Diamond Lake Cross Country Ski Circumnavigation

When: March 6, 2024
Where: Diamond Lake, Oregon
Who: Jan and Team Woof

After a couple recent short, but exhausting ski treks breaking trail through feet of fresh powder on my XC skis, I decided to take advantage of the recent snowfall and groomed snowmobile road at Diamond Lake to break up the journey home from Central Oregon. This was the 3rd time the dogs and I had done this trek in the past 2 months and this was by far the best lap yet!  The loop around Diamond Lake is about 13 miles and one can either hug the trail close to the lake or stay a little further above the lake on the snowmobile trail.  

The dogs agreed with me that using our XC ski gear and Skijoring set-up to break trail through the 2 mile stretch that runs next to the lake in approximately 18 inches of powder sounded like a terrible idea, so we chose to stay up on the snowmobile trail.  It was a Wednesday and not super crowded, but we took care to ski on the correct side of the road, yield to traffic, and make ourselves seen when necessary.  Everyone was polite and courteous, slowing down upon encountering us, which is always appreciated!  If there had been even a slight trail, as there was when we did this trip 2 weeks prior, we would have been on it, but that was not in the cards today.

We started at the Sno-Park located on NF Road 6592, which is just North of Hwy 230, west of the junction of 230 and 138.  It’s called a Sno-Park, but it’s really more of a road with adequate parking on both sides of it.  The parking area can be found by searching for South Diamond Sno-Park, but it seems that Sno-Park is no longer officially maintained, and the spaces lining NF Rd 6592 is where people now park. We skied counter clockwise so we could get the long straight stretch out of the way first.  

Around Mile 4 we encountered Diamond Lake Lodge, (and parking area which can be accessed from Hwy 138, and is open pretty much year-round), taking care to cross the paved road with caution to remain on the Snowmobile road.  

It was here that we chose to stay on the snowmobile road and go above the lake, rather than get on the XC ski trail and ski down next to the lake.  The snow was just too deep and it would have taken hours and more energy than my abbreviated Sled Team had to break trail through that much snow, so we went high.  

After another 2 or so miles we popped out above the dam located on the North end of the lake.  Here there is normally a lovely view of Mt. Thielsen, but the clouds had just swallowed it up, so we had to settle for a far away view of Mt. Scott instead!

It was interesting to note that the East side of the lake was sunny with blue sky and almost no clouds, whereas the West side was being engulfed in a fine sprinkling of fresh snow with slightly limited visibility! I was comfortable in just my baselayer pants, hoody and light jacket, but did have warmer, waterproof outer layers stashed in my pack just in case. After a snack break at the dam, we continued on along the West side of the lake skiing past all of the cabins buried in the snow and dreaming of what it might be like to spend a couple weeks of the winter in one of those cabins! Around mile 12, noting that there would be no bicycles crossing the road today we completed the loop at the South end of the lake and skied the ¾ mile south on NF Rd 6592 back to the car.  


Skis: Fischer Adventure 62
Poles: Adjustable
Baselayers: BlackStrap Cloudchaser hoody and pants
Beanie: MountainShop Custom
Gloves: Black Diamond Mont Blanc
Snacks: Trail Butter Lil’ Squeeze (Dark Chocolate Coffee and Salted Brownie)