With Three Fingers Mountain in the background, Hap Wertheimer cross-country skis at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett. (Olivia Vanni/Herald file)

With Three Fingers Mountain in the background, Hap Wertheimer cross-country skis at Legion Memorial Golf Course in Everett. (Olivia Vanni/Herald file)

7 places to play in the snow that aren’t too far from home

You’ve got your choice of winter recreation in the Cascade Range — and not just at Stevens Pass.

Sure, it’s not Colorado, but winter adventures abound in our own back yard.

You can strap on snowshoes for a trek through a snow-covered forest. Or you may prefer the adrenaline rush of jumping on a tube and zooming down a hill.

You’ve got your choice of winter recreation in the Cascade Range — and not just at Stevens Pass, where you also can go skiing and snowboarding — or just make snow angels.

The mountain resort, 70 miles east of Everett, averages 460 inches of snowfall per year. Its 1,125 acres of terrain boasts 37 runs and 10 chairlifts.

Here are six other places close to home to play in the snow.

Skyline Lake Trail

This trail is a short but rewarding snowshoe experience. The 3-mile trail across from Stevens Pass Mountain Resort offers expansive views, deep snow and wildlife encounters with limited avalanche risk.

You’ll find the 1,100-foot climb moderately challenging, though it doesn’t require much technical skill. Skyline Lake, at 5,092 feet, is a popular winter camping destination. The lake, typically covered with a thin layer of ice in winter, is not suitable for crossing.

After the lake, the trail continues to Heather Ridge at 5,100 feet. There, you’ll enjoy vistas of the Alpine Lake and Glacier Peak wildernesses, Glacier Peak and Mount McCausland. Boulders the size of houses are also near the lookout.

The trail is typically well-worn. Stay on course for the safest, most enjoyable trek. Rent snowshoes and poles from REI.

Getting there: The Skyline Lake Trail can be found in the northern parking lot of Stevens Pass. No parking pass required.

Don Sarver (left) and Kyle James snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail near Stevens Pass Mountain Resort. (Olivia Vanni/Herald file)

Don Sarver (left) and Kyle James snowshoe on the Skyline Lake Trail near Stevens Pass Mountain Resort. (Olivia Vanni/Herald file)

Deer Creek/ Kelcema Lake

Deer Creek Road off the Mountain Loop Highway is another popular winter recreation spot. The road typically closes between December and February, giving cross-country skiers and snowshoers the chance to explore silent forest landscapes, admire surrounding peaks and catch glimpses of wildlife.

The 10-mile Deer Creek/Kelcema Lake ski route begins at the winter road closure gate, meanders through thick forest, then opens to a sight of Bald Mountain farther up the valley. Later on, there are views of Devils, Sperry and Vesper peaks, and Big Four Mountain.

It’s common to see animal tracks along the way: rabbits, squirrels, cougars, bobcats and birds such as chickadees, winter wrens and stellar jays.

Getting there: The route begins at Deer Creek Road No. 4052, 23 miles east of Granite Falls, and 12 miles east of the Verlot Public Service Center.

Summit Tubing Park

The Summit at Snoqualmie’s tubing center, just off I-90 at exit 53, is great for those looking for carefree, fast-paced fun. It typically opens for the season in early to mid-December and closes in April, depending on the weather.

Summit Tubing Park has more than 20 lanes of groomed snow on gently sloped hills 40 feet high and 500 feet long. The cost of admission includes a tube. Leave your sleds and tubes at home — they’re not allowed.

Walk up the hill or take a lift to the top for another go. Riding double is OK for all ages, but kids 5 and younger must pair up with an adult.

Sessions last two hours. Cost is $26 for adults (13 and older), $24 for youth (6-12) and $8 for children (0-5). Buy tickets online at www.summitatsnoqualmie.com/snow-tubing.

Getting there: Summit Tubing Park is across the street from Summit Central, 1641 Highway 906, Snoqualmie Pass.

Making a snow angel brings a joyful smile to the face of Kaylee Williams, 3. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)

Making a snow angel brings a joyful smile to the face of Kaylee Williams, 3. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)

Stevens Pass Nordic Center

The center, just east of Stevens Pass, offers about 17 miles of trails for cross-country skiers, snowshoers and skate skiers.

Groomed trails and snowshoe routes criss-cross the Mill Valley area, which features alpine scenery, creeks and forest along the bottom of Jim Hill Mountain. Some routes lead to the biathlon range, the site for competitions that combine cross-country skiing with rifle marksmanship.

In addition to rental gear, Stevens Pass Nordic Center also offers private skiing lessons.

A Stevens Pass trail pass is required, which can be purchased at the center. For rates and more, go to www.stevenspass.com/plan-your-trip/more-options/nordic-center.aspx.

Getting there: Continue east on U.S. 2 after Stevens Pass for 5 miles.

The Stevens Pass Nordic Center attracts serious winter-sports athletes, such as biathlon racer Dave Anana. (Jennifer Buchanan/Herald file)

The Stevens Pass Nordic Center attracts serious winter-sports athletes, such as biathlon racer Dave Anana. (Jennifer Buchanan/Herald file)

Finney Creek-Segelson Sno-Park

The park, northwest of Darrington, features 63 miles of groomed trails for snowmobiling.

The winter recreation trail system is located in the heart of the Cascades and leads you through scenic forest corridors. See Little Deer Creek, Finney Peak and Round Mountain, among others.

In addition to tire chains, it’s recommended you bring avalanche rescue gear, a survival kit and a blanket, as well as extra clothing, food and water. Be prepared for changing weather and road conditions.

Getting there: From Darrington, drive west about 5 miles to Swede Heaven Road, then drive 1.5 miles to Forest Service Road 18. The parking lot and trailhead are about 1 mile away.

Kellie Alleman helps her son Camden Alleman as he learns to skate with a walker at the Everett Community Ice Rink. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Kellie Alleman helps her son Camden Alleman as he learns to skate with a walker at the Everett Community Ice Rink. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Ice skating in Everett and Lynnwood

OK, this isn’t snow. But we’d be remiss if we failed to mention that Snohomish County has two ice skating rinks open year-round: Lynnwood Ice Center and the Everett Community Ice Rink.

Both are open to all skill levels and offer learn-to-skate classes. The rinks also have assistance devices, called walkers, which help with balance.

Everett Community Ice Rink’s costs are $6 admission, $4 skate rental, $4.50 children 5 and younger and includes skate rental. Lynnwood Ice Center’s rates are $7 general admission, $6.50 seniors and those 12 and younger; skate rental $4.

Bundle up on the ice. It’s recommended that you wear long socks and cloth mittens or gloves. Bring helmets, knee pads and elbow pads to avoid injury. No scarves or shorts allowed on the rink.

Getting there: Lynnwood Ice Center is at 19803 68th Ave. W., Lynnwood. Everett Community Ice Rink is at 2000 Hewitt Ave., Everett.

Washington North Coast Magazine

This article is featured in the winter issue of Washington North Coast Magazine, a supplement of The Daily Herald. Explore Snohomish and Island counties with each quarterly magazine. Each issue is $3.99. Subscribe to receive all four editions for $14 per year. Call 425-339-3200 or go to www.washingtonnorthcoast.com for more information.

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