Winter Trips & Tips

A good snowfall brings a bevy of fun winter activities.

Whether you’re ready for the snow or prefer to stick to the lower elevations, Washington State Parks are host to a varied array of adventures to brighten your winter. We provide 7 ideas to inspire you to head outdoors any day in winter.  

The Covid19 pandemic is still with us so please start by being ready to follow guidelines to recreate responsibly. We hope you head out to make the most of this special season. 

1. Walk on Water (a.k.a. Snow)

Just because it’s winter doesn’t mean you can’t discover a new trail. Snowshoes help you stay above even the deepest powder, bringing you to new heights from the mountains to the valley. Please remember to stay away from the groomed ski trail tracks.  Lake Wenatchee is a favorite state park for snowshoeing. For places closer to Seattle, the Seattle Times provides excellent ideas and gear rental sources for your next adventure.

Epic morning of snowshoeing and blue skies at Mount Spokane. (Photo Credit Carol Christensen)

2. Ride a Fat Bike

Lake Easton and Iron Horse (between the Crystal Springs Sno-Park to Easton Reload Sno-Park) as well as Pearrygin Lake State Park in north central Washington invite fat bikes to special area trails. The Methow Valley is one of Washington’s best places to rent and try fat biking.

Fat Biking at Pearrygin (Photo Credit David Acheson)

3. Shred the Sled

It never gets old. Whether you’re waxing up your grandpa’s old toboggan or borrowing the lid to your neighbor’s recycling bin, the constants add up every time: slope + snow = fun. Lake Easton, Crystal Springs, Lake Wenatchee and Field Springs State Parks even have areas devoted to sledding and snow play. Remember to employ spotters and, when dealing with areas near the woods, consider helmets. Sledding hills are up and sliding throughout the state.

4. Enjoy Ski Trails

Snow-blanketed lands across the Washington feature groomed trails for fledgelings and seasoned pros alike. Fifteen state parks provide cross country ski trail access including Iron Horse, Crystal Springs, Lake Easton, Kachess and in north central Washington Lake Wenatchee and Pearrygin Lake offer miles of groomed ski trails. Other Sno-Parks include federal or private lands like Cabin Creek.  Explore our interactive map and the State Parks winter recreation guide to discover your next adventure!

5. Skijor

There’s no reason your dog should have to stay home. Skijoring is the age-old art of cross country skiing while being helped along by a dog or a horse. While our state parks have not yet seen horse skijoring catch on, disciplined dogs across the state are braving the trails with their ski-clad best friends. 

Winter fun at Washington State Parks doesn't require snow

6. Take a Hike

At lower elevations, parks and trails remain open through the winter months and offer a special perspective. Rivers and waterfalls swell with winter’s precipitation; so do bright and lush moss and lichens, in contrast to deciduous trees’ leafless silhouettes. And occasional sticky snow can make for an exciting adventure. Use the guide to parks open in winter for your planning.

Wallace Falls State Park (Photo Credit Alyssa Powell)

7. Explore a Winter Beach

Sometimes the best place to celebrate the awes of winter is at the continent’s edge. Exposure to a winter storm fresh off the Pacific is a sensory experience; smell the salt, feel the mist, hear the waves, and delight in the subdued tones of the nearly deserted winter beach. There are numerous parks along the coast awaiting you. 

Gathering Storm (Photo Credit Tanja Thomas)