For a nice location in the Central Cascades, try the Palouse to Cascades Trail along the western shore of Lake Keechelus. It can be hiked in any season but is a treat for new snowshoers during the winter, especially if it has been recently groomed. Because of its easy accessibility, it can often get crowded on nicer days.
From the Sno-Park, head south on the trail towards the lake (You will need a Sno-Park permit to park here in the winter). The trail is the former route of the Milwaukee Railroad, so it’s generally level and smooth. Take care to stick to the outer edges of the trail to avoid treading on the groomed ski tracks.
Views along the way are forest on the uphill side and open on the lakeshore side, with a great outlook over the frozen lake and up to Rampart and Keechelus Ridges. At 2 miles you’ll come to the base of a large avalanche chute. This makes a good turnaround point.
Palouse to Cascades Trail - Lake Keechelus
- 4.0 miles, roundtrip
- Elevation Gain
- 200 feet
- Highest Point
- 2500 feet