They're just snow fun! Parks opens new options for snow play
Newly opened Silver Star Sno-Park near Winthrop offers opportunities for snowmobiling and backcountry skiing.
Feb. 23, 2021
To say Washington’s Sno-Parks are busy would be an understatement.
With COVID-19 running amok last December and indoor entertainment venues shuttered, many Washingtonians turned to snow play for solace and escape.
To ease this season’s congestion, our Winter Recreation Program opened four temporary snow-play areas and one permanent Sno-Park.
A temporary Sno-Park at Cle Elum River Campground provides a short snowshoe trail along the river and a snow play area.
Temporary snow play areas:
- Easton Reload
Build a snowperson or igloo, make snow angels, throw snowballs at spouses and siblings. Two miles south of Lake Easton State Park. 60 parking spaces off I-90 Exit 71. Adjacent to the existing Easton Reload motorized Sno-Park. (Snow-play visitors should not park in the snowmobile parking lot.)
- 29 Pines
Take an easy 1-mile snowshoe trail or use it to connect with the longer routes on Jungle Creek Road. Or just play in the snow. Up to 30 parking spaces in the Teanaway Community Forest. Located north of Cle Elum.
- Cle Elum River Campground
Snowshoe on a short, primitive trail along the river to a picnic table for a chilly lunch or play in the snow. (Bring camp stove and fuel.) Parking for 30 vehicles along a plowed road. The nearest portable toilet is ½-mile away at French Cabin Sno-Park.
Find more information on the I-90 corridor, including the temporary Sno-Parks
The groomed sledding hill at Oldman Pass promises fun for kids and adults alike.
- Oldman Pass
Located north of the Columbia River and the town of Carson, Oldman Pass primarily serves southwest Washington with 25 miles of ski trails to and around picturesque lakes with views of Mount Adams.
This year, the Sno-Park also has a temporary sledding hill, which is groomed weekly (usually mid-week). 25 parking spots.
Be sure to check avalanche beacons and have the right gear/knowledge before skiing or riding into the backcountry at Silver Star Sno-Park.
New permanent Sno-Park:
Silver Star Sno-Park opened this winter, enticing experienced snowmobilers and alpine touring skiers to its dry climate and fluffy powder.
Located northwest of Winthrop off State Route 20, the new Sno-Park sits beneath the towering pinnacles of Liberty Bell, Golden Horn and the Early Winter spires.
Highway 20 closes each winter, but Silver Star can be reached via US Highway 97 North-South and SR 20 West. In early season, visitors can drive to the trailhead. By mid-season, additional SR 20 closures mean recreationists use snowmobiles to reach the official trailhead, 8 miles west of the highway closure.
The Sno-Park has 5 miles of groomed track before riders and skiers hit the backcountry. Avalanche knowledge and proper gear (avalanche beacons, shovels, avalanche probes and even deployable air bags) are imperative to safely ride Silver Star’s sometimes dicey terrain. Make sure to check avalanche beacons and transceiver batteries at the trailhead check station and study Northwest Avalanche Center’s avalanche and mountain weather forecasts before heading to Silver Star.
Washington State Parks' Winter Recreation Program manages 130 Sno-Parks in partnership with public land managers, private landowners, groomers, plowing and sanitation contractors, law enforcement and more. Sno-Park and snowmobile permit fees pay for grooming, plowing and sanitation services.
If you’re among the individuals or families flocking to the snow this season, we hope you’re making happy memories.
If you haven’t embraced your cold weather nature, you’re just in time. The snow will likely last into March or April, so get on out there and play (responsibly, of course) before it melts!
What did you do with your snow day?
Tag us on social media with #WAStateParks or use our blog story share feature and upload your story and photos! We may just print your blog! And be sure to check our Winter Recreation Program's Twitter (@WaStatePks_WNTR) feed for more info on weather, grooming and road conditions!