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Gold Creek Pond is a popular spot for local photographers, but it is also the perfect snowshoe trail for novice snowshoers or if you have little ones in toe. (Image: Lisette Wolter-McKinley)
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3 outdoor winter activities you can safely do this season

Certainly, this winter looks a lot different from years past, but with the right gear, a warm drink and an adventurous spirit, there is no need to stay inside.

Picture this: a quiet snow laden trail with only the sound of the crunching of feet punctuating the silence. Sound like something straight out of a movie? Did you know snowshoeing is more popular in the Pacific Northwest region than any other part of the country? And even more surprising, three of the biggest snowshoe makers, Atlas, Tubbs and MSR, are based right here in Seattle. Snowshoeing is growing in popularity for being an accessible winter sport that is easy to learn. If you can hike, you can snowshoe.

Gold Creek Pond

Gold Creek Pond is a popular spot for local photographers, but it is also the perfect snowshoe trail for novice snowshoers or if you have little ones in toe. This mile-long trail is flat and circles around a mountain lake. With easy access to the trail right off I-90, you can snowshoe with a picturesque backdrop of mountains and have no worries about avalanche risk. Go early on the weekends or go during the week to avoid crowds.

  • Getting there: Drive Interstate 90 east to Exit 54, 2 miles east of the Snoqualmie Pass summit. Exit I-90, turn north, crossing under the freeway. A few hundred feet north of the highway interchange, turn right onto a narrow paved road (FR 4832) and drive east parallel to the freeway for 1 mile. Turn left on Gold Creek Road (142). Watch out for a few potholes on the unimproved forest road. Turn left in 0.3 miles onto the paved road and into the Gold Creek Pond parking lot.

Franklin Falls

If spotting icicles and viewing partially frozen waterfalls makes your heart sing take the short trail to Franklin Falls. Beware, this trail can oftentimes be icy, but this short jaunt in the fresh air just might be what you need to feel a tad less lethargic this Winter. Located off of I-90, this popular trail is a favorite among families. Go early on the weekends or go during the week to avoid crowds.

  • Getting there: From Seattle, head east on I-90 to exit 47 Denny Creek/Tinkham Road. At the top of the exit ramp, turn left and cross over the freeway. Go 0.2 miles and turn right at the stop sign onto Forest Road 58. The road crosses under the freeway, after driving 0.2 miles, turn left. Continue straight on for 2.9 miles, and about a half-mile past the Denny Creek Campground, there is a large paved parking lot on the right that can accommodate about 60 cars. The trailhead can be accessed via a trail that begins near the bulletin board in the parking lot. There is ADA parking available nearer the Franklin Falls Trailhead. Be sure to have a placard; parking patrols are on and will ticket violators.
  • Note: The Franklin Falls/Denny Creek area is no longer accessible from Snoqualmie Pass. Visitors must use the access as described in the directions above.

Summit Tubing

Snow tubing is a fun-filled, carefree way for family and friends to enjoy the exhilaration of zooming down a hill in a safe, controlled environment. With over twenty tubing lanes during the peak of the season and a covered lift to take you back to the top, it's easy to get outside this Winter. Each ticket gives access to the tubing hill and one snow tube for one session. Open Friday-Sunday and holidays during the winter season (holidays include Dec. 19 to Jan. 1, Jan. 16-18 and Feb. 13-15).

The Summit Tubing Park has not yet opened for the season. Once the hill has sufficient snow and the lanes can be built, they will open. Opening day for snow tubing varies each year, and an opening date will be announced once snow depth and conditions allow. Snow tubing tickets will be available for purchase once an opening day is announced.

  • Know before you go: We encourage guests to arrive 45 minutes to one hour before their tubing session to check-in, especially on holidays. A tubing liability release must be signed electronically during checkout to complete your purchase. Only our equipment can be used on the tubing hill. Ticket prices include snow tube (except child ticket).
  • COVID update: Tubing tickets will ONLY be available online this winter.
  • Getting there (from the west): Take I-90 exit 53, turn right at the stop sign at the end of the off-ramp, turn left onto State Route 906 at the next stop sign, follow SR 906 for ~1.3 miles. Take a left into the parking lot at the Tubing Center sign, just below Central Express Chairlift. Tubing Center is at the back of the lot.

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