There’s nothing quite like the sparkle of sunlight hitting ice crystals in the snow, fresh air, and enjoying some exercise under a stunning blue sky to brighten up an otherwise dull winter day.
Grab a Thermos full of hot cocoa, a picnic lunch, and head up to the Crystal Springs Sno-Park for a day of adventure and sunshine that isn’t often found at lower elevations this time of year. Located on the sunnier, drier side of Snoqualmie Pass, Crystal Springs boasts approximately five miles of ski and snowshoe trails through old-growth forest and stunning vistas, many of which can be reached on easy trails with less than 100 feet of elevation gain, making this an adventure perfect for those of varying skill and fitness levels.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. Long gone are the bulky, tennis-racket-shaped shoes of yesteryear; they have been replaced by modern, hard-deck snowshoes such as the MSR Denali, which are small and easy to manage and have extensions that fit in your pack and can be attached when you find yourself in deep powder needing some additional float.
This is a multiple use Sno-Park, which means you will experience snow mobiles in the parking area, but soon you will enter the forest, where the predominant sounds are the crunching of snow under snowshoes, the swish of skis, and the calls of wild birds and chipmunks. There’s even a troll bridge to cross, which leads to the Sons of Norway Trollhaugen Lodge, which provides accommodations and family-friendly activities to its members. You don’t need to be of Norwegian heritage to join and can meet prospective sponsors at any meeting.
After a day of adventuring, you can take a detour approximately 20 miles east to the town of Roslyn, where the television series Northern Exposure was filmed, and enjoy food and beverage at The Brick just like the inhabitants of the fictional town of Cecily, Alaska, did in the show.
If you want a place to stop on the way home, the town of North Bend has several options for food and beverage, including the famous Twin Peaks cherry pie made famous by the television show of the same name at Twede’s Cafe.
When you go
How to get there: From I-405, take I-90 Eastbound to Kachess Lake Road. Take exit 62 from I-90 W. Follow NF-54/Stampede Pass Road to Sno-Park.