When the weather turns cold in the winter, it’s time to head for the hills – er, mountains of Snoqualmie Pass. There’s no shortage of snowy fun just outside of Seattle. Take the Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail for example!
I’ll start by saying this: if you’re an experienced winter adventurer, the Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail probably isn’t for you. If you’re just getting started on snowshoes, or you simply want to stomp around in the snow, then this place is perfect. If this sounds like your type of adventure — here is a map to the trailhead. Depending on the driving conditions, it’s about an hour drive from Seattle.
The Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail is groomed and it’s mostly flat. It runs along the Iron Horse – John Wayne Pioneer Trail, which was formerly a rail line. There’s an avalanche shoot about two miles into the trail, and that’s where most people recommend you turn around, making it about four miles roundtrip. There’s a mere 200-foot elevation gain along the way, meaning anyone – from kids to grandparents – can handle this winter excursion.
Since the Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail is groomed, snowshoers aren’t the only ones out there. Cross country skiers also flock to the trail in the winter. There is an opportunity to separate from the skiers by branching off toward the lake (maybe a half mile into the trail). We highly suggest taking this route. It’s still mostly flat, but it makes it feel more like “real” snowshoeing.
NOTE: When snowshoeing on the groomed Keechelus Lake trail, please stay to the left and out of the cross-country skiing tracks. In other words, the groomed trail isn’t for snowshoes, it’s for cross-country skiers.
With that said, adventuring on Keechelus Lake snowshoeing trail comes at a cost. You are required to park in the Lake Easton State Park Sno-Park (where the Snoqualmie Pass sledding hill is). That means you need a Discover Pass and a Sno-Park Pass with the groomed trails sticker. If you don’t possess either, you’ll have to fork over $31.50 ($11.50 for the Discover Pass one-day pass (buy online) and $20 for day use of the groomed trail (buy online)). It’s even more expensive if you choose the annual options for each pass. You can easily purchase these passes when you enter the parking lot.
Have you ever hit the Keechelus Lake snowshoe trail? How was your experience? We’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Don’t forget to also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to visit around the Emerald City!