10 Great Northwest Snowshoe Trails

Winter Sports Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Written by

The Northwest abounds with great snowshoe trails: peaceful, groomed paths that meander through evergreen forests, alpine ridgelines with jaw-dropping views and stout mountain routes for the heartiest of climbers.

We left the latter kind off this list, but still packed it full with plenty of spectacular snowshoe outings that should please just about any winter walker.

Never snowshoed before? Don’t worry. Check out our crash course and you’ll be ready to hit the trail in no time.

Snowshoe Trails in Washington

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  1. Mazama Ridge: This snowshoe trail along Mount Rainier’s Mazama Ridge offers sweeping views of the Tatoosh Range and major Cascade peaks like Mount St. Helens and Mount Adams. The route itself can be quiet, but parking at Paradise can be tight, so get an early start. 6 miles
  1. June LakeA lovely, gradual slope up to a scenic lake with a waterfall and, on clear days, a look at Mount St. Helens. 5 miles
  1. Methow Valley: The renowned Methow Valley is a snowshoer’s dream, with trails ranging from easy, groomed strolls to burlier backcountry options and guided tours. Mileage varies
  1. Leavenworth: The Leavenworth Winter Sports Club offers loads of easy (but scenic) snowshoeing options just outside town, from the 4-mile Ski Hill route to the 2-mile Snowshoe Adventure Trail along Icicle Creek. 2 to 4 miles
  1. White Pass: With more than 10 miles of groomed trails winding through snowy forests, the Nordic Center at White Pass is the perfect place to get your snowshoe legs moving all winter long. Mileage varies

Snowshoe Trails in Oregon

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  1. Twin Lakes: Step through a snow-filled forest full of impressive hemlocks and firs on your way to these quiet little lakes located to the southeast of Mount Hood. Up to 8 miles
  1. Potato Hill: Enjoy a hearty helping of classic Northwest conifers and a side of grand mountain views — Mount Washington and Three Finger Jack included — on this scenic hike about 80 miles east of Eugene. 4 miles
  1. Swampy Lakes: Don’t let the name fool you. This popular Sno-Park outside of Bend has some amazing Cascade vistas and pretty, tree-lined paths. Plus, it’s home to multiple loop options perfect for snowshoers of any ability. Up to 6 miles
  1. Mirror Lake: There’s flat terrain, a little climb, mountain views and a beautiful lake on this popular jaunt just southwest of Mount Hood. 3 miles
  1. Sky Lakes WildernessThe Cold Springs Trail to Heavenly Twin Lakes is groomed by the local snowmobile club, so you’ll be sharing a nice but popular path on weekends. Get out during the week and you’ll experience the true wilderness aspect of this area’s name. 4 miles

Where can you rent snowshoes?

Here’s our quick list: