Snowshoeing Near Seattle: 5 Dog-Friendly Pacific Northwest Trails

Most winters, Seattleites get excited at the chance of snow, then upset when they realize it means the city shuts down and we can’t go anywhere. But this year, surprise! The city is already locked down, and we already can’t go anywhere–snow or no snow. So let’s really lean into the winter wonderland that is the Pacific Northwest this time of year: grab or rent some snowshoes, and get to trekking! You don’t have to drive far for some beautiful viewing, playful puppy snow time, and a great workout. Sniff out our five fave trails for snowshoeing near Seattle.

Note: Hiking or snowshoeing in the winter can be dangerous. Please make sure to check local conditions before you set out, pack warm clothes and the 10 Essentials, and hike during daylight hours only. When snowshoeing near Seattle, choose an adventure commensurate with your dog’s athletic ability; some of these are ruff!

1. Maintenance Shed Road

Region: South Cascades
Length: 7 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 400 ft. gain / 4,700 ft. highest point 
Pass: None

Despite the less than creative name, Maintenance Shed Road is a fun and easy snowshoe loop that’s good for beginners, kids, and dogs alike. It’s closed to snowmobiles, thank goodness, so your pup won’t be spooked as she takes in the views of not just Coyote Ridge, but Chimney Rock and Mt. Rainier at the end.

2. Salmon Ridge

Region: North Cascades
Length: 5.4 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 300 ft. gain / 2,400 ft. highest point 
Pass: Sno-Parks Permit

Never snowshoed in your life? Salmon Ridge is the perfect trail to start. It’s not too long, there are no hills, and you can always turn back if your core starts killing you. And believe us, it will. While there are multiple interlocking paths (some groomed), the safest bet is sticking right alongside White Salmon Creek. If your doggo is anything like mine, you may need to let him in for a little swim (yes, even in the dead of winter!). Running and playing will surely heat both of you back up. 

3. Skyline Lake

Region: Central Cascades 
Length: 3 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 1,100 ft. gain / 5,100 ft. highest point
Pass: None

Before you get too excited about that “3 miles roundtrip” above, take a good hard look at the elevation. Yup, Skyline Lake may be short, but that elevation gain ensures an uphill hike that will definitely have you feeling it the next day. Your more athletic half (aka the dog) will be fine frolicking around in packs of powder, but for you–you brave winter soldier–BRING WATER! Kidding aside, Skyline Lake provides incredible exercise with the added benefit of astounding, expansive views of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness on clear days as a reward for your huffing and puffing. 

4. Nason Ridge

Region: Central Cascades
Length: 3.6 miles roundtrip 
Elevation: 750 ft. gain / 2,720 ft. highest point
Pass: Sno-Parks Permit

A quick Google may have you believing there are numerous snowshoe trail options around Lake Wenatchee, and while that’s technically true, Nason Ridge is the very best, IMO. It doesn’t get much better than the views of Fish Lake, Dirty Face, and Lake Wenatchee itself. The trail winds around what’s usually Kahler Glen Golf Course, so you can rest assured hills are kept to a minimum. Do make sure to stay off the groomed cross-country skiing trails and keep pup on a leash! Not to pre-judge your snowshoeing abilities, but they will likely be traveling a lot faster than you, and no one likes a freezing collision.

5. Riser Lake Loop

Region: North Cascades
Length: 3.75 miles roundtrip
Elevation: 403 ft. gain / 2603 ft. highest point
Pass: Sno-Parks Permit 

If Salmon Ridge is your beginner snowshoe course, think of Riser Lake as your advanced beginner class. A little longer, a little more elevation, but still easily doable for newbies. This loop is a fan favorite in the spring and summer; winter clears out a bit more of the foot traffic while still maintaining the majesty of the season. Depending on the weather, you may not even need snowshoes–just sturdy boots. Of course, half the fun of snowshoeing is ‘off-roading’ into the surrounding powder, so we still highly suggest them.

Featured photo: Bonnie Kittle

What’s pup’s fave trail for snowshoeing near Seattle? Woof at us in the comments, and pittie plz tag us in your winter woofer adventures @sidewalkdog.

Sidewalk Dog’s mission is to help dog parents spend more time with their puppers by discovering and sharing activities they can do and places they can go—together! Sniff out our award-winning newsletter and Instagram, then join our Dog-Friendly Seattle Facebook Group.

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