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Best Snowshoeing places in Washington State 2023-24

Reporter: Rebecca Smith

Snoqualmie Pass Sno Shoeing
Leavenworth Snowshoeing
Hurricane Ridge WA
Leavenworth Snow Shoeing

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Snowy Trails and Scenic Wonders: A Guide to Washington State's Best Snowshoeing Destinations

Snowshoeing in Washington State offers a magical way to explore the winter wonderland, providing outdoor enthusiasts with serene landscapes, crisp mountain air, and the satisfying crunch of snow beneath their feet. In this guide, we'll rank and explore some of the best places to snowshoe in Washington, each offering a unique and captivating winter experience.

1. Mount Rainier National Park - Ashford, WA

Topping our list is the iconic Mount Rainier National Park, a winter paradise that unfolds beneath the majestic shadow of Washington's highest peak. The park transforms into a snowy haven, offering snowshoers an array of trails to explore.

Paradise Area: The Paradise area, aptly named, is renowned for its stunning snow-covered landscapes. The Paradise Valley Trail is popular, providing breathtaking views of Mount Rainier.

Snowshoe Rentals: For those without their gear, the park's visitor centers often offer snowshoe rentals, making it accessible for beginners or those looking to try snowshoeing for the first time.

Guided Tours: Ranger-led snowshoe walks offer education and a unique perspective on the park's winter beauty. These tours provide insights into the area's flora, fauna, and geology.

2. Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park - Port Angeles, WA

Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is a snow-covered jewel, attracting snowshoers with its breathtaking alpine scenery and the opportunity to explore winter landscapes along well-maintained trails.

Ridge Run Trail: The Ridge Run Trail at Hurricane Ridge offers panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It's a moderately challenging trail that rewards snowshoers with stunning vistas.

Snowshoe Rentals: Visitors can rent snowshoes from the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center, making it convenient for those who want to try snowshoeing without investing in their own equipment.

Wildlife Viewing: Watch for winter wildlife, including deer, marmots, and the occasional mountain goat. The quiet snow-covered expanses create an ideal environment for spotting these creatures in their natural habitat.

3. Snoqualmie Pass - Snoqualmie Pass, WA

Snoqualmie Pass is a versatile snowshoeing destination offering a range of trails for different skill levels. With its proximity to Seattle, it's a convenient choice for a day trip or a weekend getaway.

Commonwealth Basin Trail: This trail is a favorite among snowshoers, providing a relatively easy route with beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. The trailhead is easily accessible from the Snoqualmie Pass Nordic Center.

Hyak Sno-Park: The nearby Hyak Sno-Park offers groomed trails suitable for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. The gentle terrain and well-maintained paths make it an ideal location for beginners.

Snoqualmie Pass caters to a range of snowshoers, from beginners to more experienced adventurers. The variety of trails ensures that visitors can find a route that matches their preferences and skill level.

4. Leavenworth Winter Sports Club - Leavenworth, WA

Leavenworth, with its Bavarian charm, becomes a winter wonderland offering an array of snowshoeing opportunities. The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club provides groomed trails and a welcoming atmosphere.

Icicle River Trails: The Icicle River Trails, maintained by the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club, wind along the scenic Icicle River. These trails offer a picturesque snowshoeing experience, with options for different lengths and difficulties.

Nordic Center: The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club Nordic Center provides rentals for snowshoes and other winter sports equipment, making it convenient for those looking to explore the trails without bringing their own gear.

Post-Shoe Refreshments. After a day of snowshoeing, visitors can explore Leavenworth's charming village, known for its Bavarian-style architecture and a variety of restaurants offering hearty winter fare.

5. Paradise Valley Conservation Area - Woodinville, WA

For those in the greater Seattle area, the Paradise Valley Conservation Area offers a nearby escape into nature, with serene trails that transform into a snowy sanctuary in winter.

Trails Through the Forest: The conservation area features well-maintained trails that wind through lush forests and open meadows. In winter, these trails become a peaceful setting for snowshoeing.

Close to Urban Areas: Its proximity to Seattle makes Paradise Valley a convenient option for a day trip. Snowshoers can escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the winter landscape.

Wildlife and Bird Watching: The area is known for its diverse wildlife and bird species. Snowshoers may have the opportunity to spot deer, owls, and other creatures along the trails.

6. Methow Valley -  Winthrop, WA

Methow Valley, with its extensive network of groomed trails, is a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts. The valley becomes a snowy playground, offering a variety of snowshoeing options for all levels.

Sun Mountain Trails: The Sun Mountain Lodge in Methow Valley maintains a network of groomed trails suitable for snowshoeing. With stunning views of the North Cascades, snowshoers can enjoy a day surrounded by snow-covered peaks.

Trail Passes and Rentals: The Methow Valley Sport Trails Association provides trail passes and equipment rentals, including snowshoes. This makes it easy for visitors to access the trails and try snowshoeing without investing in their own gear.

Lodge Amenities: After a day of snowshoeing, visitors can relax at the Sun Mountain Lodge, which offers amenities such as dining, spa services, and cozy accommodations.

Washington State's diverse landscapes offer snowshoers a variety of experiences, from the towering peaks of Mount Rainier to the serene trails of Methow Valley. Whether you're a seasoned snowshoer or a beginner looking to try this winter activity, the state's offerings cater to all levels of expertise.

As you embark on your snowy adventure, remember to check trail conditions, bring essential gear, and respect the natural environment. Each of these destinations provides a unique winter experience, allowing you to connect with nature and revel in the beauty of Washington State's snow-covered landscapes. So, strap on your snowshoes, breathe in the crisp winter air, and explore the enchanting trails that make Washington a snowshoer's paradise.

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