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Kat Dierickx | 12.14.2015

Don't barricade yourself indoors just because the temperatures have dropped and snow has covered some of your favorite trails. The winter months are a great time to get outdoors, fill your lungs with crisp mountain air, and visit some of your most-loved summer trails. Washington offers winter adventurers a wealth of trails, many with beautiful vistas and mountain lakes, that are still easily accessible in the snowy seasons. Check road and weather conditions before heading out and be sure to pack enough water. 

Without further ado, here are 35 of our favorite snowshoe trails in Washington.

Mount St. Helens

  • Mount St. Helens Worm Flows: 12 miles, 5,000 feet net elevation gain.
  • June Lake: 4.8 miles, 600 feet net elevation gain.
  • Chocolate Falls: 5.4 miles, 1,000 feet net elevation gain.
  • South Coldwater Ridge: 7 miles, 1,400 feet net elevation gain.
  • Kalama River Trail: 8 miles, 500 feet net elevation gain.

Mount Rainier National Park 

 

Summit ridge on Cowboy Mountain. Photo by Anthony Kasner.

Snoqualmie Pass Area

 

View from the trail to Lake Valhalla by Anthony Kasner.

Between Index and Leavenworth

Mountain Loop Highway

 

View from Artist Point by Anthony Kasner.

Standing atop Artist Point on a crisp and clear winter day grants some of the most awe-inspiring views in the state of Washington. It's only 4 miles and 1,000 net elevation gain, and the sweeping perspectives are incredible. 

Recommended Gear

Before you head out on your next Mount Hood adventure, make sure you have the right gear! 

Here's a list of our go-to snowshoeing essentials to get you started:

Snowshoes: MSR Lightning Ascent Snowshoe

Cushioned, Made in USA, Ultralight, 98.8 oz

Men's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $299.95 • MSR | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Jacket/Shell: Arc'teryx Zeta AR Jacket

Waterproof, Adjustable Drawcord Hem, Pit Zips, GORE-TEX

Men's • $431-475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $475 • Arc'teryx | Amazon | Backcountry

Pack: Mammut Nirvana Pro Pack 

35L, Carry-On Size, Hip Belt, Ice Axe / Pole Loops, Hydration Compatible

Standard Fit • $189.95-199.95 • Mammut | Amazon | Backcountry

Small Fit • $199.95 • Mammut | Amazon

Insulating Layer: Moosejaw Dequindre Down Jacket

Water-resistant, Insulated, Adjustable Drawcord Hem

Men's and Women's • $179

Poles: Black Diamond Traverse Pole 

Aluminum, Adjustable with Lever Lock System, 21 oz.

$79.95 • Black Diamond | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Gloves: The North Face GORE-TEX Gloves

Waterproof, Adjustable, Insulated, GORE-TEX

Men's • $99.95-181.63 • The North Face | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $99.95-100.00 • The North Face | Backcountry

Boots: Vasque Snowblime UltraDry Boot

Waterproof, Cushioned, Insulated

Men's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Women's • $149.99 • Vasque | Amazon | Backcountry

Gaiters: Outdoor Research Verglas Gaiter 

Waterproof, Breathable, Lightweight, Abrasion-resistant

Men's • $41.32-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Women's • $49.95-65 • Outdoor Research | Amazon | Backcountry | REI

Backcountry Safety Gear

If you are snowshoeing into avalanche terrain, you should be prepared, equipped and educated on how to use avalanche rescue and snow safety gear—including but not limited to an avalanche beacon/transceiver, probe, and shovel.

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