5 Snowshoe Adventures Near Seattle
Explore a Pacific Northwest winter wonderland with these 5 snowshoe adventures and some helpful tips.
Cue the Christmas music and cocoa. I blew past Thanksgiving right to Christmas. How about you?
Most years, I wait until after Thanksgiving to spread the Christmas spirit, but it's 2020 and the world is a wild place. So yes, I am listening to Christmas Cocktail Jazz on Spotify, sipping a cider (purchased at Joyce's Market & Cafe --support local small business!) and sharing some fun adventures right in our Seattle backyard. It is 2020 aka the year of shelter-in-place. We won't sugar coat it, it's been a tough year. We have all been impacted in some way and for some it has been harder to navigate the uncertainties of this pandemic. Christy and I remind ourselves that we are lucky to live in such a gorgeous part of this country. When it's rainy and grey in Seattle, remember the snow and mountains are only a short drive away. With chilly temps you may even be excited to wear your buff/gator!
Last weekend we both escaped the city for some much needed time with Mama Nature and our husbands. Christy spent the weekend celebrating her birthday at Suncadia and I explored a new trail off I-90 and enjoyed the luxury of grandparents babysitting. Andy and I were both post-holing (is that a word??..not sure, but you get the gist) and waist-deep in snow at Lake Melakwa Trail. Despite the lack of preparedness, we had the best time breathing in crisp mountain air. After Christy and I reconvened on our weekend adventures, we were inspired to share a few different snowshoe options for getting outside this winter. After all fresh air is some of the best medicine.
For a Novice Snowshoe Outing: Gold Creek Pond
Never worn snowshoes? Don't worry, this one mile, flat trail is perfect for a first outing. You can enjoy beautiful scenery as you teach your littles how to wear snowshoes.
For a Family Affair: Franklin Falls
This trails offers a stunning waterfall view with little effort involved. At two miles roundtrip with about 400 ft of elevation gain, you can bring your littles with you. Make sure you read trip reports about the snow and road conditions, since it is accessed by a forest road. You may want micro-spikes for your descent down to the falls, depending on the conditions. Bonus, it's dog-friendly
For an Olympic Park Adventure: Hurricane Ridge
Mid-December through March, you can expect Hurricane Ridge to be snow-covered. This gem in the Olympic's has a variety of activities that you can access: snow-shoeing, tubing, ski-ing and boarding are all options.
For the Quintessential Snowshoe: Artist Point
This four-mile trail boasts some of the best views: Mt. Shuksan, Mt. Baker, and The Cascades to be exact. It is a popular destination for snow shoeing so there are usually tracks to follow. If you are looking for solitude, this may not be the trail for you mama! However, it can be accessed mid-November to June, is kid and friendly, and the trail has about 1000 ft of gain, so you will get a nice little booty burn too.
For a Work Out with Wow Factor: Mt. Rainier Reflection Lakes Loop
Seven miles roundtrip and just shy of 600 ft of gain, this trail may not be the steepest climb but it is the longest on our list. You will be captivated by Mt. Rainier and seas of snowy white. Make sure you read the description to avoid avalanche-prone routes and stay on the trail. If you want to lengthen your adventure, you can plan to winter camp by Lake Louise!
A few helpful tips to make your adventure more enjoyable:
- Bring extra socks and maybe even extra pants. You don't want to drive home with soggy feet, so pack extras for post-hike.
- Consider a backpack with a water bladder. It will be easier to stay hydrated and warm if you don't have to stop for a sip mid-hike.
- Wear layers that are sweat wicking. Chances are you will start the hike cold and heat up if the sun is out or if you are climbing. Make it easy to shed layers. We also recommend polyester or Merino wool as your base layer because they are wicking and keep you warm.
- Pack snacks. There's nothing worse than being wet & cold, beside being hungry, wet, & cold.
- If you are adventuring with littles, consider bringing a sled to enjoy some small slopes.