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Exploring Winter Wonderland: 10 Picturesque Snowshoeing Trails around Seattle

When winter blankets the Pacific Northwest in a shimmering coat of snow, it's time for outdoor enthusiasts to don their snowshoes and experience the winter beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Whether you're an experienced snowshoer or a newbie looking for a new adventure, there are an array of picturesque snowshoeing trails to explore around us. Here are 10 picturesque snowshoeing trails in the area, complete with information on trail distance, grade, and what makes each of them special in the winter.


Mount Rainier National Park



Paradise

Distance: Varies (several options)

Grade: Varies (easy to challenging)

Winter Charm: Paradise is aptly named, offering stunning views of the snow-covered Mount Rainier and the Tatoosh Range. It's perfect for both beginners and experienced snowshoers.


Longmire

Distance: Varies (multiple trails)

Grade: Easy to moderate

Winter Charm: Snowshoe among the towering firs, with views of Mount Rainier, the Nisqually River, and even the historic Longmire Springs area.


Nisqually Vista Trail

Distance: 1.2 miles out and back

Grade: Easy

Winter Charm: The Nisqually Vista Trail provides stunning views of Mount Rainier, especially in winter when the mountain is adorned in its pristine white robe. It's perfect for beginners and offers a glimpse of the park's majestic winter wonderland.

Snoqualmie Region



Hyak Sno-Park

Distance: Varies (multiple trails)

Grade: Easy to moderate

Winter Charm: Explore the beautiful snow-covered forests and pristine landscapes around Snoqualmie Pass, with trails for all skill levels.

Gold Creek Pond

Distance: 2.8 miles loop

Grade: Easy

Winter Charm: A gentle, family-friendly trail, Gold Creek Pond's frozen landscape and the serene pond create a picturesque setting, perfect for a peaceful winter outing.

Source Lake and Snow Lakes via the Alpental Access Trail

Distance: 3.5 miles out and back

Grade: Moderate

Winter Charm: Trek through enchanting old-growth forests, ending at the frozen Source Lake for a quintessential winter experience.


Commonwealth Basin

Distance: 4.5 miles out and back

Grade: Moderate

Winter Charm: Explore an untouched winter wonderland, following the PCT through snow-covered meadows and dense woods.


Kendall Peak Lakes

Distance: 4.8 miles out and back

Grade: Moderate

Winter Charm: Frozen alpine lakes and pristine winter wilderness.


Hex Mountain

Distance: 7.0 miles, roundtrip

Grade: Strenuous

Winter Charm: This uphill climb rewards you with sweeping views at the summit. This snowshoe is popular and can get crowded, so head out early or during a weekday if you're looking for solitude.

Stevens Pass


Skyline Lake

Distance: 3.0 miles, roundtrip

Grade: Moderate

Winter Charm: A frozen lake and sweeping views of winter scenery makes it special.

Mount Baker



Artist Point

Distance: Varies (several options)

Grade: Moderate to challenging

Winter Charm: The Artist Point area is a snowshoer's dream. Sublime views of Mount Shuksan and Mount Baker.


Bagley Lakes

Distance: 5 miles (loop)

Grade: Moderate

Winter Charm: Experience breathtaking alpine vistas as you trek through the Bagley Lakes Loop, surrounded by stunning snow-covered peaks.


Baker Lake

Distance: Varies

Grade: Easy to Moderate

Winter Charm: This trail offers different routes around Baker Lake, catering to various skill levels. Snowshoers can enjoy the serenity of the lakeshore while taking in views of Mount Baker.

Methow Valley

Sun Mountain

Distance: Varies

Grade: Easy to Moderate

Winter Charm: The Methow Valley is known for its cross-country skiing, but it's also a fantastic destination for snowshoers. Sun Mountain offers a range of trails with delightful winter scenery.


Olympic National Park


snow covered mountain

Hurricane Ridge

Distance: Various trails, including 1.5-mile Ridge Trail

Grade: Moderate

Winter Charm: Panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.


Important Resources

To check avalanche danger status Northwest Weather and Avalanche Center

To check roads and passes condition Washington State DOT

To check forest roads and trails conditions National Forest Services

To check the required permits SNO Park Permits


A few tips

  • Check Trail Conditions: Before heading out, ensure that the trail is open and safe for snowshoeing.

  • Dress Appropriately: Layer up and wear moisture-wicking clothing to stay warm and dry. Don't forget waterproof boots, warm gloves, and a hat.

  • Bring Essentials: Carry essential items such as a map, compass, first-aid kit, headlamp, and enough food and water to sustain you during your adventure.

  • Respect Nature: Leave no trace, and be respectful of wildlife and fellow hikers. Practice responsible outdoor ethics.

  • Plan Accordingly: Check the weather forecast and be prepared for sudden weather changes, especially in the mountains.

  • Snowshoeing Etiquette: Some trails are shared between snowshoers and cross-country skiers. Always snowshoe next to — but never on top of — cross-country ski tracks when you see them.

Snowshoeing offers an incredible opportunity to explore the region's pristine beauty in a unique and peaceful setting. Whether you're seeking an easy, family-friendly outing or a more challenging backcountry experience, these ten picturesque snowshoeing trails are sure to leave you in awe of the stunning winter landscapes that make the Pacific Northwest’s winters truly magical. Before heading out, remember to check current trail conditions, carry necessary gear, and be prepared for changing weather. So, lace up your snowshoes, embrace the winter magic, and let the trails lead you to awe-inspiring beauty that's only found in the snowy wonderland of the Pacific Northwest.


Happy snowshoeing!


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