Snow, snow, snow… no –  Seattle is not known for snow, but the Cascade Mountain range is home to many great snow parks and trails (Sno-parks). These locations are awesome places for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, and more. It’s also fun for any weekend adventurer looking for some fresh air and exercise in the winter months. There are multiple Sno-Parks within a 2-3 hour drive of Seattle with a wide range of activities and difficulty levels. What snow adventure is complete without a stop for tummy-warming food and drinks?  Read below for our 5 favorite Sno-parks and restaurant pairings.

Parking Passes are Required!

Parking passes are required at all Sno-Park locations. Per day, the pass costs $25 per vehicle. A $5 transaction fee applies to online purchases and is non-refundable. If you are planning on visiting multiple parks or multiple days, you may be able to save by purchasing a multi-day pass for $50 that is valid all year long. Another consideration is that if you plan on going to parks that have groomed trails (cross-country skiers we’re talking to you!) you will want to pay the extra $70 for the seasonal special groomed pass ($120 total for the season).  If you are trying out winter activities for the first time, we recommend you get a day pass that covers all of the parks.  Although some Sno-Parks allow you to pay at the park gate or at a self-service pay station, we recommend you purchase online.  Sno-Parks are popular with everyone, including those issuing parking tickets.


Hyak Sno-Park

Post-Activity Pairing:  North Bend Bakery – 127 W North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045.  We love picking up their savory croissants and chai lattes to enjoy on the drive back home.

Hyak Sno-Park is the most popular Sno-Park for Seattleites due to it’s location and number of activities you can enjoy. The Hyak Sno-Park is in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, located east of Seattle. Plan on getting there before 9am.  Interstate signs will indicate if the parking lot is full.  This park is perfect for those looking to try a new winter activity as the most of the trails are easy to moderate in difficulty.  There are two sledding hills, so grab your sled or an oversized baking sheet and get your sled on! Added bonus: There’s also a warming shelter with restrooms.


Gold Creek

Post-Activity Pairing:  UnPhogettable – 458 SW Mt Si Blvd, B5 North Bend, WA 98045.  We love the steak pho when warming up at the restaurant, but will gladly eat a Bahn Mi if grabbing it for the drive back.

Gold Creek Sno-Park makes a great alternative to Hyak.  Parking is restricted to the north side of Frontage Road, but those that are patient will usually find a spot.  Do not park on the other side; you will more than likely get fined.  While Gold Creek doesn’t have groomed ski trails or sledding hills, this area gets a lot of snow, so it is perfect for building a snowman or going traversing the lake on snowshoes.   The terrain is mostly flat with some hills so it’s suitable for beginners too! Be aware that there are only porta-potties available, thankfully, the smell is controlled by the cold!


Cabin Creek

Post-Activity Pairing:  The Attic (Salish Lodge) 6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065. This is the only moderately priced establishment on this post, but come as you are (yes, even post skiing) and enjoy views of Snoqualmie Falls while eating Attic Nachos!

The Cabin Creek Sno-Park is where I first tried out Nordic skiing.  The groomed path along the road provides beginners space to perfect their strides and allows more seasoned skiers the chance to warm up. Once you’re feeling good, the trails are well-marked and seem intuitive for skier progression. The Berg course kept us entertained for the morning, before we added in the Viking course.  Note:  Porta-Potties are in the parking lot, so go before you cross the bridge.


Lake Wenatchee Sno-Park

Post-Activity Pairing:  Munchen Haus– 709 Front Street Leavenworth, WA.  Most places in Leavenworth won’t disappoint, but the Munchen Haus’s brats, along with their variety of ‘krauts and mustards, make this a top choice!

Lake Wenatchee Sno-Park is located at the end of a two-mile access road off of Highway 2 near Leavenworth, WA. It’s about an hour and a half hour drive from Seattle and offers great skiing conditions for both beginners and advanced skiers alike. Lake Wenatchee sno-park is divided into two sections which have several miles of groomed trails that range from beginner to expert-level slopes.  The south side has hills for sledding and tubing, along with overnight sites for those looking to try winter camping!

Marble Mountain

Post-Activity Pairing:  Lone Fir Resort 16806 Lewis River Rd, Cougar, WA 98616. Few options within 30 minutes.  Surprisingly this place serves a delicious pizza! Check hours before you go.

Marble Mountain Sno-park is located 13 miles east of Cougar, WA.  We highly recommend checking conditions prior to trekking out here, as snow conditions can and will surprise you. Our family had to hike 1 mile in before enjoying some mild sledding.  Usually, the snowbanks from the plows build up small hills to have fun building snow-people and sledding.  A big plus; at the parking lot, there are restrooms you can use before fully suiting up for the snow. 

What to Bring to a Sno-Park in Seattle

  • Waterproof outerwear – You need to stay warm and dry in order to have fun on at the sno-parks. Pack durable, waterproof outerwear (think ski jacket and pants). Burton and Helly Hansen are famous ski brands for having best-in-class clothing that will keep you warm in the coldest, snowiest conditions. Click here to shop ski jackets and compare prices.
  • Thermal layers – Recommend you bring an extra set for layering or replacing layers. The best kinds of thermal base layers are made of Merino wool, which is moisture-wicking and comfortable. Our favorite brand of thermal layers is SmartWool – their tops and leggings are soft, and lightweight but warm and durable for sno-park activity. Click here to shop thermal tops and leggings and compare prices.
  • Hat and Gloves – Check out our ski gloves article on our recommendations for warm hands! For hats, it might be a bit much for some, but we love OR’s Tundra Aerogel Balaclava.
  • Sled – Cause you never know when there will be a hill calling your name! For a last minute, low space requirement sled, consider a snow saucer!
  • Hot Cocoa Set Up – Make some coffee, hot cocoa, or tea for you and your buddies with the Jetboil Flash Java Kit!

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