A Closer Look At . . . Winter Activities at River Bend Park and Clear Lake Resort

You never can tell from year to year whether winter will bring snowfall to our area. Certainly at higher elevations there is likely to be snow at this time of year. Even at some lower elevations, with or without snow, there are a lot of fun winter activities for all ages. 

We have two facilities that are available to winter camping and lodging…Clear Lake Resort and River Bend County Park. Clear Lake has a popular promotion which allows visitors who have cabin reservations between November 1, 2017 and March 31, 2018 to buy one night and they will get a second consecutive night for free. Simply tell us on the phone that you want to use this offer, or if you book online leave a note in the guest comment section and your bill will be adjusted. 

We also have a similar coupon deal for River Bend County Park where visitors who buy one night of camping or cabin stay and get the 2nd consecutive night for half off. This is applicable for visitors staying at River Bend between January 1 and March 31, 2018. Again, simply tell us on the phone that you want to use that offer, or if you book online leave a note in the guest comment section and your bill will be adjusted. 

River Bend’s cabins are open for year-round use and make a wonderful winter getaway. We also have an enclosed shelter with a fireplace for cozy family gatherings during cold, wet weather.  River Bend provides close access to low elevation Willamette National Forest trails for hiking, or if you are a waterfall lover McDowell Creek Falls County Park is only a quick 10-mile drive away.

Higher up in the mountains, Clear Lake Resort is a short 20-minute drive from Hoodoo Ski Area on Santiam Pass, so if you’re already in that area it’s a great place to stop and get an extra dose of snow. A lot of skiers stay at Clear Lake and take advantage of the snow activities in both places.

Hoodoo has the popular Autobahn tubing area. If you’re not a skier, or you have young children, tubing is a great alternative for people who don’t ski, but want to get out in the snow. Clear Lake Resort has several areas popular for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing, or hiking if there’s no snow. The Resort has close access to nearby snowmobile trails, and since the lake does not freeze over, anglers can fish year-round for a cutthroat trout. Boat rentals are available daily, all year long! While the lake is not stocked in winter, there are still plenty of fish for the hearty angler.

Lava Lake Trailhead, part of the Willamette National Forest, is a high-elevation trailhead that is just 10 minutes down the road from Clear Lake. Photographers and nature lovers in general can find many things to appreciate in this snowy landscape. The combination of the lake, trees, and lava makes for spectacular photos. From Lava Lake, it’s a short trip to the top of Santiam Pass. At 4,817 feet at the top of the pass, visitors can get clear views of Mt. Washington and Three Fingered Jack.

Back at the resort you can enjoy a trip around the Clear Lake Loop Trail. On a clear day the trail offer great views of the Lake and from the right spot from the northern end the Three Sisters look amazing. As the snow begins to pile up, hiking gives way to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on this 5 mile loop around the lake. Clear Lake also provides easy access to several Willamette National Forest trailheads at lower elevations, if you want to see some bare ground.

The Clear Lake cabins are open year-round, but visitors must bring their own food and bedding. The Resort is operating on its winter season generator schedule. Electrical power will be available during the following time periods; 7:30 AM to 9:00 AM, Noon to 1:00 PM, Evenings 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM. Winter generator hours are in effect until May 2018.

Winterizations at River Bend Park
As of November 17, 2017 River Bend County Park has been officially winterized. The following sites will have the water on: 2C, 3C, 4C, 5C, 6C, 7C, 8C, 9C, 6D, 8D. Campsites 5B & 6B will have the water on, but are used on a first come, first serve basis for a drop in at the park. All other sites will have power, but the water has been turned off/winterized. All of River Bend’s cabins are available for winter rentals. The E, F and G-loops are closed until March of 2018.

River Bend Park

A Closer Look at . . . Edgewater RV Park and Marina

Not only is Edgewater RV Park and Marina right on Foster Reservoir, it offers camping and RV spots all year-round. Weather in the Sweet Home area is generally mild all year-round, and long-term RV spots at Edgewater make it an appealing spot for the RV-er looking to be close to hunting and fishing or come out from somewhere else for a long-term stay.

At Edgewater, 48 campsites are available all year, and up to 10 spots are available for long-term stays of up to 6 months, or 180 days, between October 1 and April 1. The sites offer full hookups including electricity, sewer, cable TV and wifi. Sites are available with 50-amp and 30-amp hookups and the long-term rate is $650 month or $575 for the 30-amp hookup. If you rent a campsite during the month of October, we’re also giving you one of 18 lake side boat slips for free (depending on availability and water conditions)! It’s a great opportunity to stay in the Willamette Valley for the winter and be very close to hiking, hunting and fishing.

Hiking, hunting and fishing in the winter? Yes! The sites at Edgewater are not right on the lake, but they are as close as you can get and still be close to Sweet Home. Edgewater is right on the eastern edge of Sweet Home and the western edge of Foster Lake, with great lake access. Access to hunting in the east Linn County area is easy.

Fall weather is often beautiful, and many of the people who would use the area in the summertime are not there in the fall, once back-to-school starts. The Sweet Home Ranger District is one of the lowest elevation districts in the entire Willamette National Forest, and as such that area gets almost no snow at all. Just east of the Edgewater site, about 10 to 15 miles, is easy access to all of the hiking trails within the Willamette National Forest. Because there’s so little snow in that area, you can do a lot of late-season hiking including winter hiking. When other areas are socked in with fog, quite often this area is still sunny.

Fishing for trout and kokanee on Green Peter Reservoir is quite good during the winter months. And even though the reservoir draws down its water level at that time, the fishing remains good all year. If you’re not from the area and want to get the scoop on sweet spots, give Dan-Dee Sales in Sweet Home a call. They’re a local fishing, hunting and camping store that is always willing to share information.

Anglers can catch fall salmon and steelhead right on the South Santiam River just below Foster Reservoir, and the fish can move up to the reservoir, so it is possible to catch those fish there too. Waterloo County Park, with over a mile of river frontage right on the South Santiam River, is a great access point. John Neal Memorial Park is a nearby area that is available or day use that also has good fall salmon and steelhead access.

One of the great things about fall in the Linn County area is the fall colors that you can see along roads and rivers as the leaves start to change. Drive the 66-mile Over The River & Through The Woods Scenic Byway, which goes from the Willamette Valley to the West Cascade Mountains. The route follows US-20 east past Foster Reservoir, generally following the route of the Historic Santiam Wagon Road. The byway ascends to 4,236 feet at Tombstone Pass. It’s a windy road that forces you to drive slowly . . . all the better to enjoy the beautiful fall scenery.

We’ve had such a great response to our buy-one-get-one-free night at Clear Lake that we’re doing it again this year. Mention the “Clear Lake Winter Discount” when you make a reservation between November 1, 2017, and April 30, 2018 and when you book one night in a cabin you get the second night free.


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