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Do I need an SUV to get to snowshoeing in the Seattle area?

Thank you for allowing me to join in! As a beginning snowshoer, I have a super-basic question… If I am not going to a ski resort for snowshoeing and instead hitting trails or logging roads, must I have an SUV-type vehicle? I have an all-wheel drive sedan, and it’s clearance is not impressive. I am worried that I don’t have the vehicle for this snowshoeing. Thanks.

3 Replies

@CL Thanks for reaching out!

Welcome to the community and to the world of snowshoeing as well! We're glad you're here. Whether your vehicle has enough clearance is going to depend very much on conditions and where you plan to go. Many of the sno-park areas in Washington are well maintained and plowed regularly, however, it is always good to check on conditions before your trip. A great first time snowshoe excursion is the Gold Creek Pond Snowshoe area in Snoqualmie Pass. You can also sign up for Ranger led snowshoe outings at the Snoqualmie Pass visitor center. Both of those areas have well maintained parking areas in the winter.

Additionally, depending on the snow levels, some trails may require hiking in before hitting snow and having to put on your snowshoes. Generally speaking, the more remote the trailhead and the further you have to drive on a forest service road the more likely you'll encounter snowy conditions. The forest service page linked above does a good job updating conditions at trailheads and roads.

Hopefully this helps, please reach out if you have any other questions. What kind of snowshoes do you have? Any specific trips planned this year? Have fun out there this winter!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

John, thank you for your kind and informative reply.  Very much appreciated!!  I purchased Tubbs snowshoes during an REI sale.  Ultimately, I want to visit less-populated areas...but the areas you suggested are a great start.  You are a good man.  Corbitt

@CL I recently started snowshoeing too, and I have a Prius. So far, I've stuck to more populated areas - I've made it to Gold Creek Sno Park, Crystal Springs Sno Park, and Hurricane Hill Visitor Center without issue. I put on cables when the parking lots were icy. The Sno Parks and National Parks had very well groomed roads, but were somewhat crowded on weekends. If you're only comfortable driving in well groomed areas, you could try picking a popular area in a less popular time - Gold Creek Pond on a Wednesday morning can be quite peaceful and quiet. Happy trails!