On the sunnier and drier side of the Cascade Mountains is Blewett Pass, with gorgeous views and more than 50 miles of marked trails to explore on snowshoes or skis! This area is popular with snowmobilers too, but there’s plenty of room for everyone and plenty of non motorized trails. Wenatchee Crest is up to 6 miles round trip with up to 500 feet of elevation gain, although can turn around at any point for a shorter outing while still getting some great views.
The Blewett Pass area is the homeland of the Wenatchi and Yakama People.
There is no cell service at Blewett Pass, download or print the map before heading out. Most of these parking areas do not have restrooms, although there is a pit toilet on the Discovery loop trail (south side of the highway at Blewett Pass).
Is the Wenatchee Crest snowshoe route right for me?
This is a great place to get out on snowshoes without too much climbing. The snow is not as deep here as the Cascade Crest over Snoqualmie and Stevens Passes, so it’s possible you won’t actually need snowshoes, especially earlier or later in the season.
It is often sunny here when it’s gray and snowy or rainy further west, so this can be a good option for sun-starved Seattleites who don’t mind driving a bit further than Snoqualmie Pass.
Another thing that’s important to know for any snowshoeing or cross country skiing around Blewett Pass is that there aren’t any online updated conditions, so it is often a bit of a gamble on how much snow there is and how icy it is. Checking the Washington Trails Association trip reports is the best way to get as much information as you can about the conditions.
This can also be a great place to cross country ski, however it’s not groomed so you’ll need to be comfortable in variable conditions without grooming.
When is the best time for the Wenatchee Crest snowshoe?
All the trails around Blewett Pass, including Wenatchee Crest get much less snow than Snoqualmie Pass and Stevens Pass. This means that it can take longer for enough snow to build up and it melts quickly in the spring. Your best chance of good snow conditions here is in January and early February, although sometimes there is enough snow in December and sometimes the snow lasts into early March.
Where is Wenatchee crest?
The Wenatchee Crest snowshoe route goes along a closed forest service road (closed in winter) from the north side of Blewett Pass. To get there, follow Highway 97 south from Wenatchee and Leavenworth, or Highway 97 north from I-90 between Cle Elum and Ellensburg. Driving time from Seattle is 2-3 hours depending on the road conditions on both passes and the weather.
There is also a trail network for snowshoeing and cross country skiing that is partially shared with snowmobiles on the south side of the highway at Blewett Pass. The parking area here is much bigger but shared with snowmobiles. Don’t let the snowmobiles deter you, most of the trails are separated once you get away from the parking lot.
There are two other sno parks south of Blewett Pass on Highway 97 that also provide good options for snowshoeing. They are lower down so often have less snow, but they are also much less crowded. Pipe Creek Sno Park and Swauk Campground Sno Park are both on the right side of the highway as you drive north on Highway 97 from I-90.
Wenatchee Crest is a straightforward and mellow snowshoe route. There is a bit of up and down but it’s never steep. You’ll be snowshoeing through the forest with views between the trees of the surrounding mountains on a wide trail which is Forest Service Road 800 in summer.
Start out on the road and you’ll quickly pass a maintenance shed for grooming equipment used across the highway. You’ll wrap around and start climbing gently. Shortly you’ll come to a fork in the trail, keep left here (right heads steeply downhill) and continue uphill.
As you go further out the road, the forest gets quieter as you get further away from the highway. About three miles from the start you’ll come to a wider, open area in the trail with views in almost all directions! This is a great place to relax for a bit and enjoy some snacks or lunch before returning to your car.
This trail does not have a specific destination other than more or more views, so you can go a shorter distance on this trail if six miles round trip sounds like too much. Any amount of snowshoeing on Wenatchee Crest is wonderful!
Other places to Snowshoe at Blewett Pass
The Wenatchee Crest snowshoe is my favorite trail for snowshoeing at Blewett Pass, because of it’s wonderful views and it’s lack of steep climbing. It does get fairly busy however and the parking area is pretty small. Here are three other excellent options for snowshoeing at Blewett Pass.
Swauk Forest Discovery Loop and Tronsen Meadow
Directly across the highway from the parking area for Wenatchee Crest is a much larger parking area shared with snowmobiles. There are plenty of trails that are free of snowmobiles so that doesn’t need to deter you from exploring here.
There’s a mellow 2.5 mile loop around Swauk Meadow through forest and with some nice views. If you want more, you can explore Tronsen Meadows for several more miles with a bit more up and down.
Pipe Creek and Diamond Head
If you want to get further away from other people, Diamond Head is a great option from the Pipe Creek Sno Park. Be aware that the snow is often super icy here so it can be really frustrating to ski, but it’s great for snowshoeing if you don’t mind those conditions.
You can do a 4 mile loop (lollipop loop) here with about 1000 feet of elevation gain. Start on the far end of the parking area where there is likely to be a pile of snow from the plow. Follow blue diamonds on the trees as you start to snowshoe away from the highway and uphill. After about two miles you’ll come to a junction where you go straight to start the lollipop. Shortly you’ll come to a great viewpoint which is perfect for taking a break and getting a snack. Continue around the loop and back to the trail you started on which will lead you back to your car.
The Swauk Campground is a great place if you want to just have fun in the snow or do a longer snowshoe adventure connecting up to the Pipe Creek trails for many miles! Parking is usually not a problem here, and while the snow is often icy and not as good as the top of Blewett Pass, easy parking and lack of crowds make up for it!
You can wander around the closed campground or connect up to miles of trails that go from here to Pipe Creek and even up to the top of Blewett Pass.
Hi! I'm Jennie. I’m a fourth generation Seattleite who lived in Alaska for 7 years. I've been a tour guide in both Alaska and Washington and 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 low key adventure in Washington, Alaska and Western Canada!
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