25 Incredible Winter Adventures In The Pacific Northwest

Winter wonderland is an understatement.

By: Sarah Vaughn

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The Pacific Northwest has a reputation for being an unbelievable destination for adventure and the snow doesn’t change a thing. The PNW turns into a winter wonderland every year and the potential for snowy exploring is endless, so check out this list of 25 of the best things you can do outside this winter and start making your plans. Whether you want to bag a snowy peak or pull off the road and explore an icy waterfall, the PNW has something for everyone this winter.

1. Snowshoe & Climb in Crater Lake NP, Oregon

Photo: Dan Loch

Ever wanted to experience what it would be like to visit Crater Lake and have it all to yourself? Winter is the time to make that dream a reality. Learn more.

2. Summit Mount St. Helens via Worm Flows, Washington

Photo: Greg Balkin

Want to summit a volcano? Don’t have any technical climbing experience? No problem! The Worm Flows route provides you with a summit opportunity with additional views of Mount Rainier, Mount Hood, and Mount Adams. Learn more.

3. Snow Hike to Wahclella Falls, Oregon

Photo: Angela Service

Located in the Columbia River Gorge 45 minutes outside of Portland, Wahclella Falls is just a short 2 mile roundtrip hike to one of the best waterfalls in all of the CRG. And the best part - it’s easily hikeable year round! Learn more.

4. Snowshoe to the Tilly Jane A-Frame, Oregon

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Want to have an overnight escape on Mount Hood but don’t feel like lugging up that all seasons tent? No worries! Reserve the Tilly Jane A-Frame and transport yourself back in time huddled around the wood burning stove. Learn more.

5. Hike Mt. Brunswick, British Columbia

Photo: Matt Hosford

Off of the Sea to Sky Highway north of Vancouver, treat yourself to incredible views of the Howe Sound and Vancouver Island. Beware in icy conditions as you near the summit, crampons or snowshoes are highly recommended to continue your ascent safely! Learn more.

6. Winter Hike to Gothic Basin, Washington

Photo: Jason Horstman

Looking for a more challenging winter hike? Try the 9 mile out-and-back trek to Gothic Basin! Formerly being a miner’s trail, the path to the basin can be quite strenuous, especially with the added complications winter may bring. Learn more.

7. Hike to Tamanawas Falls, Oregon

Photo: Jason Hatfield

Situated on the east side of Mount Hood, Tamanawas is an easy 3.8 mile hike to uncover a 150ft frosty waterfall. Learn more.

8. Winter Ascent of Trappers Peak, Washington

Photo: Jacob Moon

North Cascade National Park is home to some of the most rugged and remote mountains in the lower 48 states. Because of this, the area is rarely seen up close and personal in the winter, but there are a few spots where you can see these wild mountains that will defy all imagination. Learn more.

9. Hike to Elk Mountain, British Columbia

Photo: Emily Masse

A local favorite in Chilliwack, BC, this is a steep and fairly strenuous hike, but provides some unparalleled views of the surrounding forest and mountains. Learn more.

10. Hike to Spirit Falls, Washington

Photo: Angela Service

Talk about a winter wonderland. Turquoise waters, white powdery snow, can it get much better than this?! Learn more.

11. Short Hike to Picturesque Abiqua Falls, Oregon

Photo: Zak Stone

Enjoy this short 1 mile out-and-back hike to one of Oregon’s most scenic waterfalls. Learn more.

12. Snowshoe to Mount Pilchuck Lookout, Washington

Photo: Stephen Bellrichard

Take a half day and snowshoe up 2,300ft to enjoy some incredible views of the Puget Sound and Cascade range. Learn more.

13. Winter Backpack Trip to Russell Lake, Oregon

Photo: Robby Edwardsen

Brave the winter temps to avoid the usual crowds and gain some amazing views of the lakes, meadows, and surrounding peaks. Learn more.

14. Hike to Summit Lake, Washington

Photo: Nick Lake

Find this gem of a hike right outside of Mount Rainier National Park. It is a great option for hikers of any level. Learn more.

15. Snowshoe Mt. Seymour, British Columbia

Photo: Tyson Jerry

Gain a new perspective of Vancouver and the surrounding mountains from this panoramic viewpoint. Learn more.

16. Snowy Hike to Rattlesnake Ledge, Washington

Photo: Jacob Sacquitne

Take one of Seattle’s most popular hikes, add a little snow, subtract the crowds, and bam you have one of the best winter adventures Seattle has to offer. Learn more.

17. Hike to Metlako & Punchbowl Falls, Oregon

Photo: Vic Garcia

Part of the Columbia River Gorge, Metlako and Punchbowl Falls are part of the ever popular Eagle Creek Trail during summer months. What most people don’t get to see is just how beautiful these falls are blanketed with snow. Be sure to bring microspikes if hiking in the winter as portions of the trail open up to sheer cliffs. Learn more.

18. Snow Camp on Mt. Dickerman, Washington

Photo: Scott Kranz

Be one with winter in the Cascade range. With 8 miles round trip of snowshoe action and almost 4,000ft elevation gain, this one is not for the faint of heart. Learn more.

19. Snowshoe to Snow Lake, Washington

Photo: Stephen Bellrichard

Within a stone’s throw from Seattle, Snow Lake is a popular day hike destination in the Snoqualmie Pass region. Microspikes are a good idea for this one as it’s so heavily trodden packed snow often turns to ice! Learn more.

20. Explore Garibaldi Park on Snowshoes, British Columbia

Photo: Emily Haggar

Garibaldi offers up some great winter exploration opportunities including snowshoeing, hiking, skiing, and snow camping. Learn more.

21. Snow Camp in the Mt. Baker Backcountry, Washington

Photo: Scott Kranz

Take your pick from several spots to set up camp and be sure to set your alarm to watch the sunrise between Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. Learn more.

22. Explore the Capilano Suspension Bridge, British Columbia

Photo: Sarah Vaughn

Can’t get enough of that holiday spirit? Check out Capilano Suspension Bridge Park’s “Canyon Lights,” and explore this famous PNW destination among beautiful decorations and hundreds of thousands of festive lights among the treetops! Learn more.

23. Hike or Snowshoe to Tumalo Mountain, Oregon

Photo: James Dustin Parsons

Strap on your skis or snowshoes and catch yourself some fantastic views of Mt. Bachelor, Broken Top, and South Sister. Learn more.

24. Snowshoe to Todd Lake, Oregon

Photo: Whitney Whitehouse

Another beginner snowshoeing opportunity offering 6 miles with minimal elevation gain and an escape into a wintery wonderland. Learn more.

25. Hike St. Mark’s Summit, British Columbia

Photo: Ian Tyley

Discover some more amazing views of the Howe Sound in just under 7 miles roundtrip, and the best part…it’s hikeable during the winter too! Learn more.

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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.