Cross Country Skiing

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Cross Country Skiing near White Pass Ski Resort - Cascade Mountains

From undisturbed backcountry trails to groomed tracks at the White Pass Ski Area, the White Pass Scenic Byway offers cross-country skiers a wide range of opportunities for winter recreation. The trails vary in length and degree of difficulty providing options for everyone. Breathtaking vistas and classic forest snow scenes await visitors to the trails. Discover the peace and quiet, the magic and beauty of this winter activity. Those visiting a state Sno-Park will need to remember their Sno-Park pass when parking their vehicle.

Here are a few top picks for cross country skiing along the Byway:



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White Pass Scenic Byway - cabin rentals and lodging near Mt. Rainier

Cross-Country Skiing Hotspots


White Pass Nordic Center

Length: 10 total miles Elevation Gain: 290 feet
Trail Type: many options Skill Level: novice to advanced
Season: late November to early April Trailhead Elevation: 4,500 feet

Offering some of the most enjoyable rolling and winding groomed trails in the Northwest, spend the day at the White Pass Nordic Center. Tour among 18 kilometers of double-track trails weaving through the Wenatchee and Gifford Pinchot National Forests. The terrain is available for cross country skiing, skating and snowshoeing for individuals of all skill levels. Lessons and equipment rentals are available and friendly staff members are available at the Nordic Center Yurt near the trailhead to answer your questions. The Nordic Center is open during the ski season, Thursday - Sunday and holidays from 8:30am until 4pm. For more information visit the White Pass Nordic Center.

Download a printable map of the area here.

Directions: Drive US Highway 12 to the White Pass Ski Area


Burley Mountain Lookout

Length: 18 total miles Elevation Gain: 3,931 feet
Trail Type: out-and-back Skill Level: most difficult
Duration: 2 days Season: Nov - Dec & March - April
Top Elevation: 5,304 feet Other uses: snowshoes

Up, up, up… An arduous route, the trek to Burley Mountain Lookout follows a narrow section of rock through the trees never ceasing in its direction to the top. Views are spectacular – look upon vast snow-covered meadows and see the mighty mountains of the Cascade Range – Mts. Rainier, St. Helens and Adams. Route finding becomes difficult as snowdrifts become common towards the top. Those reaching the summit are rewarded with the opportunity to stay overnight in the Burley Mountain Lookout (advanced reservations are required). Always carry and map and compass. Prior to your trek to Burley Mountain, contact the Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station, 360-497-1100 for road conditions and more information.

Directions: From Randle, drive 1 mile south on Forest Road 25 and then turn left (east) onto FR 23 (Cispus Road). Continue on FR 23 to its junction with FR 28/21. Bear right on FR 28/21, cross the Cispus River, turn right onto FR 76, and continue past the Cispus Environmental Center to FR 77 on the left. Follow FR 77 for about 7.5 miles, then turn left onto the dirt track of FR 7605. Drive to the snowline. 


Horseshoe Lake

Length: 11.75 total miles Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back Skill Level: backcountry
Duration: 6 hours Season: Mid-Dec to mid-Mar
Top Elevation: 4,100 Other uses: snowshoes and snowmobiles

A sweet spot in the middle of snowmobile country… Start the tour with a three mile ski up a snowmobile path (stick with it, it’s worth it!) and then you’re on your way trekking along a lovely skier-only trail through the snow-covered forests to serene Horseshoe Lake. Not a difficult trek, but the route-finding can be tricky. Always carry a map and compass. Prior to your trek to Horseshoe Lake, contact the Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station, 360-497-1100 for road conditions and more information.

Directions: From Randle, travel south on Highway 131. After 0.9 mile, the road divides. Stay left on Road 23. After 18.7 miles, turn left on Road 21 for 4.8 miles to an intersection with Road 56. Turn right on Road 56, cross the Cispus River and continue for 3.1 miles before turning right on Road 5603. Travel 0.3 miles to the Orr Creek Sno-Park. Download a printable map of the area here.


Round Mountain

Length: 9 total miles Elevation Gain: 1,280 feet
Trail Type: out-and-back Skill Level: more difficult
Duration: 5 hours Season: Jan - Mar
Top Elevation: 4,320 feet Other Uses: snowshoes

If you are searching for a trail meandering through the woods, Round Mountain is a great choice. As you shush along the trail, catch glances every so often of the stunning, snow -capped Goat Rocks. Pinegrass Ridge and Clear Lake are other landmarks as you weave in and out of forest. Always carry a map and compass. Always carry and map and compass. Prior to your trek to Round Mountain, contact the Naches Ranger District, 509-653-1400 for road conditions and more information.

Directions: Turn south off US Highway 12 at 7.6 miles east of White Pass or 26.2 miles west of the junction with State Route 410. Follow Tieton River Road for 3.3 miles to the North Fork Tieton River Sno-Park. Ski ¼ mile to Round Mountain Road No. 830.


White Road Snow Park

Length: 7 total miles Elevation Gain: 480 feet
Trail Type: out-and-back Skill Level: easiest
Duration: 4 hours Season: Jan - Mar
Top Elevation: 4,800 feet Other Uses: snowshoes

This is the place for beginners or those skiers just out for an easy tour along the flat. White Road offers easy ups and downs and is nearly level along the entire route; a great places to practice your skills. The mountain views are incredible without having to reach a summit – gaze at the Goat Rocks and the mighty Tatoosh Range. Another plus for skiers, the area is designated for non-motorized winter sports only. Always carry and map and compass. Prior to your trek to White Road Snow Park, contact the Cowlitz Valley Ranger Station, 360-497-1100 for road conditions and more information.

Directions: From the White Pass summit, drive west 0.7 mile and turn north on White Road No. 1284. Be sure to park off to the side of the road.


Lost Lake

Length: 10 total miles Elevation Gain: 1,250 feet
Trail Type: out-and-back Skill Level: more difficult
Duration: 6 hours - 2 days Season: Jan - Mar
Top Elevation: 3,800 feet Other Uses:  snowshoes and snowmobiles

Trek through the forests of ponderosa pine as you make your way up to pretty, little Lost Lake and a small campground skirting its shores. Take some time at the campground destination to explore a few of the roads and trails in the area. This is not a trip full of panoramic views, instead it’s a journey through a forested winter wonderland. The exception is at 2 ½ miles when snow-covered Bethel Ridge comes fully into view. Always carry and map and compass. Prior to your trek to Round Mountain, contact the Naches Ranger District, 509-653-1400 for road conditions and more information. Download a printable map of the area here

Directions: Travel US Highway 12 16.4 miles east from the summit of White Pass or 0.6 miles west of Hause Creek Campground and turn couth on Tieton Road. Drive 0.2 mile to a large sno-park on the right where signs mark the beginning of the Goose Egg Trail. If there is snow here, park and begin your journey. If not, turn left on Lost Lake Road No. 1201 and drive to the snow line.


North Fork Tieton River

Length: 9.5 total miles Elevation Gain: 140 feet
Trail Type: many options Skill Level: easiest to more difficult
Duration: up to 5 hours Season: Jan to mid-March
Top Elevation: 3,300 feet Other Uses: snowshoes

There are several options for snow touring at North Fork Tieton River. Five different routes to be exact – and they all offer beautiful views and fairly easy, level routes. The one exception is the difficult mountaineering route to the summit of Round Mountain; a route for only the most experienced skiers. Always carry and map and compass. Prior to your trek to Round Mountain, contact the Naches Ranger District, 509-653-1400 for road conditions and more information. Download a printable map of the area here.

Directions: Travel US Highway 12 7.6 miles east of White Pass or 26.2 miles west of the Highway 410 junction and turn on Tieton River Road No. 12. Drive 3.3 miles to the North Fork Tieton River Sno-Park.


White Pass - Pacific Crest Trail

Length: 16 total miles Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet
Trail Type: out-and-back Skill Level: backcountry
Duration: 1 - 3 days Season: Jan - April
Top Elevation: 5,600 feet Other Uses: snowshoes

You choose the length of your trip while skiing the Pacific Crest Trail near White Pass. Ski past little alpine lakes and climb rounded hills, tour wide open meadows and travel through dense forests. Those going for the day will find an easy turn around point at Deer and Sand Lakes, while others will ski on into the William O. Douglas Wilderness. Always carry and map and compass. Prior to your trek to Round Mountain, contact the Naches Ranger District, 509-653-1400 for road conditions and more information. Directions: Drive US Highway 12 to the summit of White Pass and park in the overnight parking lot not far from the motel.

Additional information on Cross Country Skiing along the Byway

Gifford Pinchot National Forest
Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest
White Pass Road Conditions
White Pass Webcam

Photo Credit: Anne Murphy

 

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America's Byway - National Scenic Byway Program