The best snowshoeing in Washington is honestly wherever you choose to go. So whether you go north to Mt. Baker, west to the two passes, or south to Rainier, you’ll have a fantastic time and enjoy the heck out of the time you spend outside.
Washinton snowshoeing is some of the best in the country, and you won’t know until you try it! I’ve never had a lousy time surrounded by snow, frosted trees, and wonderful people. It’s always a joy to get outside and find myself snowshoeing out in Washington’s beauty.
The best Washington snowshoeing hikes around the state
Common questions people have about snowshoeing in Washington
What time of year is best for Washington snowshoeing?
December through April is the absolute best time for Washington snowshoeing. However, we still have snow through June in some parts of the state that can be snowshoeing. However, these conditions will be less ideal and may be slushy.
I think the best snowshoe hikes in Washington are at Mt. Baker and Mt. Rainier National Park.
Which snowshoes do you recommend?
I’ve been wearing the MSR Revo Ascent snowshoes, and I love them. They’re a bit pricey, but they will last a decade and are a great investment. They have an excellent basket netting that you slide your food into, which quickens the strapping-in process. I wouldn’t choose any other style for Washington snowshoeing than the ones I have.
What gear do I need to bring for snowshoeing in Washington?
While your starting temperature will feel cold, you’ll quickly warm up while snowshoeing in Washington. I usually start with my down jacket over my fleece, but after about a half mile, the down jacket comes off.
Furthermore, remember to apply and reapply sunblock. The sun’s rays bouncing off the snow will burn you if you don’t protect yourself.
- Hiking Daypack
- Sunscreen (reapply)
How much harder is snowshoeing than hiking?
It’s definitely more challenging, and you’ll feel it afterward. You use so many more muscles keeping yourself upright while snowshoeing vs. hiking. It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t done it, but if you have, you know what I’m talking about.
Just expect to be sorer and to use more energy. This means drinking more water and eating more food on your trek.
Do you wear your boots when snowshoeing?
Yes, yes, yes! Wear your boots and make sure they are waterproof. Your shoes will get snow on them the entire hike, and there’s nothing worse than wearing non-waterproof boots and ending up with soaking set socks and feet.
I really recommend these LOWA hiking boots. They keep my feet dry, even after hours and hours of snowshoeing in Washington.
Do I need poles while snowshoeing in Washington?
Having hiking poles while snowshoeing will make your life so much easier. They increase your steadiness and allow you to trek through the snow easier. Of course, you can go without them, but I don’t recommend doing so. Also, get hiking poles with baskets so your poles don’t constantly go down three feet.
Will I sink while snowshoeing?
Depending on the snow, you’ll sink a bit, but nothing major. If you’re walking in fresh powder, you’ll sink the most, but it is also a freeing experience. I’m not sure there’s anything more fun than snowshoeing in Washington after a fresh snowfall.
Where to find the best Washington snowshoeing routes
One of the most popular Washington snowshoeing destinations is Artist Point. This high-elevation trailhead offers panoramic views of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, and other impressive surrounding peaks. The trail is also an excellent spot for photo opportunities, with the mountain’s rugged beauty as the backdrop.
Remember that Artist Point can be pretty strenuous, and the trail may be icy. It’s about a 4-mile trail round trip to Artist Point. Because of the terrain and weather variability, it’s important to bring appropriate equipment and prepare for the conditions.
Mount Rainier National Park
This is one of the best places for snowshoeing in Washington, thanks to its stunning scenery and various trails. In addition, the park offers guided snowshoe hikes and rental equipment, making it an excellent option for first-time snowshoers. So head up to Paradise Visitor Center for some of the best snowshoeing in Washington. You can also snowshoe out of Longmire with a few good trails too.
The best trails for Snowshoeing at Mount Rainier
I recommend doing Mazama Ridge or going to Panorama Point when snowshoeing in Washington. It’s unbelievably stunning and will blow your mind. To get up to Mazama Ridge, it’s a three-mile out and back with 700 feet of elevation gain. If you head towards Panorama Point, you can do between 4-6 miles round trip with 1,500 feet of elevation gain.
Stevens Pass offers more than 30 miles of snowshoe trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. Some popular trails include the Skyline Lake Trail, which takes you through a peaceful forest to a secluded mountain lake, and the Scenic View Trail, which offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The Stevens Pass Nordic Center also rents snowshoes and offers guided snowshoe hikes. So if you’re looking for the best snowshoe hikes in Washington, start here!
Snoqualmie Pass is another great spot for snowshoeing in Washington, with more than 100 miles of marked snowshoe trails. Some popular trails include the Commonwealth Basin Trail, which takes you through a beautiful alpine basin, and the Gold Creek Pond trail, which passes by a picturesque mountain lake. In addition, rentals and guided snowshoe hikes are available at the Summit at Snoqualmie Nordic Center.
The town of Leavenworth is located at the base of the Eastern Cascades and offers many excellent snowshoeing options. Take the Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort trails, and beautiful mountain vistas’ will surround you. Furthermore, Lake Wenatchee, just west of the city limits, also offers lots of trails and stunning sights of the late.
Related: Looking for winter gear? Get it here.
North Cascades National Park
The North Cascades is another beautiful area for snowshoeing, with trails that take you through dense forests and along mountain ridges. Some popular trails include the Easy Pass trail, which takes you to an alpine meadow with great views of the surrounding peaks, and the Hannegan Pass trail, which takes you through a wilderness area and past a scenic waterfall.
The park also offers guided snowshoe hikes, but remember that the park can be very remote, so be sure to come prepared with the 10 Essentials.
These six places are great options for snowshoeing in Washington, each offering unique beauty and experiences. However, remember that these areas can be popular for remote wilderness areas. So come prepared with the right gear and know the weather forecast and trail conditions before heading out onto the best snowshoe hikes in Washington.
Until next time adventurers, take care and be safe.
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