Active Winter: Your Adventure Guide to the Snowy Pacific Northwest

Photo: Marina Poushkina

We must admit, nothing beats curling up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa on a damp winter day. After all, it provides us with the perfect excuse to kick back, relax and get caught up on our long-neglected reading or favorite TV shows. Yet, after a few weeks of being cooped up indoors, we can’t help but start itching for our next adventure.

Luckily, with the PNW offering some of the most diverse landscapes in the United States, the perfect winter escape is just a hop, skip or short drive away. So, before you pack up your bags for a distant locale, check out these four must-do PNW winter adventures. Climb in your car and head for the mountains and you’ll be gliding across a snow-covered landscape before you know it.

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Explore the Wintry Backcountry of Whistler

Make some tracks in Whistler's backcountry. Photo: Whistler Blackcomb
Make some tracks in Whistler’s backcountry. Photo: Whistler Blackcomb

A first-class mountain resort, Whistler has long been known for it’s impressive ski trails. And while carving your way down the mountain’s frosty slopes is certainly exhilarating, the more than 34 feet of snowfall the peak receives annually provides plenty more opportunities for outdoor adventurers.

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, consider cruising through Callaghan Valley to the NorthAir Goldmine via snowmobile. It’s a great introduction to the backcountry for families and first-timers alike. If rustic adventure (with furry companions) is more your style, head out on a dogsled tour and feel the rush of cool air against your face as you zip through old-growth forests and along winding trails.

Embrace the Okanagan Region at Sun Peaks Resort

Love cycling and skiing? Then you'll have fun on a snowbike. Photo: My Good Images / Shutterstock.com
Love cycling and skiing? Then you’ll have fun on a snowbike. Photo: Sun Peaks Resort

With fresh snow, consistent temperatures and a pristine network of trails, the alpine village of  Sun Peaks Resort in Kamloops is a must-visit if you are an outdoor sports enthusiast. Grab one of the resort’s complimentary trail maps and head out for some snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the snow-covered wilderness. If you are not sure which trail is right for you, the resort also provides a handy guide to help you find a route suited to your level of expertise. Love cycling? Don’t let the snow stop you! Sun Peaks offers guided snowbike tours so you can enjoy the winter scenery in a whole new way.

Tour the Backcountry Wilds of Snoqualmie

Fresh powder awaits you at Summit East. Photo: The Summit at Snowqualmie
Fresh powder awaits you at Summit East. Photo: The Summit at Snoqualmie

Located just an hour east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Pass is a veritable winter paradise. With over 31 miles of groomed trails, the Summit at Snoqualmie provides snowshoers and cross country skiers with enough options to keep you gliding across the frozen landscape for weeks. Be sure to check out the large, open areas of the nearby Gold Creek and traverse the smooth terrain from Mardee Lake to Kendall Peak for a scenic four mile round trip.

Have Fun in the Winter Playground of Methow Valley

 Explore Methow Valley's open white terrain. Photo: brewbooks
Explore Methow Valley’s open white terrain. Photo: brewbooks

Home to North America’s largest Nordic trail system, the stunning Methow Valley features over 120 miles of interconnected groomed trails so you’re never lacking for options. We suggest you explore the valley’s stunning  Upper River Run trail. With gentle, rolling meadows of snow nestled amid quiet farms and stately stands of firs, the route is a wonderful playground for shoeshoers and an ideal trail for if you are looking for an easy trek. If you are feeling adventurous, combine the run with any one of the connecting trails to make it a more challenging trip.

No matter what adventure speaks to you, there is an abundance of wintertime fun to be had in your own backyard. Grab your coziest winter gear, boots and showshoes or skis and head out to enjoy the snow—it’s going to be a fun ride!

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