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In Central Washington, experiencing the outdoors is in our nature. We are committed to inspiring your love and appreciation for the natural world, but we also aim to help you protect and care for it, as well as stay safe as you explore it. We’re happy to help you discover your passion for the wilderness, learn how to navigate it safely, improve your on-trail experience, and lessen your impact on the places you love for adventurers of the present and future. In this blog we will teach you how to know the snow.

Know the Snow

Central Washington is a winter wonderland, offering ideal conditions for snowy season recreation. Winter backcountry exploration, however, can present dangers that far exceed those of hiking in the summertime. Hikers and snowshoers need to do plenty of advance planning and take every precaution before hitting a trail during the winter months. Its important to know the snow.

• Always check avalanche conditions before going out on a snowy trail.

• Always let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return (and call them when you do return!).

• Bring plenty of layers, a headlamp or flashlight (because days are short and night comes quickly), plenty of extra food and water, and an emergency shelter in case you have to hunker down for the night.

• Choose your destination wisely. Don’t assume an easy summer day hike will make a good snowshoe trip.

Getting late in the afternoon? Is snow starting to fall? Is the trail hard to follow? As tempting as it may be to push on to your destination, knowing when to turn back can prevent a dire situation from developing. Reaching a summit or making it to a lake isn’t worth risking a night out in the cold or getting lost in a white-out. It’s OK to turn back. You can always return on a different day.

Explore more resources for winter recreation safety from the East Cascades Recreation Partnership.

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