The Wallowa Mountains often referred to as the “Alps of Oregon” or Oregon's "Little Switzerland," are nearly 40 miles long and feature year-round outdoor recreation opportunities accessing towering granite peaks and pristine alpine lakes. The warmer months can draw very large crowds to this beautiful area, as hikers and backpackers alike explore the stunning landscapes. As soon as the snow begins to fall, however, these mountains see very little traffic and become the perfect escape into the snow-coated wilderness and rare solitude; for a backcountry skier, this place becomes heaven on earth in the winter.
The Wallowas has long been considered the underrated little sibling to Oregon's better-known the Cascade Range. There's no denying that the Cascades offer dramatic volcanic peaks and great year-round skiing, but the Wallowas' vast terrain offers backcountry skiers the rare opportunity to be enveloped by the mountains and get away from it all.
Rugged terrain, long runs, incredible views, and consistent snowfall make the skiing here top-notch. All ability levels will leave here smiling ear-to-ear with low-angle options, wide-open powder bowls, and non-technical summits, as well as more challenging, steep lines and creative routes for the more advanced skiers.
This terrain requires some effort to reach and necessitates experience to travel through safely, but this winter backcountry wonderland opens up a new world of skiing and splitboarding possibilities. Many of the deeper routes require a snowmobile to access, but the following list will help orient you to some of the great options out there.