Outdoor Winter Interpretive Programs at Snoqualmie Pass

Release Date: Dec 3, 2012  

The Snoqualmie Pass Forest Service Visitor Information Center will open for the winter season on Thursday, December 20. Hours of operation will be Thursday through Sunday from 8:30 AM until 3:30 PM.

The Visitor Center offers a wide variety of services including winter recreation information, current weather and avalanche forecasts, local knowledge of the Snoqualmie Pass area, and a wide array of interpretive materials including books, maps and Sno-Park Permits.

Beginning on December 21, Forest Service Naturalists at the Snoqualmie Pass Visitor Information Center will offer a variety of guided outdoor winter walks and activities. These programs are supported almost entirely by public donations.

Reservations are strongly suggested and can be made by calling Kim Larned at 509 852 1062 Monday through Friday until December 19, after which, please call the Visitor Center at (425) 434-6111 Thursday through Sunday to make your reservation.

90 Minute Walk

Join this 1 mile loop that winds through opulent old-growth forest.  Elevated up on the snow-pack, you’ll enjoy experiencing the middle-canopy of the trees. You’ll see normally hidden lichens, fungus, winter birds and mammals.  Discover what critters made those mysterious tracks and what exactly are all those tiny black insects flipping around on the snow!  We’ll guide you through this winter hike at a moderate pace and with interesting winter ecology facts you can impress your friends and family with. 

Saturday and Sundays – 10:00 & 11:30 AM & 1:00 PM

Suggested donation:  Adults $15, youth 16 and under $10

Extended Walk

This winter trek will take you into the heart of Commonwealth Basin, a landscape that is rich with snowshoe routes and interesting winter life.  Marten, ground squirrel, bobcat, wolverine all travel through this area, sometimes leaving evidence on the fresh snow.  We’ll travel about 5 miles at a moderate pace climbing into the basin, including a lunch break boasting scenery you’ll be craving the rest of the winter.  Bring a well-stocked backpack, lunch and dress for the ever-changing mountain weather for this one; we’ll be out for about 4-5 hours. 

Friday, Saturday and Sundays – 9:00 AM

Suggested donation: $25 per person

Photography Walk

Photography enthusiasts from expert to novice will enjoy the opportunities for winter inspired photos.  Catch a radiating dendrite or possibly some magnificent hoar frost.  Commonwealth Creek offers many unique photographic interests: ice falls, cool vapors and the swirling dark waters of mid-winter.  Your guide will inspire discussions about light, composition and exposure.  Participants are encouraged to bring their own film or digital camerasand extra batteries.  In order to reduce your own exposure, please carry a well-stocked backpack with lunch.  This trip usually lasts about 4 - 5 hours.

Beginning January 19, 2013 every other Saturday at 9:30 AM

Suggested donation: $25 per person

Kids in Snow!

Kids of all ages enjoy this 90 minute outing that jump starts participants on their way to earn a Jr. Snow Ranger badge.  Identify tracks, learn about exploring nature in winter, and climb into our igloo (snowpack permitting).    Discover which animals live nearby that turn white in winter, sleep the winter away, burrow and live entirely under the snow and those that can freeze themselves nearly solid right through until the spring melt.  Kids control the speed of this walk, and we have a fleet of snowshoes, just for little feet.  Adults can follow along with the kids; we have snowshoes for you too!

Beginning January 12, 2013 Saturdays at 1:00 PM

Suggested donation:  Adults $15, youth 16 and under $10

Nordic Ski

This is our latest and greatest program; the Forest Service has teamed up with the Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Area to offer a guided winter ecology trip on Nordic skis!  We begin this outing at Grand Junction on the ski areas’ popular Mt. Catherine Loop.  You’ll need to purchase a ski area ticket, ride the ski lift or ski up and meet the group at the Grand Junction hut. We’ll start skiing from there, making stops to talk about the history of the area, forest succession, wildlife encounters and all things winter related.  Please meet promptly at 10 AM and plan to be back at the hut by 11:30. 

January 12, 19, 26 & February 2, 9, 16

Donations are not suggested for this program

Partnership Event

US Forest Service and Mountains to Sound Greenway Trust are teaming up to co-sponsor a day on the snow.  Put on your snowshoes and get out in the Greenway on Saturday, January 19, 2013 with the US Forest Service and Greenway staff for three different 1-mile loop snowshoe outings where they will share history and stories about this region and give you and your family ideas for your next Greenway adventure!

Suggested donation:  Adults $15, youth 16 and under $10

Get out in your own backyard…The Mountains to Sound Greenway! The Greenway is an incredible area featuring a unique mix of natural beauty and outdoor recreation that is close to your home. The Greenway extends from Seattle across the Cascade Mountains to Ellensburg surrounding I-90 and offers many opportunities to get out and explore the landscape that makes this region so special. Whether you enjoy hiking trails or learning about the rich history of the area- the Greenway has something for everyone.