Hooray for playing in the snow! In response to the popularity of Sno-Parks in the Cascade Mountains, Washington State Parks has opened a new Sno-Park, and this one is quite convenient for Seattle-area families.
The new Annette Lake Sno-Park is located at the Annette Lake trailhead along Interstate 90, near Exit 47. This spot is on the west side of Snoqualmie Pass, and can be reached in less than an hour’s drive from Seattle or Bellevue.
Here’s what families need to know to visit the new Sno-Park:
1. What is a Sno-Park?
A Sno-Park is essentially a plowed parking lot where people can park their cars — with the right parking permit, more on that in a sec — to pursue winter recreation, such as snowshoeing, playing in the snow or cross-country skiing. ("Motorized" Sno-Parks are intended for snowmobilers.)
2. Can we go sledding at this Sno-Park?
According to the announcement, this Sno-Park is for snow play, snowshoeing and backcountry skiing. There is not a dedicated sledding hill. (The Sno-Park with the dedicated sledding hill is Hyak, located about 10 miles farther east, over the pass. As of Dec. 13, the Hyak Sno-Park is open, but its sledding hill has not yet opened.)
3. How do we find the Annette Lake Sno-Park?
To reach the new Sno-Park, drive east on Interstate 90 to Exit 47. Turn right onto the NF-55 road, then left onto Asahel Curtis Road. Continue 0.4 miles to the Sno-Park.
4. Are there facilities at the Sno-Park?
There is a toilet but no other facilities. Bring your own food and water, plus clothing for the conditions, of course.
5. What permit do we need to park at the Sno-Park?
To park your car at Annette Lake, you’ll need a daily or seasonal Non-Motorized Sno-Park Permit. Buy it online or in person from authorized vendors. A one-day permit costs $25; a season-long permit costs $50. There is space for about 40 cars at Annette Lake.
One more note about parking permits: For other seasonal Sno-Park permits for use at Cabin Creek, Chiwawa, Crystal Springs, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Mount Spokane and Nason Ridge, you also need to buy a Special Groomed Trails Sticker and affix it to your permit.
6. Is there a cost to visit the Sno-Park?
The parking permit is the only fee required to visit the Sno-Park.
Other places to play in the snow
Check out our article on places for Seattle-area families to go sledding and tubing. You’ll note that many of these places are far away and/or complicated to visit. Hyak is one of the most accessible and affordable places and it is very popular. This new Sno-Park — and the Easton Reload Sno-Park, which opened in 2021 — do not have sledding hills, but they are meant to help relieve some of the crowds at Hyak.