Snowshoeing and snowplay at Snoqualmie, Mount Rainier and Hurricane Ridge, through March 2016.
Abundant snow in the Cascades this winter is great news for outdoor recreation, including guided snowshoe walks and snow play at Snoqualmie Pass, Mount Rainier and Hurricane Ridge.
Plan ahead if you’re interested in U.S. Forest Service snowshoe walks and other snowshoe activities at Snoqualmie Pass. Reservations are required and many sessions are already sold out. Lots of dates are still open for the popular one-mile, 90-minute, moderate-pace walks through old-growth forest to learn about winter ecology with U.S. Forest Service guides, three times daily Saturdays and Sundays through March 27. No experience is required and snowshoes are provided. Reservations are also available for four- to five-hour walks Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through March. Photography-themed snowshoe walks on limited dates and 90-minute outings for kids starting Feb. 13 are almost sold out.
The U.S. Forest Service also offers snowshoe walks on limited dates at Stevens Pass, Darrington Ranger District and Mount Baker Ranger District.
U.S. Forest Service snowshoe walks
Snoqualmie: 90-minute walks, suggested donation $10-$15; other events $10-$25, by reservation; 425-434-6111 or discovernw.org/store_winter-snowshoe-program-at-snoqualmie-pass_SNOWSHOE01.html.
Stevens Pass: 2 p.m. Feb. 27 and March 5, $15-$25; discovernw.org/store_winter-snowshoe-program-at-stevens-pass_SNOWSHOE02.html.
Summit at Snoqualmie Tubing
Cost: $5-$24/two-hour session.
More information: 425-434-6791 or summitatsnoqualmie.com/mountains/tubing
Snowshoe walks: 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 27; $5 donation requested.
National Park Inn General Store: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, conditions permitting; 360-569-2275 or mtrainierguestservices.com/activities-and-events/winter-activities/cross-country-skiing.
Cost: Park admission $20/vehicle.
More info: 360-569-6575 or nps.gov/mora/index.htm.
Snowshoe walks: 2 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays, snow permitting; $3-$7.
Cost: Park admission $20/vehicle.
More info: 360-565-3131 or nps.gov/olym/.
The Summit at Snoqualmie Tubing Center is also popular for winter snow fun. Advance registration is available for two-hour sessions four times daily on weekends and some weekdays, weather and conditions permitting, with added evening session Fridays and Saturdays. Space is limited and sessions sometimes sell out. Tubes are provided; no personal sledding devices are permitted.
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Snow play and guided snowshoe walks are also available at Mount Rainier National Park, weather, road and snow conditions permitting. Ranger-led 1.8-mile snowshoe walks leave Jackson Visitor Center twice daily on Saturdays and Sundays through March 27, with sign-up available an hour before each walk; snowshoes included. If going on your own, a concession at the Park’s National Park Inn General Store rents snowshoes, boots and cross-country skis during store hours, first-come, first-served, no reservations available (National Park Inn does offer winter accommodation packages that include rental snowshoes).
Mount Rainier’s snowplay area at Paradise is open daily, staffed on weekends and holidays, weather and snow conditions permitting. Only soft sliding devices, flexible sleds, saucers and inner tubes, are permitted; no toboggans or sleds with runners are allowed.
All vehicles entering Mount Rainier National Park are required to carry tire chains. The park’s Twitter feed of conditions and snowplay status is updated frequently and is available at twitter.com/MountRainierNPS; Twitter account not required.
Hurricane Ridge near Port Angeles also offers guided snowshoe walks and snowplay areas.
Be sure to check the latest road and weather conditions before heading to any mountain destination. Conditions can change quickly.