We are so excited to share our favorite day-trip Snowshoe find of 2018! Just a couple short days after Christmas, we sought out some quality mountain time to connect to self and soak up the sun. After consulting a couple of resources regarding snowshoe day-hikes in the Pacific Northwest, we decided on Blewett Pass; it seemed just far enough outside of the city to thin foot traffic, but close enough to capitalize on the limited winter sunshine. We set a departure time of 9:00am to allow ourselves enough time to “sleep in” before leaving Seattle.
We hit the road on time and with breakfast sandwiches in hand. There was very little traffic on the Seattle freeways during the post-holiday lull and we got to Issaquah in less than an hour. We stopped at the Issaquah REI–the location we prefer for Eastside adventures due to lighter foot traffic–for snowshoe rentals. Snowshoe rentals run $26 (first day) and $13 (each additional day) for members; $52 (first day) and $26 (each additional day) for non-members. We used our ski poles rather than obtaining rentals. We purchased a Snow Park Pass from REI for this particular hike. Pro tip: there is a Safeway conveniently located next door for all your sandwich and trail snack needs. With our gear in hand, we proceeded to the mountains!
It took us a little over 2 hours to travel to the trailhead (1.5 hours of scheduled drive time plus another half hour to drive back into the range of service and download the driving directions–note to self: download directions ALWAYS). We arrived at the trailhead at 1:00pm greeted by 4 other cars and 3 RV campers in the lot. After pulling on our waterproof layers, packing our snacks, and strapping on our snowshoes, we hit the trail at about 4,000 feet up.
The trail is clearly defined and maintained by plow, so the path was obvious and easy to follow. While the total elevation gain for the hike is only 400 feet, the trail definitely takes its fair share of ups and downs. Poles are a huge help on a hike like this (and also great fun to poke at the snow drifts on small trees). We encountered two couples, one family, and a large group of friends on our way up–all were having a great time on this beginner-friendly adventure. We also made two snowmen friends on the trail. It was a bluebird day out in the mountains and the vistas were beautiful.
We began to lose a bit of sunlight at about 3:30pm as the sun set behind the other side of ridge we were hiking along. After a pause to admire the views and the majesty of Mother Nature, we turned around for the return journey. The descent, while presented with the same ups and downs, was relatively quick with the slight, predictable downhill grade. We reached Kate’s CR-V (Betsy) before 4:45pm, shed our gear, and made our way back towards the city and civilization. We stopped in Roslyn at The Brick Saloon to meet up with a mountain dwelling friend, share a warm meal, and get some belly laughs in before going home.
While short-lived, this day snowshoe adventure was the reset button our bodies needed after significant time spent indoors over the holidays. The only change we would make is foregoing the sleep-in time and getting out earlier to enjoy more of the bright, blue day!