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Explore Winter on the Cascade Loop

Winter on the Cascade Loop will mean something different in every unique region around the National Scenic Byway.

Seattle NorthCountry (Snohomish County) beach combing, whale watching and wildlife viewing, walking tours, hikes, biking, museums, antique shopping, wine tasting, great dining! 

Stevens Pass Greenway (Snohomish County) hiking, snowshoeing, selfies with Sasquatch, downhill skiing and snowboarding, cross-country skiing, shopping!

Leavenworth/Cascade Foothills (Chelan County) snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, shopping, wine tasting, great dining!

Wenatchee/Columbia River Valley (Chelan County) snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice skating, shipping, wine tasting, great dining!

Lake Chelan Valley (Chelan County) snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, shopping, wine tasting, great dining!

Methow Valley (Okanogan County) snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, fat tire biking, sleigh rides, shopping, wine tasting, great dining!

North Cascades (Okanogan County, Skagit County) Although the pass is closed in winter, you can still access winter recreation from both sides!

Skagit Valley (Skagit County) snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing and snowboarding, snowmobiling, shopping, wine tasting, fabulous tea, great dining!

Whidbey Scenic Isle Way (Island County) beach combing, whale watching and wildlife viewing, hiking trails, museums, shopping, wine tasting, great dining! 

Be Prepared!
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Visit Chelan County this Winter
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Winter in Okanogan Country
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Skagit County Winter Birding
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Winter in Snohomish County
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Winter on the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way
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Winter Highway 20 Closure History
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Tread map app

Be Prepared with the TREAD Map App

TREAD Map is a smart phone app that connects all outdoor enthusiasts through real-time interaction between land managers, user groups, and local businesses. It is free to all users and always will be, thanks to ongoing support from the State of Washington Tourism. This community-powered platform equips users to recreate respectfully - and spend their dollars on main street - through locally informed messaging and destination management. At its core, TREAD Map is a service that strengthens communities and generates more possibilities for sustainable recreation and economic development. It is the only app in circulation with a triple bottom line approach of people, planet, and profits returned to the community.

Washington Has Many Winter Adventures To Offer

Winter on the Loop takes on many forms, depending on where you visit. In the Eastern regions and the foothills of the Cascades you'll find snow and great winter recreation conditions, often into March. On the Western side you'll enjoy the kind of weather the Pacific Northwest is most known for -- sometimes foggy, sometimes drizzly, but always perfect for a warm fire and a good book, or a trek out to a beach, or a refuge along a river or meadow. 

The North Cascades Highway closes in winter due to excessive snow, so note that when you plan to travel the Loop at this time of year, you need to plan to backtrack -- which we actually love because it allows us to hit our favorite spots twice!

It is especially important to keep an eye on the weather during the winter. Be sure to check the web cams and driving conditions of Stevens Pass: Web Cams and Pass Conditions – Stevens Pass

Be sure to check your emergency supplies and car conditions before you leave home. We have created a checklist for you to make sure you are ready for the trip: Prepare for Winter Travel – Be Road Trip Ready!

Each spring we anxiously await the opening of the North Cascades Highway which allows access across the northern Loop between the Methow Valley and the Skagit Valley. This link shows the history of opening and closing dates of the North Cascades Highway: Opening/Closing History

Winter recreation on SR 20

Hikers, skiers, snowmobilers and other recreationists can access the closed portion of the North Cascades Highway (SR 20) during the winter season. Users should park in designated parking areas to allow plow drivers the space they need to clear snow around the closed stretch’s access gates. Even though the Loop is not passable over SR 20 travelers should still be prepared for winter driving conditions. Since WSDOT closes this stretch of the highway due to avalanche risk, anyone using this area should check forecasts and be aware of quickly changing conditions in the mountains. Northwest Avalanche Center website is

Travelers can also check conditions with North Cascades National Park before traveling to this area.

Why the highway is closed in winter:

[WSDOT says] "We close the North Cascades Highway when weather, snow conditions and avalanche danger threaten the safety of drivers and our maintenance crews. Avalanches typically close the highway between late November and mid-December. Unlike US 2 Stevens Pass and I-90 Snoqualmie Pass, the North Cascades does not have facilities to perform avalanche control work to alleviate the condition. For the safety of the traveling public and winter maintenance crews, the pass must be closed."

Historically, SR 20 opens for the season in April or May, and closes in November or December - but it's really up to Mother Nature, so be prepared!

Nordic Ski Trails
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Fat Tire Bikes
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Ice Skating
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Skiing and Snowboarding
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Images of Winter on the Loop

Juvenile bald eagle in a Methow Valley meadow

Achieve Your New Years Resolution Goals In Winthrop Washington
Here in Winthrop Washington we take outdoor recreation seriously – in a fun way. If you’re making a New Year’s Resolution, why not set a goal to complete a race… Read More >>>>
Winthrop Ice Rink is open for winter!
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of gliding across glistening ice on a pair of skates. Add a stunning outdoor setting, complete with towering mountains and bald eagles soaring overhead,… Read More >>>>
First Time Snowshoer: Advice from a Couch Potato
At fifty-plus years of age, I had a chance to go snowshoeing for the first time this winter. My husband and I stayed at Sun Mountain Lodge in the beautiful… Read More >>>>
Ten Treks To Take--Winter on the Cascade Loop
Looking for some fresh air, space to move freely and get that heart a pumpin'? Look no more! The Cascade Loop has all manner of outdoor activities to keep you… Read More >>>>
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