Snow’s coming; find a guided snowshoe trip

Thanks to some colder, wetter weather, the mountains are finally seeing some snow. The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest has updated its dates and times for its snowshoe walks. They have added a Sunday walk to Stevens Pass.

No experience is necessary to go on these trips. Wear warm layers, waterproof shoes or boots, hats and gloves. Donations are suggested to help cover the cost of the programs.

STEVENS PASS

Make reservations at 360-677-2414. Guided snowshoe walks are every Saturday and Sunday through March 1. Trips for special events and school groups can also be scheduled. Meet at the Forest Service Guard Station by Parking Lot A at Stevens Pass. Sultan Shuttle offers transportation from Sultan to the resort. Check here for fees and schedules for the shuttle. A donation is suggested of $15 for adults and $10 for youth 16 and under.

Junior Snow Ranger

  • Saturdays and Sundays through March 1
  • 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

Trek with a Ranger

  • Saturdays and Sundays through March 1
  • 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Learn about the winter ecosystem, wildlife and safety on this 90-minute guided nature tour along the Pacific Crest Trail.
  • Maximum group size 20

DARRINGTON RANGER DISTRICT

Make reservations by calling Darrington Ranger District at 360-436-1155. Meet at Verlot Public Service Center, 11 miles east of Granite Falls on the Mountain Loop Highway, for orientation. Groups will leave from there to Deer Creek and begin the 4-mile, approximately five-hour round-trip snowshoe hike to the Big 4 picnic shelter. Participants should be age 16 or older and in good shape. Snowshoes are provided. A $20 donation is suggested. Reservations are required

Big Four Ice Cave Snowshoe Walk

  • Through March 2, weekends, 8:30 a.m to 2 p.m.
  • A great opportunity for those who have never used snowshoes before or anyone interested in learning about the amazing ecology and human history of this low-elevation winter wonderland. Pack a lunch and bring an insulated mug of hot chocolate for the Big 4 picnic shelter where we can listen for the crack of avalanches cascading off the massive face of Big 4.
  • Maximum group size: 20

SNOQUALMIE PASS

Make reservations at 425-434-6111. Trips for special events and school groups can be scheduled. Meet 15 minutes before your scheduled walk at the Snoqualmie Pass Visitors Center off I-90, exit 52. Office hours are Thursday to Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. A donation is suggested of $15 for adults, $10 for youth 16 and under, and $25 per person for the half-day hikes and photography outings. Reservations are required for all programs.

90-Minute Trek

  • Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.
  • Learn about the winter ecosystem, wildlife and safety on this one-mile loop walk through opulent old-growth forest.
  • Group size: 20

Extended Hikes

  • Friday, Saturday, Sunday, 9 a.m.
  • Experience Commonwealth Basin in the winter surrounded by the Cascade crest peaks. Bring a lunch, a well-stocked day pack, extra clothing and water; you will be out from about 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Winter Photography Outings

  • Feb. 15 and March 1, 15, 29: 9:30 a.m.
  • Geared for photography enthusiasts of all abilities. Commonwealth Creek offers intriguing image possibilities with ice falls, cool vapors and swirling dark waters. Your guide will discuss light, composition and exposure. Bring lunch; this outing lasts four to five hours.

Kids in the Snow

  • Saturdays, 1 p.m.
  • Earn a Junior Ranger Snow membership and badge. Learn about winter tracking, how plants and animals survive through the winter and check out some hearty winter critters on this approximately 90-minute walk.

Avalanche Awareness Walks

  • Feb. 8, 22 and March 8, 22.
  • Join the Northwest Avalanche Center and the Forest Service for snowshoe walks where the focus is entirely Avalanche Awareness. Professionals from the Northwest Avalanche Center will be leading and presenting these walks this winter. Call for more details.

MT. BAKER RANGER DISTRICT

Make reservations at 360-599-9572, weekends 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or email mwidner@fs.fed.us. Meet at the Glacier Public Service Center, milepost 34, Mount Baker Hwy., State Route 542. Groups will leave from there to the snowshoe walk location along the Hannegan Road, Heather Meadows or another setting in the Mount Baker District area. A donation is suggested of $15 for adults and $10 for youths 16 and under. Reservations are required.

Ranger Guided Snowshoe Walk

  • Fridays: 10 a.m. Feb. 7, 14, 21
  • Sundays: 10 a.m. Feb. 23, March 2, 9, 16
  • Maximum group size: 15

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