Full Moon Showshoeing-30Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go snowshoeing at night during a full moon? Well my wife has always wanted to try it, and on Christmas Day of 2015 that is exactly what we did. I have to admit the journey through the snow on a cold December night was beautiful!

We started at Swampy Lakes Sno-Park on the Cascade Lakes Highway near Bend, Oregon, and took the west link of the Porcupine Snowshoe Loop to the Swampy Lakes Shelter, and returned the same way we went in. We started about 4:00 p.m. before the sun went down so we would be able to get some photographs before we lost the light. It took us over two hours to reach the Swampy Lakes Shelter because it was such a beautiful afternoon/evening we just had to stop and take photos and enjoy the scenery. On our way out to the shelter we came across a few other snowshoers, but as the sun set we didn’t see anyone else, and kind of thought we were the only ones out there at night on Christmas.

Full Moon Showshoeing Photo Gallery

View photo gallery of snowshoeing at Swampy Lakes Sno-Park under a full moon on Christmas of 2015.

Full Moon Showshoeing-36Once at the shelter we stopped and ate a light meal we packed in, and prepared to head back. However, just before we started to leave the shelter a group of three Nordic skiers arrived at the shelter, and they said they were going to start a fire in the provided wood stove that is at the shelter. So with their invitation we stayed for a while and enjoyed some nice talk about how beautiful it was out there, kind of glad to know we were not the only folks out in the wilderness that night.

I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t take along a tripod so I could get some moonlight photos, but next time I will. Needless to say it was a beautiful thing to see the forest with the moonlight reflecting off the snow!

The trail from Swampy Lakes to the shelter is mostly flat, however on the way out, about half way to the shelter there is one short downhill section, then it levels out for a bit, and then there is a pretty steep drop of about 1/8 mile, and then you have to climb up for about a half mile before you reach the shelter. The sign at the beginning says it is two miles to the shelter, however my GPS unit showed it to be more like 2.7 miles, so keep in mind it might be a little further a trek than you are expecting. Of course before heading out on any trip into the wilderness during the winter you should read these snowshoeing tips, and make sure you are dressed properly, have food and water, and some survival gear in case something happens.

Full Moon Showshoeing-41We didn’t get back to our vehicle at the Swampy Lakes parking lot until almost 9:30 p.m., and even though we had thoroughly enjoyed the experience we were tired, and kind of glad to get in the car and warm up. I was also glad when we got far enough down the mountain so that there was actually asphalt under our tires as well. Of course the road up to the Sno-Parks can be a little icy during the winter, and with all the snow that fell in December of 2015 it did get a little icy before we got up to the Sno-Parks. You can check out a map of snowshoeing at Swampy Lakes below.

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Map of snowshoeing at Swampy Lakes Sno-Park.

The route on the left is the Porcupine Snowshoe Loop, and route on the right is the short loop at Swampy Lakes.

PDF map of the Swampy Lakes Sno-Park area

You can also view a nice PDF map of snowshoe and Nordic trails in the area by clicking here.