Campers and picnickers this Memorial Day weekend may find a cold, wet blanket of snow over some of their favorite high-country picnicking and camping spots.

On the Deschutes National Forest, visitors are warned of 8-foot snow depths at campgrounds and picnic sites above 5,500 feet. The Cascade Lakes Highway, south and west of Bend, has been plowed open but offers barely enough room for two cars to pass between snowbanks.

On the Mount Hood National Forest, visitors are likely to encounter snow on any road or trail at 3,500 feet to 4,000 feet elevation, said Rick Acosta, another Forest Service spokesman.

"Some of our more popular spots are snowed-in still," he said. "It just depends on where you go. A lot of those campgrounds are normally open for Memorial Day, but this year, they are not."

The situation is no better in eastern Oregon's scenic Blue Mountains. Most camping and picnicking sites above 4,500 feet on the Umatilla National Forest are still snow-covered "to the point of being inaccessible," said Joani Bosworth, a Forest Service spokeswoman in Pendleton.

At lower elevations, travelers should beware of large, impassible snowdrifts on roads that are shaded by trees or cutbanks, she said. Three to 5 feet of snow still covers the popular Tollgate recreation area of the Blues along Oregon 204, linking Elgin and Weston, she said

"This is an unusual spring for the Blue Mountains," said Larry Randall, recreation staff officer for the Umatilla National Forest in Pendleton.

On the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon's largest national forest, recreation areas above 5,000 feet generally remain inaccessible, said Dan Ermovick, a Forest Service recreation manager in Baker City.

Some picnic and camping spots near the popular Anthony Lakes Mountain Ski Area in the Elkhorn Mountains are buried, he said. It's still impossible to drive from the ski area to the semi-ghost town of Granite on the Elkhorn Loop Road because of snow. Many trailhead gateways into the 560-square-mile Eagle Cap Wilderness are also inaccessible.

The road to the Hells Canyon Snake River overlook at Hat Point is blocked by snow about 8 miles southeast of Imnaha, Ermovick said. When heading into the high country, he recommends bringing provisions for an unexpected overnight stay and not relying on cell phone service.

"There are a lot of cell phone spots that are dead on the forest," said Ermovick.

Source: The Oregonian