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White Pass Nordic Center

Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, Washington

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White Pass Nordic Center

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  • A windswept Leech Lake.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • Climbing the Kendall Konnector. This was during a rainy period, so the groomed tracks aren't as appealing as they might be.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • The sobering approach to The Hill.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • Looking across Highway 12 from The Hill's viewing area.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • Gliding around the Corral Loop.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • Deer Creek Loop, just before a climb.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • Dog Lake Loop turning in on itself.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • The backcountry turnoff from the Biathlon Loop.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • The backcountry trail is narrow, dense singletrack.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • Pigtail Peak socked in by weather at the summit.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • The South Fork of Clear Creek leaving Leech Lake. In the distance you can see the talus slope on Leech Lake's west shore.- White Pass Nordic Center
  • The alternate parking area east of the pass.- White Pass Nordic Center
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Well maintained. Varied terrain. Amenities.
Cons: 
Trail pass required.
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Region:
Mt. Adams/Indian Heaven Wilderness/Goat Rocks, WA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
Yes
Groomed trail: 
Yes
Net Elevation Gain: 
439.00 ft (133.81 m)
Parking Pass: 
White Pass Nordic Center Day Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring
Total Distance: 
11.50 mi (18.51 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
4,494.00 ft (1,369.77 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

White Pass is a fantastic ski resort that mixes a massive skiable area with the small-town, homey feel you get from being on the less popular side of the Cascades. Though it fills up on weekends, the lines for Tahoe resort drinking fountains are longer than the lift lines at White Pass.

Just across the highway from the resort's chutes and moguls, White Pass maintains a Nordic center with the best groomed options in a hundred-mile radius. Day passes are $15, assuming you show up while the Nordic center is operational: 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M., Thursday through Sunday. Still, the place offers over 10 miles of groomed trails that wind through intact old-growth, in addition to backcountry and snowshoe connections, gear rentals, lessons, and all the base area accoutrements you'd expect from a ski resort. Dogs are allowed after 3:30 P.M. 

The groomed trails include classic tracks, space to skate, and ample snowshoe-friendly shoulders. They make a couple of convoluted loops around the Wenatchee and Gifford-Pinchot National Forests that appear shaggy and laden with old man's beard. Depending on your level of expertise, you'll want to seek out different sections of the trail system:

  • Lake Loop circumnavigates the solid white plain of Leech Lake for 1.5 miles. It involves some ups and downs on the northern half, but the southern shore portion is perfectly flat. You'll have restroom access and views of both the lake and Pigtail Peak.
  • Kendall Konnector is a steady half-mile climb linking Lake Loop to the upper trails.
  • Dark Meadows Loop is a relaxed, 1.3-mile loop through dense fir and hemlock.
  • Zig Zag Loop lives up to its name, as it is an aggressively winding, 1.3-mile course. Watch out when it's icy.
  • The Hill is a genuinely steep, expert's only option offering long views down the Clear Creek drainage and over to Spiral Butte.
  • Corral Loop is a flat beginner's option with restroom access.
  • Deer Creek Loop is a moderate loop nearly a mile in length. It is good as either an extension of the Lake Loop or a connector to the area's eastern trails.
  • Biathlon Loop doesn't offer much on its own, but the backcountry trail that splits off of it makes for an adventuresome shortcut up to Zig Zag. It's easy to miss the first blaze orange trail marker, but the 1/3-mile route is extremely, almost obsessively well marked from that point on. (For a more serious backcountry experience, the significantly less well-marked Pacific Crest Trail cuts right through the middle of the trail system.)
  • Dog Lake Loop is a moderate 1.5-mile jaunt around Dog Lake. This is a fun trail with some roller-coaster ups and downs and a bridge crossing, but the name is misleading; Dog Lake is off to the northeast.

If you're only interested in the eastern portion of the trail system, and you're not planning on taking advantage of the White Pass Yurt's hot cocoa, you can also park on the north side of the road by the Wenatchee National Forest sign, just east of the resort. Just ski north into the woods and you'll hit the southeast corner of the Lake Loop.

Backcountry Safety

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.

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Nearby Camping + Lodging

(19 within a 30 mile radius)

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(62 within a 30 mile radius)

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