Five hikes to get you outside on chilly days
By Haven Walls, Reporter
When it’s dark and rainy outside and cold to the point where your fingers turn numb, you usually want to stay inside, right? I don’t blame you. Sometimes, Washington weather makes everything seem so dreary that you just want to wrap the warmest blanket around you and watch your favorite TV show or movie with a warm cup of hot chocolate. Well, I have a solution for you. Hiking. Now this solution may seem stupid, but I promise it’s not. Hiking can help with your winter lazy-spell. Once you see mountain tops and evergreens covered in snow and birds flitting from frozen tree-to-tree, you’ll understand. So, here are five hikes that may inspire you to keep going, even if the weather sucks. However, please do proper research on winter hiking safety before hiking, especially out in the mountains. Without the proper gear or planning, your nice hiking day might turn out to be a horrible hiking day.
Ueland Tree Farm Trails — Bremerton, WA
The Ueland Tree Farm is an actual tree farm still used today with two main trails. At the end of one of the trails, Dickerson Trail, there’s a small waterfall and a lookout point further up. These trails are also fairly easy with the longest trail being the path to the lookout point which is 3.3 miles one way.
Franklin Falls — Snoqualmie Pass, WA
Although it’s a bit of a pain to get to the trailhead in the winter, the icy falls at the end are worth it. It’s a longer trail, being 6.5 miles round trip with a 700-foot elevation gain. You might be thinking that it seems like a lot of work to get to Franklin Falls, so why bother? But if you look up a photo of what the falls look like in the winter, you’ll change your mind although of course no photo could compare to seeing it in real life. The hike to the falls won’t be boring either. Snoqualmie Pass in the winter is like a wonderland. Snow covers every
inch of space possible, and it’s gorgeous.
Staircase Rapids — Hood Canal, WA
This trail is pretty much flat the whole way through with no elevation gain, similar to Ueland Tree Farm. A two mile round trip, this trail is beautiful with any weather. Actually, the usual gloom of Washington winters brings out the green in the trees and the rain helps the rapids flow better. There’s even a bridge! If that doesn’t excite you then I don’t know what will.
Lake Wenatchee State Park Trails — Stevens Pass, WA
Consisting of two trails that add to a total of 4 miles, Lake Wenatchee State Park is an easy hike if you’re okay with wearing snowshoes the whole time. The lake is clear and blue with mountains surrounding every inch. The snow in Stevens Pass is just like the snow in Snoqualmie Pass—magical. It does take longer to drive there because Stevens Pass is about two and a half hours away, so if you’re willing, I’d strongly suggest you visit.
Horseshoe Bend — Mount Baker, WA
About a three hour drive away, one of my favorite hikes lies in the foothills of Mt. Baker. 2.4 miles roundtrip, the trail follows the North Fork of the Nooksack River. The river is an unreal shade of blue, and the trees and moss around the river are just as bright. My advice is to go on a cloudy, foggy day because, like the Staircase Rapids, the colors pop with the gloom of the weather and the fog adds an extra sense of mystery.
I hope at least one of these hikes sparks your curiosity. Of course I am a bit biased as hiking is one of my favorite activities, but I really recommend giving it a shot. I believe it’s good for the soul to be outside. It’s where we belong.