Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Snowfall to the valley floor in our local area can be hit and miss to forecast, which can be a big disappointment for those who love the snow. But do not despair! We have high elevation mountain regions which provide great opportunities for a snow day—all right here in our little corner of the state.
Gifford Pinchot National Forest has over 1 million acres of forests, mountains, river valleys, waterfalls, wilderness, and volcanoes. It’s a year-round destination for outdoor recreation. In winter, this pristine natural area becomes a snowy playground for sledding, tubing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, or just a good old-fashioned snowball fight.
Before you put on your winter gear and hit the road, check for current weather conditions at: www.fs.usda.gov/giffordpinchot/
Oldman Pass near Carson is one of the closest Sno-Parks for sledding and cross country skiing followed by hot chocolate around a fire. Directions: Northeast of Carson. State Route 14 to Wind River Highway and USFS Road 3055.
This Sno-Park features trails connecting to the Ice Caves. Another big draw is the large warming hut to keep the chill away. Directions: From Trout Lake, Washington, drive 6 miles southwest on Hwy 141 to the entrance of the Sno-park.
SnowKing and Pineside
Located near Trout Lake these parks host miles of cross country trails great for exploring and enjoying stunning views of Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.
Mount St. Helens
Marble Mountain Sno-Park
Near the town of Cougar, Marble Mountain is one of the busiest Sno-Parks in the region. The five-mile June Lake Trail through landscape untouched by the 1980 eruption is popular with snowshoers. A path around the lake leads to a view of a 40-foot waterfall. Directions: From Cougar, WA drive east on Lewis River Road, which turns into Forest Road 90. Continue on Forest Road 90 until the intersection with Forest Road 83. Turn left on Forest Road 83 and continue approximately 6 miles to the Marble Mountain Sno-Park.
This is another winter playland that is easy to access with miles of ski and snowshoe trails. The trailhead is popular for snowmobiling so be prepared to share the trail. Fortunately, Cougar Sno-Park is less heavily trafficked than others in the region. Directions: From Cougar, WA drive 9 miles east on Lewis River Road (State Route 503/Forest Road 90) to Forest Road 83. Take Forest Road 83 north to Forest Road 8100 junction.