Where to Go for Snowshoeing Fun
Although one can snowshoe anywhere there is snow, there are a few spots that capture the spirit of Washington’s winter months.
In the North Cascades, the crown jewel snowshoe adventure is up to Artist Point to gaze at the rugged mountains. The adventure, best for experienced snowshoers, can be a round trip of 9.2 miles, depending on where the road is closed. At Stevens Pass, the Skyline Lake and Surprise Lake trail give experienced snowshoers a steep but rewarding adventure to lakes often frozen and surrounded by snow-draped trees. Skyline Lake is 3 miles round trip, but gains 1,100 feet of elevation. Surprise Lake, at 8 miles round trip and gaining 2,300 feet, is also a quad-burner.
In the Central Cascades, the best options for incredible snowshoeing are found at Snoqualmie and at Mount Rainier. Snoqualmie has many trails, but a classic is the family-friendly route to Gold Creek Pond, where amazing views await. This is a 1-mile path that is well-traveled and mostly flat. Down at Mount Rainier National Park, the snowshoeing around Paradise is some of the best you’ll find, granting you access to pillowy snow and unrivaled mountain views. There are miles of trails to explore, but please always check snow and weather conditions before heading out.
In the Southern Cascades, find truly unique Pacific Northwest snowshoeing experiences. At White Pass, the trails in the Tieton River Meadows have something for everyone. Newcomers can wander the unplowed Forest Service Road, while advanced adventurers with the right gear can reach the summit of Round Mountain. Find the highlight to the region at Mount St. Helens. In the snow, one can with a permit picked up at the trailhead, snowshoe all the way to the volcanic rim from the Worm Flows Route, which gains nearly 6,000 feet in a round trip of 12 miles.
In eastern Washington, Mount Spokane’s 21 miles of snowshoeing trails will wear you out during your days of exploring, but still leave all ages and abilities of snowshoers wanting to come back often. If that is too developed, the path to Sherman Pass near Kettle Falls has a 6-mile trail that is the perfect introduction to longer days in more rugged terrain.
Hurricane Ridge looms large above the region, giving snowshoe treks above the rainforests and wild rivers. The route to Hurricane Hill, 6 miles round trip, is a classic walk. Another option is Obstruction Point Road, getting you away from the crowds and granting views into the untouched wilderness of the Evergreen State.
–Written by Douglas Scott, last updated in September 2022.
–Top image of Artist Point Near Mount Baker. Photo by EDB3_16/Getty Images