Why stay inside this winter when our state has so many incredible places to discover? While we do have some spots that are too icy to visit right now, there are still plenty of areas around Washington that are open and even more spectacular to see this time of year. You may want to grab a hat and extra gloves, but here are 10 of the many places you’ve got to explore this season:
1. Heather Lake Trail, near Granite Falls
This path may be more crowded during the summer, however during the winter, visitors will find the trail empty and forests even more stunning when blanketed in snow. The lake area features several campsites, each with their own view of Mount Pilchuck or the Stillaguamish Valley.
2. Shi Shi Beach, Olympic National Park
Not really up for a snowy hike? The beach is still a breathtaking place to visit during the winter, such as this gem on the Olympic Peninsula. Check out the "Point of the Arches" rock formations while you're here for a picture perfect landscape.
3. Waterfront Park, Leavenworth
You can find areas to explore in this park year-round, but some of the most mesmerizing views can be seen here during the wintertime. Plus, it's not far from the main downtown area where you can find all of the town's Bavarian charm.
4. Beacon Rock State Park, near Vancouver
If you're up for an epic adventure, this hike along the Columbia River Gorge is also open year-round. The trail is gradual and features railings all the way up across several bridges & switchbacks, but once you get to the top of the monolith rock, the panoramic view is extraordinary.
5. Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park
Perhaps one of the most popular destinations in the Northwest to visit during the winter is this spot in the Olympic National Park! It's a perfect location for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, tubing or just enjoying a chilly day out on the mountain.
6. Green Lake Park, Seattle
There's no need to head out to the mountains or the coast to find places to explore this season! Seattle's Green Lake Park is a wonderful spot to go for a stroll or bike ride year-round, although it's even more beautiful during the winter near the partially frozen lake. If you're closer to the Magnolia neighborhood, Discovery Park is another incredible area to visit this time of year!
7. Ozette Triangle, Olympic National Park
The cedar-planked boardwalks along this trail may be a little more slippery this season, but the surrounding nature is just too phenomenal to miss out on. The loop will take you out to the beautiful beach at Sand Point, and if you head north you'll be able to find Cape Alava, the westernmost point in the contiguous states.
8. Riverside State Park, Spokane
Out in the Spokane area you can find this park with several spots for exciting winter recreation. If you head across the swinging bridge on the Bowl and Pitcher Trail, you'll be able to catch a dazzling view of the white water rapids and trees covered in a powdery snow.
9. Lake Sylvia State Park, Montesano
While this place is amazing in the summer, the spectacular scenery makes it a must visit during the winter, too. The lakeside park features a number of trails and even a kitchen shelter you can reserve where you'll be able to warm back up again!
10. Enchanted Valley, Olympic National Park
If you're looking for the ultimate adventure this season, you've got to wander through this enchanting valley in the Olympic National Park. The magical area has even been nicknamed “The Valley of 10,000 Waterfalls”, and it can be found along the Quinault River near several cascades that freeze into ice during the winter.
Where are some other amazing places to explore this winter in Washington? Share your favorite spots with us below!