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Ten Trails to Hike, Snowshoe and Ski Presidents Day Weekend

Posted by Loren Drummond at Feb 12, 2013 02:10 PM |
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A long weekend in winter is the perfect time to get outside and stretch your legs. Wildflowers are still a month or two away, but stunning views, wildlife and overnight adventures can be found across the state this Presidents Day weekend.

A long weekend in winter is the perfect time to get outside and stretch your legs. Wildflowers are still a month or two away, but stunning views, wildlife and your first camping adventures of the year can be found across the state this Presidents Day weekend. Check out our ideas below, or comb through recent Trip Reports for more inspiration.

Eastern Washington hiking

Umtanum Creek Canyon - 6-mile roundtrip
South of Ellensburg, this trail starts with a suspension bridge over the Yakima River and winds up a canyon. The creek is a big draw for wildlife, including a resident herd of big horn sheep. Keep your eyes on Umtanum Creek for beavers sign. The trail is pretty well-maintained for the first few miles but becomes brushy thereafter. It also crisscrosses the creek several times, so you may opt to turn back at this point plan your winter overnight here.
>>Hike Umtanum Creek Canyon

Northrup Canyon winter
Northrup Canyon in winter. Photo by Kim Brown
Northrup Canyon - 3-mile roundtrip Northrup Canyon is an excellent winter choice for a long weekend. Located in the Grand Coulee, you will delight in the silvery sagebrush, golden grasses and scarlet red osier. It's also a winter oasis for some 200 bald eagles. Throw in a picturesque canyon and a cool old cabin and you have a great little hike.
>>Hike Northrup Canyon
  • Nearby camping and hikesSteamboat Rock State Park isn't far from Northrup Canyon and features several great bonus hikes where you can explore the incredible geology of Ice Age floods. In the park, the Dune and Bay campgrounds are open on a first-come first-served basis during winter. Water at individual campsites is shut off in winter.

White Bluffs - North Slope - 4 mile roundtrip
It's too early to hope for wildflowers, but if the sun is shining, this Tri-Cities-area hike is the perfect place to find some solitude and birds. As you hike among the dunes and enjoy the beauty of big open skies, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife tracks in the sand.
>> Hike White Bluffs North Slope

Coastal and island-hopping hikes

Shi-Shi Beach and Point of the Arches - 8 mile roundtrip

Shi Shi Beach
Point of Arches at sunset from Shi Shi Beach. Photo by Carlos Maxwell.
There is something special about this hike down to Shi-Shi Beach and then on to the sea stacks in winter. Seasonal tides add a sense of adventure (and require a bit more caution). If you plan to overnight, there are some well-established campsites at Petroleum Creek, but be sure to camp well back from the beach itself; the tides often come all the way up to the bluff. All hikers and campers should carry tide tables to avoid untimely scrambles up the bluff and into the brush.
>> Hike Shi-Shi
  • Nearby camping in Olympic National Park - If you want to spend more than a day exploring the Olympic coast, you can try for a spot at Kalaloch, Hoh and Mora campgrounds. Most campsites are first-come, first-served. (Note: leashed pets are permitted in campgrounds, picnic areas and parking lots, but are not allowed on National Park trails.)

Fidalgo Head Loop - 4 miles roundtrip
Before or after you catch a ferry to the San Juan Islands from Anacordes, explore Fidalgo Head Loop, an easy hike in the city's Washington Park that can be done year-round, with spectacular wildlife viewing as well as panoramas of the San Juan Islands.
>>Hike Fidalgo Head Loop

Wonderful island hike options range from 3.5 mile Mount Finlayson on Friday Harbor to the classic climb up Mount Constitution in Moran State Park on Orcas Island.

Two classic snowshoes in national parks

Mazama Ridge in Mount Rainier National Park - 6 mile roundtrip
A favorite with snowshoers, and for good reason. This trail starts at the Paradise visitor center, following the Stevens Canyon Road - and if you're lucky enough to have a clear day, views of the mountain are stupendous. Depending on conditions, avalanche danger is moderate on the climb to the ridge, but otherwise low. Check out recent Trip Reports for an idea of what to expect. 
>> Snowshoe Mazama Ridge

Hurricane Hill in Olympic National Park - 6 mile roundtrip

Hurricane Hill snowshoe sq
Friends enjoy a snowshoe atop Hurricane Hill in the Olympics. Photo by Nutmeg.
If the weather cooperates, this snowshoe will show you the beauty of Olympic National Park in an entirely new light. This snowshoe can be a true wonderland with panoramic views, but depending on conditions, can have also feature moderate avalanche danger in places. 
>> Snowshoe Hurricane Hill

Looking for some beginning snowshoe adventures? Try Artist Point, Gold Creek or one of these other great snowshoe trails.

Cross-country ski statewide

Methow Valley - The Methow Valley is a Mecca for Nordic skiers. The trail system is divided into four areas: the Methow Valley Community Trail system (30K), the Sun Mountain trail system (54K), the Mazama Trails (33K) and the Rendezvous Trails (48K). Catch the Tour of the Methow on February 16.
>> Visit for more information

Chelan-Leavenworth - The Echo Ridge Nordic area boasts more than 25 miles of groomed trails. The trail system is operated by the Chelan Ranger District with the Lake Chelan Nordic Ski Club; Sno-Park permits and NW Forest Passes are not honored here. Stop by the ski yurt on Saturdays in February for complimentary soup, thanks to the ski club.
>> Visit for more information

Spokane - This trail system offers 23 miles of doubletrack with a skating deck. The ski club is offering a new series of Nordic ski lessons (both classic and skate), and will continue to host the popular Nordic Kids program.
>> Visit for more information

More ideas for the long weekend

  • If you didn't see the hike for you above, check out these eleven great winter hikes featuring waterfalls, beach views, birds and more. >> Eleven great winter hikes

WTA Communications Director Susan Elderkin and WTA Regional Correspondent also Holly Weiler contributed to this post.