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Weekend Snow Climbs in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast

Pack snowshoes for these nine epic treks to snowy solitude in the Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Northeast.
0109_tripfindsnowhikes_445x260Rocky Mountain National Park, CO (Tom Bol)

Pacific Northwest | Rockies | Northeast


2 Days
Gifford Pinchot National Forest, WA

Toast the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service on this 11-mile out-and-back in his eponymous national forest. The Packwood Trail ambles gentle grades through four miles of second-growth forest with views of Mt. Rainier. Pass a 1910 guard shack at the northwest curve of Packwood Lake and loop to campsites on the east shore. In the morning, climb the southeast drainage (bring snowshoes) to the 1,800-foot ascent above Lost Lake.

3 Days
Eagle Cap Wilderness, OR

Experience the "Switzerland of America" on a three-day, 18-mile snowshoe on the Hurricane Creek Trail in the Eagle Cap Wilderness southwest of Joseph. It’s busy in warmer months, but winter brings a deep silence to the lodgepole forests and subalpine meadows. Views of Sacajawea Peak and the knife-edge Hurricane Divide open as you trek four miles south to camp at Echo Lake. Summit 9,838-foot Sacajawea Peak (pack an ice axe and crampons) on day two via the Thorpe Trail.

4 Days
Sawtooth Wilderness, ID

If you like the Sawtooths in the summer–and who doesn’t?–you’ll love this range’s winter grandeur. Start this 23-mile snowshoe out-and-back from the Decker Flat trailhead, 45 miles north of Ketchum on ID 75. Cross the Salmon River on a westward course along Hell Roaring Creek, tracking six miles through shin-deep powder in a thick spruce-fir and pine forest to your basecamp at Hell Roaring Lake. On day two, climb west up to the 9,000-foot knob near the base of the Finger of Fate, an imposing 1,000-foot granite tower overlooking the lake and a trio of other 10,000-footers. On the third day, scale the hill north of camp, then trace the slender ridgeline east to link to the southbound trail back to the lake. From here, it’s an easy six-mile trek to the trailhead.

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