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Jonathan Stull | 11.28.2016

Less than 60 miles from the Space Needle, Snoqualmie Pass is a winter paradise for snow-loving Seattleites. At 3,015 feet in elevation, the pass gets more than 400 inches of snowfall annually. It boasts four ski areas with 600 acres of night skiing. Trails for snowshoeing, cross-country, and backcountry ski adventures crisscross the slopes of Kaleetan Peak and Summit Chief Mountain and along the banks of Kacheelus Lake. This stretch of the I-90 from Bandera to Cle Elum is chockablock with winter adventures for any skill and speed. The only question is how quickly you can collect your gear and get into the mountains?

Backcountry Skiing

  • Roaring Ridge: North-facing slopes that offer terrain mellow enough for backcountry beginners.
  • Mount Catherine: Dense forests and varied terrain to challenge advanced skiers.
  • Source Lake: Oft snowshoed, the peaks above Source Lake are also ideal for backcountry skiing.
  • Snow Lake: Past Source Lake, Snow Lake offers freer terrain on busy weekends, easy route finding, and groomed skin tracks.


The hills near the parking lots of the Summit at Snoqualmie are perfect for end-of-day sledding adventures.

Cross-country Skiing


  • Keechelus Ridge: Big mountain vistas and a safe environment for novice orienteers on a challenging 2,500-foot ascent.
  • Franklin Falls: Technically a hiking trail, the trail is a possible target for snowshoers as it parallels the South Fork Snoqualmie and gains minimal elevation over its course to the 70-foot cascade.
  • Source Lake: Old-growth forest and spectacular views of the Snoqualmie River Valley.
  • Talapus Lake Snowshoe: Hiking trail by summer, snowshoe by winter, its nine miles gain 1,600 feet in elevation for a challenging snowshoe.
  • Mount Margaret: Summer crowds vanish on this very challenging snowshoe with 3,000 feet of elevation gain and big mountain vistas.

Winter camping is available at the day use area in Lake Easton State Park.


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