5 trails to keep you hiking even in winter

  • By Jessi Loerch
  • Friday, December 6, 2013 3:10pm
  • Life

The snow is piling up in the mountains, but that’s no reason to leave your hiking boots in the closet for the winter.

Craig Romano, a guidebook author and expert on the trails of Washington, recommends five hikes for winter adventures.

These trails should be hikeable all year, except in extreme weather. Romano also shares his tips for making sure you have a safe, fun trip.

Boulder River Trail

Spectacular hike into the Boulder River Wilderness with lots of big old trees and dramatic waterfalls that fall from steep canyon walls. Winter and spring are best for this hike with heavy rains fueling the waterfalls.

Where: Off of Highway 530, turn south on Forest Road 2010 near milepost 41, trailhead is 3.7 miles ahead.

Ebey’s Landing

One of the best coastal hikes in the state and it sits in the Olympic rain shadow. You can often dodge the winter rains while enjoying a hike on towering bluffs and along a wild, undeveloped shoreline. Bird watching is exceptional here.

Where: From Coupeville on Whidbey Island, head north on Highway 20, turn left on Sherman Road. Turn right on Cook Road. Trailhead is 0.3 miles ahead.

Bob Heirman Wildlife Preserve at Thomas’ Eddy

Nice family-friendly hike to oxbow ponds on the Snohomish River flood plain. Wonderful place for seeing wintering swans and other migrating birds.

Where: 14913 Connelly Road, Snohomish.

Index Town Wall

A good little workout to high ledges (use extreme caution) with jaw-dropping views of the Forks of the Skykomish River below and the snowy, craggy cloud-probing peaks of the Wild Sky Wilderness across the valley.

Where: From Index, head west on Index Avenue, follow the road as it becomes Second Street. Turn right on Avenue A. Trailhead is 0.6 miles ahead.

Old Sauk Trail

Nice, easy family friendly hike through old growth along the Sauk River. Excellent place to see wintering eagles thanks to winter salmon runs.

Where: On Mountain Loop Highway, 3.5 miles south of junction with Highway 530.

Tips for happy, safe hiking

  • Dress properly but don’t over dress. Layers work best so you can add and take off clothing as you warm up and cool down.
  • Always pack rain gear and sunglasses; glare can be intense off snow and wet, glistening surfaces.
  • Stay hydrated. It is easy to become dehydrated in cold weather. Be sure to keep taking fluids.
  • Plan ahead with the short daylight hours in mind. Get an early start.
  • Check weather forecasts and avoid trails in heavy rainfalls and strong winds.
  • Check on road and trail conditions before heading out as washouts and windfall are frequent in the winter months.
  • Always leave your itinerary with someone back home so if you don’t return, folks know where to look for you.
  • Pack extra food just in case your hike takes longer than anticipated.

Craig Romano

Craig Romano lives in Skagit County. He has traveled extensively and is an avid hiker, running, kayaker and cyclist. He is the author of many hiking books, including “Day Hiking Central Cascades,” “Day Hiking North Cascades” and “Winter Hikes of Western Washington.” His website is CraigRomano.com.

More in Life

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Slow-roasted vegetables make sumptuous sauce for pasta

Make the basic but good spaghetti with red sauce blissfully better with this recipe.

Mocking meatloaf: One man’s loaf is another man’s poison

Some don’t like it and some do. Here are six meatloaf recipes to try.

Roasted Brussels sprouts can be the apple of picky eater’s eye

Toasted sesame seeds and diced apple add flavors that compliment the sprouts’ earthiness.

Arlington eagle fest wants your nature-themed artwork, haiku

Local residents of an artistic bent are invited to submit… Continue reading

Hau Tran sings as Vietnamese seniors eat at Homage’s Center for Healthy Living on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018 in Lynnwood, Wa. Each weekday the center offers its room for various cultures to get together for activities and lunch while speaking their native languages. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Seniors of four cultures gather for food, fitness and fun

Homage’s Center for Healthy Living offers a venue for programs in the seniors’ native languages.

Ethnic communities eagerly await Lunar New Year on Feb. 16

By Homage Senior Services Ethnic communities around the world are getting eager… Continue reading

Kia Rio subcompact takes a classy step up in 2018

A new design, roomier cabin, and better fuel economy are among the improvements on the 2018 Kia Rio.

What’s new for 2018 for travelers in Scandinavia

Sweden, Norway and Finland have embarked on many urban, cultural and transit projects.

Most Read