Outdoor winter fun — no snow needed
Drive up to any pass during a Pacific Northwest winter and you’ll see powder hounds making tracks. But here’s a secret: Not all of us are crazy about snow! Not to worry — while our peaks are shrouded in white, lower elevations host miles of hiking trails perfect for an alternative, snow-free winter wonderland.
Why hike in winter? Plenty of rain, for starters — our temperate rain forests come to life when the sun is tucked away. Some wild creatures are more active in winter, and others are simply easier to spot among leafless branches. Plus, many trails offer solitude during the off-season.
Be sure to check trail conditions with the local ranger station and consult the recent hiker trip reports at the Washington Trails Association. Remember that it gets dark early, so turn around with plenty of time to make it back to your car in daylight. Dress the whole family in warm, water-wicking layers under rain gear, plus hats, gloves and scarves. Expect rocks to be slippery and trails to be muddy; waterproof boots are a must.
Now, hurry off to hike these kid-friendly trails, perfect for our wet winters!
Editor's note: Some federally run areas may be affected by the current government shutdown. Check conditions before heading out.