Snoqualmie Pass, over which I-90 routes through the Cascade Mountains, is the commercial artery that connects Seattle to everything east. In the winter, traveling via the pass is well known as a notorious grind: think traffic jams and tire chain checks. But, just off the road, the impressive amount of snow it receives (an average of over 400 inches a year) also means endless possibilities of snow play.
What Makes It Great
Less than an hour’s drive out of Seattle, it is hard to imagine having easier access to such a vast winter wonderland: Snoqualmie Pass has dozens of possibilities for a fun snow-filled hike, and for every level of adventure. And, the further you hike in, the more you’ll feel as if your city life has somehow melted away.
There are so many great snowshoe destinations in Snoqualmie Pass, but the four-mile round-trip hike to Lower Gold Creek Basin makes for a great introduction of what the area has to offer. This trail takes snowshoers through a forested valley, alongside alpine lakes, and up to open meadows with majestic views of the peaks above. For those looking for a little bit more of an adventure, try Kendall Peak Lakes – a 9 mile round-trip journey to isolated waters at the base of the impressive 5,675 foot namesake mountain.
The downside: Most weekends with good weather, you should expect to share the trails, as Snoqualmie is a popular choice for snowshoers, cross-country skiers, and sledders alike. But if you’re able to sneak away mid-week or are willing to brave more blustery conditions, there’s a good chance you’ll feel as if you’ve got the mountains all to yourself.
Who is Going to Love It
Given its ease of access and relatively friendly terrain, this is a great option for novice showshoers, or families who want to go on an outing that’s fun for everyone.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To get to the trailheads, take I-90 to exit 54 (two miles east of the pass’s summit). After exiting, turn left, cross under the freeway, and then turn right onto a narrow paved road to park outside the Gold Greek Sno-Park, about a mile down the road.