Where to Go for a Winter Hike in Washington State
As you’re looking for something fun to do, don’t forget that there are many outstanding hiking spots throughout the state of Washington. It doesn’t have to be warm outside for you to go on a hike. In fact, several areas offer winter hiking options that range in difficulty from simple to expert. Check out some of the best winter hiking spots in Washington this year.
West Rattlesnake Trail
Start at Snoqualmie Point and take a beautiful, long hike to Grand Prospect. This is an 8.4-mile hike and has an elevation gain of 2,200 feet. While you’re on this hike, you’ll see beautiful views of Mount Si and the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. If you’re not experienced with winter hiking, you may not want to go all the way to the peak, since snow and ice conditions make it more difficult. The trailhead offers paved parking and two bathrooms, allowing you to hike comfortably.
Crab Creek Wildlife Area
Head to the tri-city area to hike Crab Creek Wildlife Area. This is a 2.6-mile hike with an elevation gain of only 40 feet. This is an easy hike, and a great option for those new to winter hiking. You’ll find rolling sand dunes, a beautiful creek, and mountains towering above you. Depending on when you head out for your hike it’s important to remember that this area is a popular spot for hunters, as well. The trail itself runs parallel to Crab Creek, allowing you to view a variety of wildlife during your time out. Watch for birds, deer, and more.
Klickitat Rail Trail
If you’re looking for a long hike, consider Klickitat Rail Trail near the South Cascades. This trail is 31 miles long, though there are several access points throughout the trail, allowing you to come and go as you need. The elevation gain is approximately 200 feet. Venture across the state along a former railroad. While you’re hiking, you’ll come across wildlife including deer and birds, even in the winter. Taking the entire trail in a single go is difficult in the winter, especially if you plan to do a round trip. However, smaller sections are a great option for your snowy hike.
For a beautiful waterside hike, head to Padilla Bay near Burlington. The round-trip hike is 4.8 miles and offers a very small elevation gain of 30 feet. The trail allows you to walk along the bay and is a simple hike for just about anyone. While you’re walking, keep an eye out for bald eagles and other large birds. While you’re on the hike you’ll find benches, allowing you to sit and relax, take some pictures, or even have a quick snack before you start up again.
Hiking in the winter is different than summer hiking. You need to make sure to check current trail conditions before you head out. Bring along essentials such as extra food, a first-aid kit, and blankets in case of an emergency or accident. A flashlight with extra batteries is also helpful, even if you don’t plan to hike in the dark.
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