Having grown up in the wet, cold, climate of Seattle, you would think I’d like it or at least be used to it. Nope, at all. Once you throw in the snow of the winter months, I really don’t want to go outside; but with the winter snow comes beauty.
Rarely do I ever want anything to do with the snow, unless I can be bribed to do an activity involving Bailey’s in my coffee. Even though I call Washington home, exploring the huge state never gets old. This year I decided to give my favorite summer hikes, as well as some new ones, a try in the winter. I googled “Best Winter Adventures” and the rest is history. Each weekend in January, as well as February, was going to be filled with a new snow covered adventure!
While the fresh powder and scenery it covered was absolutely gorgeous, don’t let the beauty of the snow and icicles fool you into thinking that it won’t be freezing. You need to dress like you’re going snowboarding and have a warm beverage in toe before embarking; perhaps several warm beverages.
A friend of mine uploaded an Instagram photo at Franklin Falls in the Snoqualmie Mountains that started it all. With a frozen waterfall and tons of beautiful icicles, it seemed like a gorgeous site to visit. I convinced my sister to go with me and although the waterfall was flowing, it was absolutely beautiful! A very easy hike, but with the waterfall comes lots and lots of frozen ice so be prepared to fall, or maybe that was just us.
Big Four Ice Caves
Probably the adventure I was most excited about after seeing the gorgeous images of the caves online. Formed by melting snow, waterfalls from above and previous avalanches, the ice caves took my breath away. The hike to the caves brought the most gorgeous views of the mountains, and a short hike thru the woods lead straight to the caves. Don’t be fooled by the will to want to run into them and explore; the signs everywhere to not enter are not a suggestion. Bringing a drone to see them from the inside is the only way. Avalanches and the warmth of spring on the way are causing the ice sculptures to melt daily. Worth the view in the winter to see the sculptures surrounded by snow and ice, the spring time might be better for the less daredevil explorers.
I know I’m a California drama queen now in this cold weathered state, but tread with caution on this hike. Or maybe just read the weather report because as my mom liked to call it this was an “ice hike”. There’s no epic waterfalls for an “ah-ha” view at the top, but the 360 view of the Issaquah valley and frozen lake are in even more gorgeous covered in snow.
After Franklin Falls, I felt I needed one more water excursion to end out the winter hikes. In hopes of finding a massive frozen waterfall, I chose Spirit Falls. It was a fail on the frozen part but one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. It’s quit the drive from Seattle, so either leave early or stay the night off the frozen roads. The snow fall covered the drop offs on this hike so make sure to steer extra clear of the edges and leave dogs at home.
While phones seemed great to capture the images, bring a regular camera as your phone will freeze from the cold and shut off! If you’re a local, or visiting for the weekend, I hope you enjoyed the snow filled views while it lasted like I did!
“Best Winter Adventures” was found on this link as well as many other outdoor activities in multiple states. Happy Exploring!