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Winter Hiking

11 hikes to enjoy the wintery outdoors.

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| January 6, 2021
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The days are still short and dark, but good news! Now that we’re past the winter solstice, we’re gaining about 2 minutes of daylight per day! (We’ll take it.) One great way to beat those winter blues is to get out into the great outdoors and breathe in that fresh mountain air. We came up with a list of just a handful of what the Puget Sound region has to offer – with a little something for everyone.

As always, please check weather and trail conditions before your hike and bring plenty of snacks, water, rain gear, and extra layers. Also please adhere to trail etiquette during the pandemic by keeping your distance from fellow hikers and putting a mask on as you pass others on the trail. For winter safety, it is important to check avalanche conditions before you go. Visit www.nwac.us for information.

River Hikes

Winter Hikes in Washington River Trails

Pratt River Trail

Distance: 6 mi
Elevation Gain: 100 ft
Just outside of the North Bend area, this walk along Pratt River is a nice option to get outdoors that’s close to home.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/pratt-river-trail

Skookum Flats

Distance: 7.8 mi or 4.2 mi
Elevation Gain: 300 ft
This trail can begin in 2 different places, opting for either a longer or shorter hike with minimal elevation. Follow along the White River outside of Mount Rainier National Park to Skookum Falls.
https://www.wta.org/go-outside/seasonal-hikes/go-hiking/hikes/skookum-flats

Snowy Peaks

Winter Hikes in Washington Snowy Peaks

Beckler Peak

Distance: 7.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 2,240 ft
A bit of a heart pumper and leg workout for sure, but if the trail and weather conditions are good, the surrounding views of the snowcapped peaks are absolutely worth it.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/beckler-peak

Dirty Harry’s Balcony

Distance: 4.4 mi
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
A classic mid-range hike, this trail makes for a good intro to winter hiking as it’s not too long and not so high that it usually isn’t buried in snow. This trail ends with mountain views across the I-90 corridor.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/dirty-harrys-balcony

Suburban Strolls

Winter Hikes in Washington Suburban Trails

Point Defiance Park

Distance: 5 mi
Elevation Gain: 200 ft
It’s more than just a zoo! Walk along as little or as much as you want with up to 5 miles of trails available. Primarily flat, this is a great option for families.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/point-defiance-park

Evan’s Creek Preserve

Distance: 4.2 mi
Elevation Gain: 325 ft
Opened in 2011, you can find this 179-acre nature preserve near Lake Sammamish. Walk along ADA accessible trails, cross bridges over the wetlands, and stop at 4 different birdwatching platforms.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/evans-creek-preserve

Margaret’s Way

Distance: 6.5 mi
Elevation Gain: 1500 ft
The longest of these suburban escapes, Margaret’s Way on Squak Mountain near Issaquah is a pretty, forested walk for those looking for a bit more exercise without driving further east into the mountains.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/margarets-way

Waterfalls

Winter Hikes in Washington Waterfalls

Teneriffe Falls

Distance: 5.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 1,585 ft
Though biggest water flow is in spring, these falls can look beautiful in a surrounding wintery landscape. Just be sure to read the latest trip reports before you go to make sure the trail isn’t too hazardous in icy conditions.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/teneriffe-falls

Wallace Falls

Distance: 1 – 5.6 mi
Elevation Gain: 1300 ft
You can hike as much or as little of this trail as you wish, with the option to see the lower, middle, and upper falls at different points. No shame in turning back at the Lower or Middle falls – you’ll still experience the trail winding along the Wallace River and ending at a beautiful waterfall.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/wallace-falls

Beginning Snowshoeing

Winter Hikes in Washington Beginners Snowshoeing

Gold Creek Pond Snowshoe

Distance: 1 mi
Elevation Gain: 10 ft
If you’re itching to try snowshoeing, this beginner route in Snoqualmie Pass is a great option. This flat, short trail will give you the opportunity to practice walking around in snowshoes. There are also a few options to make this trail a bit longer.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/gold-creek-pond-snowshoe

Wenatchee Crest Snowshoe

Distance: 6 mi
Elevation Gain: 400 ft
Whether you’re a newbie or experienced, this longer snowshoe route off Highway 97 provides some fantastic views of the surrounding mountains. It makes for a full day trip with the drive time, or you could make it a weekend and stay overnight in Leavenworth.
https://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/wenatchee-crest-snowshoe