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Where to Go Snowshoeing

Posted by Susan Elderkin at Jan 18, 2012 02:19 PM |
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Now that there is plenty of snow, get outside and enjoy it! WTA provides tips on how to choose a destination, get to the trailhead and stay safe on your snowshoeing adventure.

Snow is falling everywhere in Washington today. I've already seen some cross country skiers skate by my Seattle house, and this whole scene is inspiring me to dust off my snowshoes and head into the mountains for some real winter recreation as soon as this storm blows over.

But first some considerations:

  • Choosing a safe destination, because avalanche conditions are at their highest after big snowstorms like this, and white-outs can disorient even the most experienced snowshoer (as it did at Mount Rainier last weekend).
  • Making sure that I can actually reach the trailhead in my car while also having the correct Sno-Park pass in my glove compartment.
  • Having a safe trip requires preparation, knowledge, a well-packed backpack and common sense.

Certainly, taking to the snowy slopes in the winter is more complicated than heading out for a July hike. It can also be incredibly rewarding when you hit it right. There is nothing better than sparkling powder draped across trees on a blue-sky mountain afternoon.

Wta.org has the information you need to plan a safe and fun winter outing. To find a good destination, we have selected Ten Great Snowshoe Hikes to get you started. When you click through to the details in our Hiking Guide you will see that the author, Dan Nelson of Mountaineers Books, has rated most "Easiest" to "More Difficult." Hikes that are labeled "Easiest" have the least avalanche risk. This month's Washington Trails magazine also has a feature on snowshoeing - you may want to check it out for even more inspiration. Finally, read up where others have been snowshoeing, paying attention to the most recent posts in WTA's Trip Reports.

Now you have to get there. Mountain roads - and even interstate highways - are unpredictable in winter. You can find great links to road conditions, weather forecasts (including avalanche danger) and more on WTA's Winter Recreation page. It also includes the details you need to know to have the right Sno-Park pass and/or Discover Pass along on your adventure.

And finally there is your own personal safety. Part of your preparation is to choose a safe destination. The other part is packing the right necessities in your backpack and using your knowledge and common sense. You can find details about what to bring and how to stay safe on our Winter Safety Tips page.

Then head outside and have a blast in the snow!

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