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Delightful with a Dusting: 9 Trails Worth a Winter Hike

There's nothing quite as magical as experiencing your favorite summer hikes when they're covered in a dusting of snow. Winter hiking is a great chance to see some of your beloved trails in a whole new light.

There's nothing quite as magical as experiencing your favorite summer hikes when they're covered in a dusting of snow. Instead of spending the cold months dreaming of summer trips, make those trips a reality, in any season.

'Off-season' hiking is a great chance to see some of your beloved trails in a whole new light—and likely with a lot fewer people. So, bundle up, grab a thermos, and don't let the winter weather dampen your itch for adventure.

Cedar and Pine LAkes

Location: Bellingham Area
Length: 5.0 miles roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1400 feet

A perfect amount of snow blanketing the shores at Cedar and Pine Lakes. Photo by j brink.

With two small lakes and numerous branching trails that sport views to Mount Baker and the Puget Sound, this moderate trail through shady forest can be hiked or backpacked year round. If you decide to head up in the 'off' season, you may be rewarded with an added layer of lovely on the surrounding trees.

> Plan your visit to Cedar and Pine Lakes

Heybrook ridge

Location: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass
Length: 3.4 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 760 feet

The view of Mount Persis from Heybrook Ridge. Photo by j brink.

The trailhead to Heybrook Ridge is at a low enough elevation that you may not be drudging through snow on most of the hike, but the mountain views at the top are even better with a fresh blanket of powder. An added bonus—the whole trail is less than three and a half miles and gains less than 800 feet of elevation, making this a great choice for the whole family.

> Plan your visit to Heybrook Ridge

Beckler peak

Location: Central Cascades -- Stevens Pass
Length: 7.6 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2240 feet

Photo by thenomadicartist.

If you prefer more than a light dusting of snow, Beckler Peak may be a contender for you. If you're up for the climb, you'll be rewarded with views of Glacier Peak, Evergreen Mountain and the Monte Cristo range to the north and Mount Baring and Index to the west. Mounts Daniel and Hinman with their broad glaciers as well as the striking Summit Chief, Chimney Rock and other jagged peaks are proudly displayed.

> Plan your visit to Beckler Peak

Green Mountain - Gold Creek Trail

Location: Kitsap Peninsula
Length: 5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1000 feet

Photo by Drew B.

The trails around Green Mountain are close enough to the city for the perfect post-work leg stretcher. If you've got time to do it in the daylight and there's a fresh blanket of snow, you won't want to miss this trail.

> Plan your visit to Green Mountain - Gold Creek Trai

ForT flager state park

Location: Olympic Peninsula -- Hood Canal
Length: 5.0 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 150 feet

Photo by austineats.

Fort Flagler State Park is one of five impressive military installations that were established in close proximity to protect Puget Sound from invaders during times of war. Although snow may be a rare sighting at Fort Flager, this beach walk still pretty satisfying without.

> Plan your visit to Fort Flagler State Park

Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

Location: Southwest Washington -- Columbia River Gorge
Length: 3.8 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 850 feet

Photo by rosemarylp.

The Maui Loop is more of an adventure than a hike. You get to go up, over and around mogul-like mounds peppered with volcanic rock, explore the upper rim of Coyote Wall, and descend an open slope with uninterrupted views of the Colombia River Gorge. Be wary of ice on this one--you may want to bring your microspikes. 

> Plan your visit to Coyote Wall - Moab/Maui Loop

Chelan Butte

Location: Central Cascades -- Entiat Mountains/Lake Chelan
Distance: 7.46 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 2500 feet

Photo by dawnloveshiking.

These rolling hills just beyond Lake Chelan give an impressive view of the mountains beyond. During the winter months, the area becomes stunning, as the landscape becomes even more dramatic with snow falling all the way down to the lake. 

> Plan your visit to Chelan Butte

Badger Mountain - Canyon Trail

Location: Central Washington -- Tri-Cities
Length: 3.25 miles, roundtrip
Elevation Gain: 1195 feet

Photo by Frood_D_Poof.

This mountain just outside of Richland is a nice place for locals and visitors to recreate. Views extend in every direction and include mountains, fields, and cityscapes. In the winter, the trails around Badger give you the feeling of surreal tundra, only 30 minutes from home.

> Plan your visit to Badger Mountain - Canyon Trail

Mount Spokane State Park - Summit Route

Location: Eastern Washington -- Spokane Area/Coeur d'Alene
Length: 4.0 miles, roundtrip

Photo by missroselouise.

Spokane State Park is popular all year long, but this winter-only route from Bald Knob campground looks extra lovely with a heaping of powder. Once on the summit, snowshoers are welcome to hike to the access point near the top of chair one, crossing at the gate, in order to visit the 1934 Vista House. The ski area operates a winter-only weekend concession stand inside, so get a cup of hot cocoa & relax by the fireplace before retracing one's steps or opting for more exploring on the park's extensive trail system.

> Plan your visit to Mount Spokane State Park - Summit Route