Get outside & enjoy winter fun in Washington!
Winter sport enthusiasts and families can spice up the cold months with a variety of snow activities sponsored by Washington State Parks' Winter Recreation Program. The Evergreen State is "ever green" only in parts. The Olympic, Cascade, Blue, and Selkirk mountains provide great opportunities for all types of outdoor winter fun.
Cross-country and downhill skiing, skijoring, snowmobiling, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and tubing are available at a variety of locations across the state. In concert with federal agencies, private landowners, and other state agencies, Washington State Parks administers this program in seven national forests and blocks of state and private forest land. Five major highway passes, kept open to normal traffic in winter, provide easy access to play sites and trailheads.
The Winter Recreation Program manages Sno-Parks (cleared parking areas) in close proximity to groomed and backcountry trails.
- Snowmobile Sno-Parks are open to both motorized and non-motorized winter recreation.
- Non-motorized Sno-Parks are only open to winter recreation sports such as cross-country skiing, dog sledding, snowshoeing, and snow play.
Have you visited a Sno-Park and would you like to share your thoughts? Sno-Park on-site evaluation forms can now be done completely online.
Pass & permit information
Sno-Park permits are available for purchase online from Nov. 1 through April 30. Sno-park permits are non-refundable. Sno-Park permits are required to park at all Sno-Parks between Dec. 1 and April 30 for winter recreation activities.
A Sno-Park permit is always required to park at a Washington Sno-Park between Nov. 1 and April 30, including the 12 annual State Parks free days when no Discover Pass is required for parking at Washington state parks.
The Discover Pass is no longer required to accompany the daily or seasonal Sno-Park permit, even in Sno-Parks on Washington State Parks land.
In addition to the seasonal permit, a special groomed sticker is required to park at Crystal Springs, Easton Reload, Fields Spring, Hyak, Lake Easton, Lake Wenatchee, Pearrygin Lake and Mount Spokane. The special groomed sticker is not required with the daily Sno-Park permit, even on these properties.
Revenue generated by the special groomed sticker pays for more frequent trail grooming, lot clearing, sanitation and staffing at these high-use Sno-Parks.
Please note: You need a one day or annual Discover Pass when visiting these WA DNR winter trailheads: All Ahtanum State Forest locations (Whites Ridge, Ahtanum Meadows, Red Saddle) and Rattlesnake Trailhead. For more information or to purchase an annual Discover Pass, please visit our Discover Pass site.
Winter Recreation mascots
Blake the snowshoe hare is named after Blake Island State Park, a marine state park in the Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle.
Matilda the snowshoe hare is named after Matilda Jackson who moved to Chehalis, Wash., with her husband, John R. Jackson, in the 1840s. The Jacksons were two of the first Euro-American settlers north of the Columbia River. Their reconstructed homestead cabin is preserved as the Jackson House State Park Heritage Site.
Five Key Safety Guidelines When Riding in Avalanche Country
- GET THE GEAR: Ensure everyone has an avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe on their person and knows how to use them.
- GET THE FORECAST: Make a riding plan based on the current avalanche and weather forecast.
- GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY: One at a time on all avalanche slopes. Don't go to help your stuck friend. Don't group up in runout zones.
- GET THE TRAINING: Take an avalanche course.
- GET THE PICTURE: If you see recent avalanche activity unstable snow exists, stay out of that area. Riding on or underneath slopes is dangerous.
Credit to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Follow the link for more information about registering your snowmobile:
Winter recreation program specialists are available to assist with questions regarding the state's snowmobile and cross-country Sno-Park programs. Feel free to contact us at 360-902-8684 or by emailing park staff.