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

Hundreds of ways to pamper your home and yourself

Find fancy fridges to sparkling jewelry under one roof at home and gift shows in Everett.

Get tricked out in your Halloween best

Thrift stores can dress up you and your ghoul-friends.

Living with Children: Shift in paradigm derailed child-rearing

By John Rosemond / Tribune News Service I am sometimes asked if… Continue reading

Fox renewed O’Reilly contract despite knowing of allegations

21st Century Fox defends its decision because it said O’Reilly had settled the matter personally.

Outdoor classes and activities in and around Snohomish County

Cycling: Bill Thorness, ride leader for Cascade Bicycle Club, will speak on… Continue reading

Self-esteem is important, and it’s not the same as net worth

Having it all doesn’t necessarily bring happiness. Self-worth is the most important kind of wealth.

The art and science of weathervanes

They told the direction of the wind and aided in forecasting the, well, weather.

Most Read