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 Mount Rainier National Park, you’ll have a fantastic time and enjoy the heck out of the time you spend outside.
Washington 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.
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 more easily. 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
Mount Baker Snowshoeing
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.
Snowshoeing in Washington at Stevens Pass
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!
Washington Snowshoeing at Snoqualmie Pass
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.
Washington snowshoeing in Leavenworth
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
While the North Cascades are a wonderful place to explore, much of it is unable to be reached as Highway 20 is usually closed at Ross Lake each winter and doesn’t open up until May-ish. However, this means you can go snowshoeing in May and June.
Many of these routes will be more challenging, and you should understand avalanche risks before embarking on your Washington snowshoeing adventures.
Wrapping Up – Washington Snowshoeing Adventures
These 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.