In the middle of winter, there’s no better way to see the frigid scenery outside than by snowshoeing and cruising the trails. Sure, it’s approaching 30 degrees, but have you seen the enchanting landscapes at this time of year? Washington especially has some dreamy scenery this season, with both mountains and an evergreen forest covered in layers of snow and ice. Of course, you can never go wrong with skiing or snowboarding, but try to turn things up this season and hit one of these top class snowshoe trails.
Photo via Flickr / Brewing Books
Hurricane Hill offers legendary views of the Olympic Mountains. The trail remains open to visitors all winter long as long as Hurricane Ridge Road is open (Friday through Sunday and weather permitting until the end of March). It’s a relatively easy six-mile trip to the summit, traversing alpine meadows and dense forest with over a thousand feet of elevation gain and scenic views of snow-capped peaks the entire way up.
Photo via Flickr / jyl4032
Aptly named, Artist Point is nothing short of a masterpiece. In the winter, this is an easy 4 mile snowshoe RT with about 1000 feet of elevation gain to get larger than life views of Mt Shuksan and Mt Baker. You can also see many other Cascade peaks from here and the valley surrounding Baker Lake. Fortunately, this is also a very popular route, so you are pretty much guaranteed to find a visible trail to follow.
Kendall Peak Lakes
Photo via Flickr / Jonathan Collman
Kendall Peak Lakes is another of Washington’s most popular snowshoeing destinations thanks to its gentle slope, unrivaled views, and proximity to Seattle. It leads to three beautiful alpine lakes, surrounded by lush forests and mountain ridges, with breathtaking views along the way following an ancient forest road. On a clear day you will have views of Rampart Ridge, Kendall Peak, Granite Mountain, Silver Peak, and Mount Rainier on the horizon as you descend the trail.
Photo via Eugene Kogan / Flickr
Snowshoeing through the Washington backcountry to Surprise Lake stretches just over four miles (or 8 round trip). It doesn’t follow any specific road or trail, but instead winds its way through the steep valley of the Skykomish River. You’ll get some pretty views along the way, but some of the best photo ops can be found once you hit the lake.
Photo via hiking queen / Flickr
A route neither too long nor too short, Mazama Ridge offers a clear view near the paradisiacal area of Mount Rainier. In winter, it stretches for about ten kilometers through beautiful alpine meadows covered with snow with an incredible perspective on Rainier and the Range of tattoos.
Photo via Dan Nevil / Flickr
Gold Creek is a mostly flat hike, which may not seem appealing to experienced snowshoers, but is perfect if you are bringing kids or beginners. Located in a valley east of Snoqualmie Pass, the four mile trail is like walking through a winter wonderland with views of Kendall Peak and Lake Mardee. Cross-country skiing is also popular here, as is winter wildlife viewing.
Photo via We found the adventure
With a name like Snow Lake, you can probably already tell that this alpine beauty offers a world-class destination for snowshoeing. It is located in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, near the Snoqualmie Pass, and can be reached by a round trip of approximately 10 miles.
Photo via FatGirlDoesTheWorld.com
June Lake is located near the base of Mount St. Helens in the Marble Mountain Water Park. The path to the lake is easy and gentle, following a creek for less than 5 miles RT with very minimal elevation gain.