Lake Easton Sno Park is my favorite all around place for cross country skiing on the I90 corridor close to Seattle. Some of the other sno parks are closer to Seattle, or have more challenges (I love Cabin Creek for practicing hills and turns) or better views (Amabilis mountain has great views with a big climb and descent for cross country skiers, Kendall Peak Lakes and Gold creek have great views for snowshoers) but I just love this sno park and it’s completely worth the extra 15 miles past the summit sno parks! The only downside of Lake Easton is that it doesn’t have as reliable snow as closer to the summit. This year, it only had enough snow to start grooming a couple of weeks ago (mid February). Recent cold temperatures and lots of snow should keep it good for skiing at least for another weekend or two! Most years, I’ve found that this area usually doesn’t have enough snow to groom for skiing until sometime in January (but sometimes late December) and usually you can ski there through early to mid March (but it greatly depends on conditions, occasionally it doesn’t have enough snow all winter). If you’re looking to get started with cross country skiing, check out my post on getting started with great beginner locations including Lake Easton! This is also a great place for snowshoeing (I have snowshoed here when I decided it was too icy to ski). You can check out additional tips for getting started with snowshoeing here and good beginner routes (including Lake Easton again!).
Lake Easton is a non motorized sno park which means there won’t be any snowmobiles around (on the other side of the park there is a snowmobile park but not on these trails), and because it’s groomed for cross country skiing it requires a Special groomed trails permit (discussed in the getting started post). It’s 70 miles from Seattle east on I90 (beyond Snoqualmie Pass and Lake Keechelus). Follow signs to Lake Easton Sno Park as you exit the freeway. When you get to the end of the plowing, there will be a parking area (with heated running water restrooms!) near the lake. Here, you will begin your ski or snowshoe.
You’ll start up a bit of a hill, then go through the summer campground, and onto a wider trail, which goes along the Yakima River. The trail is mostly in the forest, along the river, you don’t have views of the lake much except in the parking area (but you could absolutely stroll around and check it out before or after skiing), but it’s beautiful and there are also far less people than many of the other sno parks. At a little over two mostly flat (except for the beginning) miles, you’ll arrive at an open area and a bridge with a gate over the Yakima River. This is a good place to enjoy a break and a snack before heading back the way you came. Beyond the gated bridge is the Palouse to Cascades Trail, a statewide rail trail, which is the same trail you ski on at Hyak or Crystal Springs sno parks closer to Snoqualmie summit. Check out this post for a report of the fun and adventurous ten mile ski from Crystal Springs to Easton! This also makes a fabulous snowshoe outing (just make sure to stay off the groomed ski trail and the skate track in the middle!), and that can be a particularly good option if the trail is icy.