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Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
8.20 mi (13.20 km)
Warming hut
No
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The East Fork of the Foss River Trail is a great winter route that samples much of what snowshoeing is about. Starting on an unplowed Forest Service Road that follows the high bank of the Foss River, the first mile and a half is a good uphill warm-up to make sure you have your shoes on properly. After leaving the multi-use snow road and any possible snowmobiles or cross-country skiers, you hop on a trail with an even grade that is a snowshoer's dream. With a narrow trail that almost immediately enters an old-growth forest with towering trees, this is a nice hike to get away from it all.

After getting off of the multi-use road, a well-traveled trail follows the banks of the East Fork of the Foss River. While in summer the route is easy to see, winter sometimes obscures the path. Likewise, downed trees, stream crossings, or low snow cover may require you to alter your path. Remember that as long as you can keep the Foss River within earshot, it's hard to get lost. Throughout your time following the Foss River expect deep snow fields, stream crossings, big trees, a bridge crossing, some possible wildlife spotting (snow rabbits are common), and enough winter solitude to get spiritually lost in the amazement of surreal winter scenes. 

Great camping spots line the way along the East Fork of the Foss River. The first great winter campsites are over 4 miles in, where you'll find Altarus Lake. It's one of the first big vistas on the drive in, and with a minimal climb and avalanche danger, it makes a great day hike. If you want more of a commitment and the avalanche conditions allow for it, make the trek up the side of the mountain and enter the lower lakes of the Necklace chain. No matter how far you go though, expect a good hike into snowy Cascade Mountains. 

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

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Sno-Park Parking Permit (required in OR + WA 11.01 thru 04.30)

Pros

Old-growth forest. Possible winter solitude. Easy navigation.

Cons

Multi-use trail at the beginning. Stream crossings.

Trailhead Elevation

1,361.00 ft (414.83 m)

Net Elevation Gain

700.00 ft (213.36 m)

Features

Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Waterfalls

Typically multi-day

No

Groomed trail

No

Location

Field Guide + Map

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Washington

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