When it gets cold, most people stay bundled up indoors and don't think to go outside. Especially during the winter, getting out and being in nature is extremely beneficial to a person's wellness.
Becky Lomax is a travel writer and backpacking guide. She stopped by New Day Northwest to talk about great Washington hikes you can do this winter and how to prepare for them.
Best picture-perfect hike and great places to take a selfie:
North Cascades National Park: For the best colors, go for a drive on a sunny winter day to Diablo Lake Overlook. The photo backdrop will be the blue-green Diablo Lake and snowy peaks.
Mount Rainier National Park: When most north side roads are closed in winter, drive to Crystal Mountain Resort just outside the park and take the Mount Rainier Gondola to the summit for lunch in the Summit House. You can nab selfies from the top-of-the-world perch on the edge of the park with Mount Rainier in the background.
Olympic National Park: Snowshoe from Hurricane Ridge up Hurricane Hill (3.2 mi rt) for selfies in front of the Straits of Juan de Fuca. To the north and snow-covered peaks of the park to the south.
Best place off the beaten path:
Olympic National Park: Ruby Beach and Kalaloch are super crowded during the summer. However, during the winter, you can bundle up for a saunter on the beach with no crowds. It can also be fun to experience the beach during storms.
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, part of North Cascades National Park: For a remote quiet winter adventure, take the Lady of the Lake boat up Lake Chelan to Stehekin. Spend a few nights in a cabin and cross-country ski or snowshoe.
Best family adventure:
Go to the sledding and sliding down snow play zones at Paradise in Mount Rainier National Park, or to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. You can also join ranger-led snowshoe walks in both locations and both locations also have closed snow-covered roads for cross-country skiing. Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park also has two rope tows and a poma for downhill skiing and snowboarding.
Best short hike for winter:
North Cascades National Park: Walk one-mile through the Trail of the Cedars to stand below 1000-yr-old trees.
Olympic National Park: Explore the Hoh Rainforest on the 0.8 mile, on the Hall of Mosses Trail. This goes beneath huge firs and maples dripping with moss.
Mount Rainier: The most scenic winter hike is snowshoeing up the Skyline Trail to Panorama Point (4 mi rt) for huge views of the mountain. (You can even go part way for views).
Here are some tips for preparing for visiting Washington's national parks in the winter:
- Wear warm layers, hat, mittens, and snow boots for snow zones.
- Also wear rain gear and hiking boots for low elevations.
- Check to see if visitor centers are open as some close in winter; and get weather and road reports before you go.
- Take water, lunch, and snacks and top your trip off with hot chocolate in a thermos.