Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe at Snoqualmie Pass

Last Updated on November 19, 2021

November 2021 Note: Last winter has seen a big increase in crowding at Gold Creek, as well as other Sno parks along the I-90 corridor. If safe and legal parking is full, head somewhere else. DO NOT PARK ON FREEWAY INTERCHANGES OR SLED NEXT TO FREEWAY RAMPS.

Looking for a snowshoe route without too much climbing that’s relatively easy to get to? Look no further than the Gold Creek valley snowshoe route! If you want to keep it short, you can take the loop around Gold Creek Pond (a one mile loop with no elevation gain plus up to two miles to get to the summer trailhead depending on exactly where you park), or if you want to go further you can head up the valley (up to 6 flat miles round trip) to find more solitude from the very busy Gold Creek Sno park! Read more here about my first timer’s guide to snowshoeing in Washington, including what to wear, how to rent or buy snowshoes and more ideas for where to go.

The Gold Creek Valley is located on the homeland of the Coast Salish and the Wenatchi people.

Parking Pass Needed: Washington State Sno Park Pass

Dog Friendly: yes, on leash

Is the Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe right for me?

The Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe trip is perfect for beginners because it’s flat so you can get used to wearing snowshoes and see some beautiful scenery before you get into a lot of climbing which is much harder work!

I’ve been snowshoeing for 20 years and I still really enjoy this mellow trail. The only thing I don’t like about it is it’s extremely crowded. As long as you can deal with the crowds at the parking area, you can easily ditch them after the first mile by heading up the valley instead of around the pond (which is lovely but very busy). Both these options are described below.

When is a good time for the Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe?

The Gold Creek Valley snowshoe usually has plenty of snow for snowshoeing from December through March, though that can vary from year to year.

One fabulous thing about the Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe is that if you want to go there and there isn’t enough snow yet for snowshoeing, you can just walk it, making in an excellent year round hike.

Where is the Gold Creek Valley?

The Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe starts at the Gold Creek Sno park, which is just east of Snoqualmie Pass. Take Exit 54 and go under the freeway (left if you’re coming from Seattle) and then an immediate right after the freeway ramps. Directly in front of you is the trailhead for the Kendall Peak Lakes snowshoe, your trailhead is about a mile and a half down the road.

There is not an actual parking lot here, rather the sno park parking is along the road (the north side of the road only which is the opposite side of the road from the freeway). Parking can be challenging so grab a spot as soon as you see it! Make sure you have your sno park permit (you can get a seasonal or day pass at the link above).

I recommend stopping at the rest area at the pass for the restroom before getting to the trailhead.

Trail Description – Gold Creek Pond Snowshoe Loop

Start off on a closed road for about a mile to the summer trailhead. This is by far the busiest part of the trail, it’s also wide and flat. If you’re heading for the pond loop, you can go in either direction. The loop itself is about a mile. The loop has boardwalk in places though you might not notice if the snow is deep!

The loop goes through the forest and around the pond. Make sure not to venture out on the pond as it’s not cold enough here for it to solidly freeze.

A winter sun sets on a day with high overcast behind a mountain near gold creek pond. The pond is surrounded by forest and forested mountains in the distance
Gold Creek pond does not usually freeze in the winter, but even if it appears frozen don’t venture out on the thin unstable ice!

Once you complete the loop, continue on up the valley (described below) or head back the way you came to your car.

Trail Description – Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe

If you want a longer outing, or you just want to get away from the crowds around the trailhead and pond, head further up the valley!

You can either do the loop first or skip the loop and go straight for the Gold Creek Valley. If you’re going straight to the valley, head up the closed road to the summer trailhead, just like for the loop. Go to the RIGHT (counter clockwise) on the loop if you want to go straight to the valley trail.

After about half a mile, you’ll reach a junction and here you will go right for Gold Creek Valley snowshoe, leaving the loop trail. Usually there is a sign pointing to the right for Gold Creek Valley.

In just a couple minutes you’ll find yourself on a closed road. You will follow this road for the next mile as it passes a number of cabins. Make sure to stick to the road as the land on both sides here is private property. At times you’ll see signs pointing you to the Gold Creek Valley when there are junctions with driveways that look like they might be part of the trail.

A wooden cabin with a metal roof and a covered porch is surrounded by snow on the evergreen forest and the ground along the gold creek valley snowshoe route. In the distance is a snowy mountain
One of the many cabins in the Gold Creek Valley

As you reach the end of the cabins and private property, about two miles from your car, there’s an interpretive sign with a lovely view of the creek and the valley.

Evergreen trees in the foreground and forested mountains surrounded by clouds
Mountains seen on the Gold Creek Valley Snowshoe route near the transition from the road to the trail

Beyond this point, you’ll be on a much narrower trail, which is still mostly flat. You’ll be in deeper forest with views at times up to the mountains around you.

Evergreen trees with snow line the gold creek valley snowshoe route. In the distance is a mountain covered in fresh snow. It's a sunny day with blue sky

This trail extends for many miles, though about a mile beyond the transition to the narrower trail you’ll come to an avalanche chute which is a good place to turn around for a 6 mile round trip snowshoe adventure. I always stay away from avalanche prone areas and recommend you do too!

Where to stop after Snowshoeing the Gold Creek Valley

Snoqualmie Pass doesn’t have a bakery and could really use one! Instead of that, grab a coffee or hot chocolate at Bob’s espresso (look for the green trailer between the DOT rest area and the convenience store). Bob’s espresso also has amazing handmade corndogs! I don’t even like corndogs but these are AMAZING. I am also a big fan of the pizza at Pie for the People which is inside the convenience store by Bob’s.

Dru Bru has outdoor seating with propane fires for some local beer (get Pie for the People delivered from across the street). If you’re looking for some classic pub food, get that next door at Commonwealth.

Electric Vehicle Charging

Fast charging for EV’s is available at the Summit Deli and gas station at Snoqualmie Pass. There is also fast charging available in North Bend, Cle Elum and Ellensburg.

Evergreen trees with snow on them in the foreground and forested mountains with fresh snow in the background on a sunny day. Text reads: Gold Creek Snowshoe near Seattle
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Jennie Flaming
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years and I still spend lots of time there every year. I've been a tour guide for many years in both Alaska and Washington and am a field editor for the Milepost. I love to share the places I love with visitors, newcomers and my fellow locals. I’m so glad to have you along on the journey to experience your best adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!