SNOWSHOEING THE MT LOOP HIGHWAY

 

Snohomish County has some of the best snowshoeing trails in the state! Just a short drive up the Mt Loop Highway. 

 

While pictures make the sport look easy, don't be fooled. It's quite a physical task hike up a mountain no matter how you do it. Snowshoeing is no exception. However it's an amazingly rewarding sport that's filled with adventure and breathtaking views from every angle. 

 

The quite in a forest filled with snow is mind blowingly silent. Erie almost, but so peaceful it's very easy to get lost in your thought, connect with the nature all around you, and clear your mind. 

 

If you're new to the sport I'd obviously suggest being in shape, and brushing up on your winter survival skills just in case. I'm not going to go into detail in how to do this, but REI has some great free resources online, and expert classes that cover everything you'd need to know and have before making your first trip. Check that out here.  Another great article is this one, Snowshoeing 101.

 

If you can't swing REI's prices on their professional gear you there's usually enough outdoor enthusiasts in our area to find some solid deals on used gear. Facebook and Craigslist is your best bet to find something. Amazon also has some packages under $100 that come with the major pieces of your kit. 

 

If you're past the novice stage, then you'll likely likely have the gear and know-how to get you on the trail, so the only thing left is to decide where to go! The Washington Trails Association is a great resource with all the destination info you'll need to select the trail right for you. They usually have recent trail reports, pictures, trail conditions, and even have a pretty useful email newsletter that will help you explore the tails all year round. 

 

Two of my favorites trails are Martin Creek and Heather Lake trails. Both of these are around 5 miles, and come with some pretty special views. 

 

Martin Creek get's the steep section over with early and then side skirts the mountain just above the creek. You'll cross a few avalanche  fields so be careful, but then the trail dips down and you're actually hiking on top of Martin Creek for a while as you see the creek start to shoot out from underneath the trail you walking on. This trail used to poke all the way through a little mountain pass and connect Granite Falls to Darrington back in the day. The entire trail is not maintained any more, but if you know what you're doing it's still possible. 

 

Heather Lake is a very common trail year round, so be sure to try it again in the summer, but in the winter this trail leads to a glassy little lake on the backside of a large mountain bowl. When all covered in snow it looks like a real magical place. The billows of untouched snow form these mounds that seem to just roll under themselves at the waters edge. The bridges over the creeks are all hidden under the snow. 

 

Both of these trails will have bright colored ribbon markers tied every few feet so that the trails isn't lost as you trek up. You'll find the trails a little less crowded than in the summers so if solitude is your thing, snowshoeing might be your sport. 

 

Give it a try! Let me know how it went. If you have any more questions I'd love to help in any way I can. 

 

Happy Exploring, 

 

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