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Snowy Hikes with Kids

Discover 12 snowy trails for your family to explore this winter.

Trails change their nature in winter. A family favorite during the summer may have an avalanche chute, or may simply become too difficult for your kids to enjoy once the snow falls. But just because the trails have changed doesn't mean you have to wait for spring to head outside with your kids.

Below are twelve snowy trails kids will love. You may need snowshoes for some, while trekking poles (or a walking stick) will do just fine for others, but each of them offers you and your family a way to get outside during the winter and enjoy Washington's landscape.

South Cascades


Location: Mount Rainier
Mileage: 3 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 700 feet
Note: In winter, Mount Rainier National Park requires all cars to carry chains if they're heading past Longmire.

Glacier Vista by Bob and Barb.jpegFor infants, toddlers and parents, snowshoeing near Paradise is lots of fun for everyone! Photo by Bob and Barb.

A visit to Paradise at Rainier can make for a perfect day of snowshoeing. There are a handful of official trails leading from the parking lot, but most kids (particularly those new to snowshoeing) are content to play and hike in the snow nearby, meaning you can stick close to the car in case you need dry clothes or a refuel.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide 

Maintenance Shed Road

Location: White Pass
7 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 400 feet
High Point: 4,700 feet

Maintenance Shed Road by AllOfUs.jpegPhoto by AllOfUs.

See big views of the South Cascades from a moderate trail off Highway 12. The trail here is a Forest Service Road that becomes snow-covered in winter. Take advantage of the wide, flat grade and hike as far as you like before taking a rest and heading back to your car.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Central Washington

Clara and Marion Lakes

Location: Wenatchee
3.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 900 feet
High Point: 5,475 feet

Clara and Marion Lakes by CiscoKitty.jpegEnjoying new snow at Clara and Marion Lakes. Photo by CiscoKitty.

The trail around Clara and Marion Lakes is short with a moderate grade; the perfect fit for families with children of all ages. Those with infants can carry them the whole way, while kids with their trail legs can challenge themselves by using snowshoes.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Northrup Canyon

Location: Grand Coulee
Mileage: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 384 feet
High Point: 2,134 feet

Northrup Canyon by InsaneCouleeExpeditions.jpegNorthrup Canyon is great place to enjoy a little snow without needing snowshoes. Photo by InsaneCouleeExpeditions.

You may not see a lot of snow here, but even a light dusting makes the walls of the canyon pop, putting the surrounding landscape in stark relief. Play I Spy with your youngster — can they spot the eagles that nest here in the winter?

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide


Staircase Rapids

Location: Hood Canal
Mileage: 4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 150 feet
Highest Point: 950 feet

Staircase by jalaugh.jpegThe Staircase Rapids trail is great for little ones just getting their hiking legs. Photo by jalaugh.

This is a lovely riverside hike most little hikers can do all by themselves. The trail is picturesque in all weather, so don't forget your camera. Trip reporters have said that having a helping hand is key in slippery spots, but most kids should be OK on this one by themselves.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Hurricane Hill

Location: Port Angeles area
Mileage: 3.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 650 feet
Highest Point:  5,757 feet
Note: The road to Hurricane Hill can be icy — traction tires or chains can be very useful, and sometimes are required.

Hurrican Hill by gclenaghan.jpegKids and adults alike will love what they see at Hurricane Hill. Photo by gclenaghan.

The views from Hurricane Ridge are some of the best to be had in Washington State. If your family is just getting into snowshoeing, take lunch at the large meadow 1.5 miles in. If you're ready for a little more of a challenge, continue past this and do some climbing to to summit — either way, you'll get incredible winter vistas.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

North Cascades

White Salmon Creek Snowshoe

Location: Mount Baker Area
Mileage: 10 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Highest Point: 2,400 feet

White Salmon Road Snowsnow. Photo by geezerhiker.jpegWhether you want to hike ten miles or just a couple, White Salmon Creek provides a great getaway for families. Photo by geezerhiker.

The White Salmon Creek Snowshoe offers something for everyone. With a wide track and gentle grade, this is a great choice for a group with varying abilities.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Baker River

Location: Mount Baker Area
Mileage: 5.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 300 feet
Highest Point: 900 feet

DSC_4435.jpgPhoto by Bob and Barb.

Walking along the Baker River is perfect for those who want to experience snow but don't have snowshoes. Because of its relative low elevation, this trail may boast a few inches in midwinter, but with a pair of long pants and good boots, even novice hikers can tackle this one.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Central Cascades

Gold Creek Pond

Location: Snoqualmie Pass
1 mile, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 10 feet
High Point: 3,000 feet

Gold Creek Pond by Daviddental.jpegGold Creek Pond is beautiful in any weather. Photo by Daviddental.

For a little outing with a lot of beauty, Gold Creek Pond is hard to beat. On a clear day, views north into the Cascades are breathtaking, and the loop is almost completely flat. Be sure to have your Sno-Park Pass, and get there early — this is a very popular location. A nearby (slightly longer) alternative is Keechelus Lake.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Lanham Lake Snowshoe

Location: Stevens Pass
Mileage: 3.2 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,100 feet
High Point: 4,100 feet

snow-covered Lanham Lake
Lanham Lake. Photo by Aaron Peabody. 

The trail up to Lanham Lake is a straightforward climb through trees, but you'll be rewarded with a delightful little lake and a burst of sunshine on a clear day.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Eastern Washington

Mount Spokane - Kit Carson Loop

Location: Spokane Area
Mileage: 13 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet
Highest Point: 5,220 feet

hut.jpegThe warming hut at Mount Spokane is a great destination for a family outing. Photo by Todd.

There are an abundance of trails at Mount Spokane, but the Kit Carson Loop Road takes visitors to a beautifully appointed warming hut, complete with log bench built by WTA's own Randy Greyerbiehl! It's a great destination for a short jaunt, or perhaps a longer day hike.

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide

Antoine Peak Conservation Area

Location: Spokane Area
9 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 732 feet
Highest Point: 3,366 feet

Antoine Peak by Kari_S.jpegEven dogs love the snow at Antoine Peak. Photo by Kari_S.

One of the best things about an intricate network of service roads is that when the snow falls, they become beautiful, wide trails, great for snowshoeing. Head here after a snowfall and you and your family might just get "first tracks".

> Plan your trip using WTA's Hiking Guide