Gold Creek Pond doesn't have a promising biography. It began as a gravel pit created during the construction of I-90 in the 1970s, but its gritty origins are far in the past. This well-marked, popular snowshoe and cross-country trail guides visitors around the charming creek and pond, which is now glassy and lined by evergreens, in an easy half-mile loop. On a clear day, the views across the water to the north are particular standouts and include the Alpine Lake Wilderness and Chikamin Peak, while the view to the south looks into Wenatchee and Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forests. The trail also makes up part of the Great Washington State Birding Trail's Sun & Sage Loop, although bird action quiets down significantly in winter.
You never really escape the feeling of development on the trail, which passes over boardwalks, includes interpretive signage and benches, and comes close to a number of private homes. Certainly don't expect to have the area to yourself; Gold Creek Pond is only one exit east of Snoqualmie Pass, and it can be inundated by Seattleites on the weekends. The extensive Gold Creek Sno-Park is likely to host a long line of cars by the afternoon.
Of course, Gold Creek Pond is a family destination, not a backcountry experience. It's easily accessible (from the sno-park, a short hike along a forest service road gets you to the start of the loop), flat throughout, and an excellent introduction to the beauty of Washington's Central Cascades. It even comes with picnic tables at the southern end of the pond, although you might want to bring a snow shovel to clear your spot.
Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.