Just because our winter days are shorter doesn’t mean there’s a shortage of things to do near Seattle. In fact, winters in the Pacific Northwest are exceptionally beautiful. So layer up, grab a winter coat and some waterproof shoes, and try one of these three ways to get outdoors and explore the Seattle area.
Take a winter hike
(Photo by J. Brink)
Hiking during Washington summers is hugely popular, but winter treks are no less stunning and a great way to get out of the city.
Hop in a car and head two hours north to Cedar and Pine Lakes near Bellingham, where towering trees and crystal clear water provide a serene break from the hustle and bustle of the city. They also make the perfect background for your next Instagram post.
Following a PNW snowstorm, you might find snow blanketing the shores around Cedar and Pine Lakes and possibly some ice on the trails, so hike carefully. If you start at the trailhead off Old Samish Way, follow signs to the Cedar Lake Lookout. The initial steep climb might reward you — if the clouds cooperate — with stunning views of Mount Baker at the top of the lookout.
Or, if you’re looking for something a little less off the beaten path, stay closer to home and check out the Seward Park Loop. No matter where you’re headed, make sure to check weather conditions, trail reports for any closures, and dress appropriately. (On a Washington trail you’ll need waterproof shoes that you don’t mind getting muddy.)
- 5 miles roundtrip; 1,400 ft. elevation gain
- Parking lot located at trailhead
- No parking pass or entry fee required
- Dog-friendly trail
- 2.5 miles roundtrip; paved and no elevation gain
Feel the rush at Summit Tubing Park
(Photo by Summit at Snoqualmie)
All the fun of sledding, none of the hassle of hiking back up the hill: Try inner tubing at the Summit at Snoqualmie! It’s an hour east of SPU’s campus for a day of fun.
The Summit Tubing Park has plenty of lanes for you to race your friends down and then use the conveyor belt to get to the top. Tickets must be purchased online, where you can make reservations for a specific two-hour slot.
- Reservations required
- Cost: $45/adult ticket
- Open Friday–Sunday and holidays
Some fun doesn’t depend on the sun
(Photo by The Summit at Snoqualmie)
Just because the sun goes down early doesn’t mean you’re out of options for a great PNW outdoor adventure. Try night skiing! The Summit at Snoqualmie is one of your closest options from SPU. They offer night skiing sessions every night from 4 p.m.–10 p.m., except on Sundays.
The Summit has four different mountain skiing areas, and there are lessons for first-timers on Friday evenings. (Be sure to check road conditions and closures on Snoqualmie pass before you travel.)
You must purchase lift tickets in advance online to be picked up at the ticket window at The Summit. You can show your confirmation via your cell phone or a printed receipt to the ticket staff.
- Night ski lift tickets, $42-52.
- A one-time night skiing equipment rental includes skis, boots, poles, and a damage waiver for $46.