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Guided Snowshoe Hikes for Everyone

Posted by Rachel Wendling at Dec 13, 2018 07:30 PM |

From beginner treks to more advanced outings, these guided snowshoe hikes are a safe and fun way step into the world of winter recreation.

Winter can feel like a daunting time to escape the lowlands and get on trail -- but with the help of guided snowshoe hikes, exploration doesn't need to halt for the snow. From beginner treks to more advanced outings, the following programs are a great way step into the world of winter recreation in a safe and fun environment.

Ranger-guided snowshoe hikes are available throughout the Cascades, including Snoqualmie Pass, Stevens Pass, Mount Baker, Darrington Ranger District, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Rainier National Park, as well as Hurricane Ridge in the Olympics.

Big Four Ice Caves Snowshoe
Photo by Arnab Banerjee.


Snoqualmie Pass

Volunteers and rangers with the Forest Service at Snoqualmie Pass offer a variety of guided hikes to match your personal skill level and interests. Reservations are required for all programs. The programs are popular, so reserve your spots early on the Discover Northwest website. There is a suggested donation of $15 for adults, $10 for youth 16 and under, and $25 for extended or photography programs.

All programs begin in February.

90-Minute Trek
Sat. 10 a.m. & 11:30 a.m., Sun. 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. & 1 p.m.
Learn about the winter ecosystem, wildlife and safety on this one-mile loop walk through opulent old-growth forest.
Group size limit: 20

Extended Hikes
Fri. Sat. Sun. 9 a.m.
Experience Commonwealth Basin in the winter surrounded by the Cascade crest peaks. Bring a lunch, a well-stocked day pack, extra clothing and water; you will be out from about four to five hours.

Winter Photography Outings
Feb. 10, 16 & 24 Mar. 2, 10, 16 & 24 9:30 a.m.
Geared for photography enthusiasts of all abilities. Commonwealth Creek offers intriguing image possibilities with ice falls, cool vapors and swirling dark waters. Your guide will discuss light, composition and exposure. Bring lunch, this outing lasts four to five hours.

"Kids in the Snow"
Feb. 9, 16 & 23, Mar. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16, 17 & 23, 1:00 p.m.
Earn a Junior Ranger Snow membership and badge! Learn about winter tracking, how plants and animals survive through the winter and check out some hearty winter critters on this approximately 90-minute walk.

Avalanche Awareness Walks
Sat. Sun. 9:30 a.m.
Join the Northwest Avalanche Center and the Forest Service for snowshoe walks where the focus is entirely Avalanche Awareness. Professionals from the Northwest Avalanche Center will be leading and presenting these walks this winter. Suggested Donation: $25.

Swauk Campground Walks (Cle Elum/Blewett Pass Area)
Feb. 16 and 23, Mar. 2 1:00 p.m.
Join a naturalist for a fun and exciting 2½ hour guided snowshoe walk. Please note- this program is listed under the Snoqualmie Pass list of programs on the Discover Your Northwest reservation site - be sure to check there for availability and dates.

Mount Baker Snowshoe
Snowshoeing at Artist Point, near Mount Baker. Photo by Alex Pollitt.


Stevens Pass

Stroll down the snow covered Pacific Crest Trail and learn about the intricacies of winter ecosystems with a guided snowshoe trek in National Forests at Stevens Pass.

When: Sat. 10 a.m. & 1:30 a.m., Sun. 10 a.m.
Distance & Time: 1.0 mile, Walks will range from 1.5 - 2 hours 
Suggested Donation: $15 for adults, $10 for youth 16 and under
To make a reservation: Head over the Discover Northwest website to make your reservation. For more information or to schedule groups and special events, contact the Skykomish Ranger District at 360-677-2414. Reservations are required.

Mount Baker Ranger District

The Mount Baker Ranger District provides you with two educational walk opportunities near Hannegen Pass Road. Learn about ecology, recreation, and the cultural history of the North Fork Nooksack drainage with a ranger guided program, or opt for a Northwest Avalanche Center specialist to lead your walk and learn about avalanche safety in the mountains.

When: Feb. 10, 15 & 24, Mar. 3 & 10, 10:00 am
Distance & Time: distance dependent on conditions, Walks will range from 2-3 hours
Suggested Donation: $15 for adults, $10 for youth 16 and under. Snowshoes and poles are provided.
To make a reservation: Head over to the Discover Northwest website to make your reservation. Reservations are required.

 

Valhalla Lake Snowshoe
Crisp morning and fresh tracks on the way to Valhalla Lake in the Stevens Pass region. Photo by KenWP.

Mount St. Helens

The Mount St. Helens Institute hosts a variety of winter adventures planned for the 2018 season, traversing a variety of trails across the mountain. You will be joined by an expert naturalist to discuss what makes the volcano so special.

When: Check their calendar for upcoming dates as they are made available.
Distance & Time: These adventures differ in location and distance, ranging from 3.3 to 7 miles.
Fee: All winter adventures have a fee of $55. Snowshoes, if needed, may be rented for $15/pair. A Sno-Park permit may also be required depending on where you park.
To make a reservation: Sign up for your adventure at the Mount St. Helens Institute. Snowshoes may also be reserved in advance.

Artist Point Snowshoe by geezerhiker
Taking a break on an Artist Point Snowshoe. Photo by geezerhiker.


Mount Rainier National Park - Paradise

Embark on an educational journey as you join park rangers on a walk to learn how plants, animals, and people adapt to challenging weather conditions on the mountain. For more information on winter recreation on the mountain, head over to the Mount Rainier National Park website.

When: Sat. Sun. & Holidays 11:00 a.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Distance & Time: Walks cover approximately 1.8 miles in about 2 hours
Suggested Donation: $5, snowshoes are provided
To make a reservation: All guided walks are first-come, first-serve, with sign-ups opening an hour before departure at the Jackson Visitor Center. For organized groups, reserved snowshoe walks will be available starting in January. Organized groups of 15 to 25 people will require a reservation made by calling the ranger station at (360) 569-6575, or by visiting the Longmire or Jackson Visitor Centers. 
Roads note: In winter, chains are required on Mount Rainier National Park roads.

Olympic NATIONAL Park - Hurricane Ridge

From mid-December through the end of March, you can join rangers at Olympic National Park on a short, family friendly guided snowshoe walk. For more information on winter recreation on the peninsula, visit the Olympic National Park website.

When: Weekends and some holidays (January 1 and 21, February 18) from December 15, 2018 to March 31, 2019. Walks begin at 2:00 pm.
Distance & Time: Walks cover less than a mile of gentle terrain and last approximately 1.5 hours.
Suggested Donation: $7 for adults, $3 for youth, and free for those 5 and under (snowshoes included)
To make a reservation: Sign-ups begin at the Hurricane Ridge information desk 30 minutes before the walk. Call (360) 565-3136 in advance if you plan on bringing a school or community group.


Washington State Parks provides public, family-friendly, guided snowshoe hikes at a couple of locations, listed below. 

Lake Easton State Park

When: February 9, 10, 23 & 24. Walks begin promptly at 12:30 pm.
Distance & Time: Walks cover about 3 miles of moderate terrain and last approximately 2.5 hours.
Parking Permits and Passes required: Daily Sno-Park Permit and Discover Pass OR Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and Groomed Trail Sticker
To Participate: Meet at the Lake Easton State Park day use area located at 150 Lake Easton State Park Road Easton, WA 98925. Bring snowshoes, poles and weather-appropriate clothing. Be sure to arrive early enough for the 12:30 p.m. departure time. Visit the Washington State Parks website for more information.
Road/winter access note: Participants should call 509-925-1943 after 9 am on the day of the hike for status updates, as winter access issues, such as road closures, may cause cancellations to occur.

LAKE Wenatchee STATE PARK

When: February 10, 16 & 24. Walks begin promptly at 1:00 p.m.
Distance & Time: Hike distance and duration is dependent on hiker preference with the shortest walk at 1.4 miles and the longest at 2.4+ miles.
Parking Permits and Passes required: Daily Sno-Park Permit and Discover Pass OR Seasonal Sno-Park Permit and  Groomed Trail Sticker
To Participate: Meet at the North Reservation Booth in the North Park located at 21588 State Route 207 Leavenworth, WA 98826.
Bring snowshoes, poles, snacks, water and weather-appropriate clothing
. A limited number of snowshoes are available for rental. Call 509-763-3101 ahead of time to reserve a pair. Be sure to arrive early enough for the 1:00 p.m. departure time. Visit the Washington State Parks website for more information.
Road/winter access note: Participates should call 509-763-3101 after 9 a.m. on the day of the hike for status updates, as winter access issues, such as road closures, may cause cancellations to occur.

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