, there is more daylight to explore and allows a more relaxed pace. Also note that during the shoulder months of Dec and April (or all months in low snow years) the last few miles of the traverse drops to the lowest elevation.  The very end can melt out and you will have to hike the last bit on foot.  Day 3 shuttles pick ups at snow-line will no longer be offered, be prepared to hike the last bit in these situations.

Skis: Bring Metal Edge Nordic skis with Scales or lightweight telemark skis with skins. Boots/Bindings:  Beefy Nordic (NNN BC or 3 Pin/duck bill) and coordinated binding Alpine Touring and Telemark gear that is more suited for descending might be a bit too heavy and bulky. Skate skis and track classic skis will be too light and flimsy.  

Our goal is to try and reduce the gear you have to carry so that skiing is more enjoyable. Each hut is stocked with food, wood stoves, propane cook stoves and full kitchen supplies. Every bunk has a mattress and sleeping bag. You are required to bring your own sleeping bag liner. You are welcome to bring your own sleeping bag as well if you don’t mind carrying it. Drinking water comes from melting snow on the stove. There is an outhouse with TP at each hut location.

Each hut is stocked with the ingredients listed below. Please supplement these ingredients with fresh fruits, veggies, meats, snacks or anything else you wish to carry. These supplies are stocked once week or as needed. We cannot make any additional substitutes/changes etc… please be respectful and limit the amount of beer you consume. Happy Valley Hut Food Supplies:

  • pasta (GF available)
  • marinara sauce
  • canned olives
  • canned artichokes
  • potato chips
  • hash browns*
  • eggs*
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • garlic powder
  • coffee & tea
  • individual creamer
  • Oats
  • jerky
  • energy bars
  • trail mix
  • pancake mix
  • syrup
  • Good Life Beer

Lone Wolf Hut Food Supplies:

  • tortillas (flour & corn)
  • beans & rice
  • canned salsa & hot sauce
  • tortilla chips
  • hash browns*
  • eggs*
  • butter
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • spices
  • coffee & tea
  • Oats
  • bars
  • jerkey
  • nuts
  • pancake mix
  • syrup
  • individual creamer
  • Good Life Beer

*dehydrated but good (taste tested!)  

Shuttle is provided by Cog Wild Bicycle Tours and is included with your reservation. The shuttle van will meet your group at the Three Creeks Snopark at 8:30AM for your check in on day 1. Your vehicles will remain parked there at Three Creek SnoPark until you return. For local Bend folks who don’t want the whole group to have to drive to Sisters in the morning you can send just your shuttle drivers with the return vehicles to the Three Creeks Sno-Park to meet the shuttle at 8:30AM. The shuttle will then pick up the rest of your group as you swing back through Bend at approximately 9:30AM.

The route will be marked and we provide large, laminated topo maps for you to take on your trip. We also have a PDF map and smart phone application to help navigate that we will email you once you make your reservation. We HIGHLY suggest use of the phone app (can be used on airplane mode). This is a low-resolution preview of the Ski Traverse Route.   The Upper Three Creeks Snopark is located 11 miles south of the town of Sisters. From downtown Sisters go south on Elm St. and it will turn into road 16. The road dead ends at a gate and the Snopark is to the left. Park by our field office trailer located on the far side.  

Ski Traverse Reservations are indicated in  on the calendar below. Tips for Reading the Calendar:

  • Each reservation on the calendar shows the start date of each group.
  •  If you have a group make one reservation for the whole group. 
  • A different group could start each day of the season.
  • There are 8 bunks total
  • If you start on a Thurs-Sat you must book the huts exclusively (all 8 bunks)
  • If you start on a Sun-Wed, there is a 2 person minimum, and its “open house style”.   Others are welcome to start the same day and share the huts.

  • Reservations are first come first served
  • Book up to one year in advance
  • 50% deposit due to hold your reservation; balance due 2 weeks prior to start
  • There are no refunds for cancellations, including for poor weather or injury.
  • If you are concerned you might need to cancel, please purchase travel insurance. Some of our clients have successfully used travelgaurd.com

Prices are for the entire three-day, two-night traverse, a Cog Wild shuttle, food and beer.    

*Mid Week:

For tours beginning on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday:

  • 2 guest minimum, 8 maximum
  • $325 per person
  • with less than 8, you might share the huts with other skiers


For tours beginning on Thursday, Friday or Saturday:

  • The huts are reserved exclusively for your party.
  • 2 guest minimum, 8 maximum.
  • Single Price: $2,600 ($325 per person for 8)