Snowshoeing the Pacific Northwest
The peace and tranquility of a snowy day is best discovered when you can get outside and experience it. Wildlife, thickets of firs and pines, a frozen river's edge—this is where the adventure begins! Experience it by strapping on a pair of snowshoes, packing a lunch and discovering the snow-covered trails of the Pacific Northwest.
Search by State: Oregon and Washington
About 35 miles (56 km) east of Portland, Oregon, beginners and families will find the Trillium Lake Loop Trail #761 near the Government Camp area. This is a welcome place to practice snowshoeing and enjoy a mug of warm cocoa following this 4.4-mile (7 km) round trip trail beginning at the Trillium Sno-Park. Pack a hearty lunch so you can devote your entire day to the outdoors and a view of Mt. Hood!
Just outside Sisters, Oregon, snowshoers can enjoy a moderate to challenging hike (depending on how many miles you want to tackle) exploring many miles of trails at the Upper Three Creek Sno-Park. The Jefferson View Shelter is accessed from this Sno-Park and offers glorious views of this warming shelter’s namesake.
Visitors to Oregon’s Crater Lake National Park are in for a winter experience like no other. With an average snowfall of 44 feet (13 m), winter-enthusiasts can enjoy the solitude of the lake and crunch of their snowshoes on snow well into June. Stop in at the Steel Visitor Center for the latest conditions as you drive up Highway 62 and the road to the Rim Village—the only access to the park during the winter. Park near the Rim Village to start your day-trip (PDF) toward the Watchman Overlook or call ahead for information on ranger-led weekend snowshoe treks.Willamette National Forest
Located near Eugene, Oregon, in the Willamette National Forest the Bechtel Trail System appeals to all—from beginner snowshoers to those having accomplished distance and steeps. Warming shelters provide a welcome respite—take a breather and enjoy the views!Bureau of Land Management: Oregon/Washington
East of Ashland, Oregon, snowshoers can explore the many miles of trails established for both Nordic skiers and snowshoers alike. Located at the summit of the Dead Indian Memorial Highway, the Buck Prairie Cross Country Ski Trail parking area is the starting point. Snowshoers can follow the 1.25-mile (2 km) route from the parking area to access moderate to difficult trails including loop trails. Trails are marked with blue diamonds and signed with trail names, length and difficulty. Remember, good snowshoe etiquette includes staying to the side of ski tracks.
Wildlife Refuge (USFWS)
Located south of Spokane, Washington, Turnball National Wildlife Refuge offers more than 2,000 acres (800 ha) of land for public use. Although known for its geology, some of those fascinating features may be covered in white when you arrive with your snowshoes in hand. Try the Headquarters Trail (PDF) which connects to the Stubblefield Trail adding a bit more length. Remember, the patient and quiet observer has the best chance of viewing wildlife. Be on the lookout for moose, elk, and coyote, among others.
Join a ranger-led snowshoe as you explore scenic Mount Rainier National Park. Southeast of Tacoma, Washington, the park beholds Mt. Rainier—the most prominent peak of the Cascade Range at 14,410 feet (4,392 m) above sea level. Discover winter’s transformation at Mount Rainier by sliding into your snowshoes and learning about the area from an expert. Beginning in December at the Jackson Visitor Center, rangers will explore how plants, animals and people adapt to these often harsh winter conditions. Also visit our spotlight article Snow Play at Mount Rainier National Park, for even more fun-in-the-snow opportunities.Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Just off the Mt. Baker Scenic Byway (SR 542) east of Bellingham, Washington, visitors will find an abundance of snowshoe trails (PDF) accessing Mount Baker Wilderness. Try Hannegan Pass Forest Service Road 32 off of SR 542 to access Trail 674. There, snowshoers of all abilities (including children) will enjoy a gentle climb with views of both Ruth Mountain and Mt. Shuksan.