Jan 29, 2024 - News

Go snowshoeing within two hours of Portland

A snow covered valley with pine trees and a snowy mountain in the background

Marble Mountain south of Mount St. Helens has some great snowshoeing. Photo: Courtesy of RaYoung Chung

Snowshoeing is a social, low-tech and healthy winter leisure activity. Just put one foot in front of the other, albeit slightly sideways.

These three spots are a great place to be out in the snowy sunshine.

Trillium Lake

One of the busiest Mount Hood hikes in the summer, it's a little quieter in winter, but you're still likely to run into someone you know.

  • This 4.7-mile loop trail is medium difficulty, and the 433-foot elevation gain can be taxing. You can just do the lake and back (1.9 miles).
  • 1.5 hours from Portland, take US26E to Trail #761 at Trillium Lake Sno Park near Government Camp. Oregon Sno-Park Permit required. (Day $4, 3-day $9, annual $25.)

Mirror Lake

A 2.5–mile loop around the lake pays off with a view of Mount Hood if it's a clear day.

  • The gain of 460 feet is a steady climb on a wide trail. Bolder people can head to Tom Dick and Harry Mountain and the Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness.
  • 1.5-hour drive from Portland, take US26E to Mirror Lake Trail #664. Oregon Sno-Park Permit required.

Marble Mountain, Washington

This gorgeous spot on the south side of Mount St. Helens has varied terrain.

  • It is 2.5 miles, in-and-out, with a fun uphill stretch that ends at June Lake and an icy waterfall. Once there, some people sit down and cool off, while others continue up the smooth, white cone to the volcano's summit.
  • About 1.5 hours from Portland. Take I-5N to 503E through Cougar, Washington. Park at Marble Mountain Sno-Park (Washington sno-park permits are $25 a day or $50 for the season).

Snowshoeing Tips

  • Don't trust the cheap snowshoes from your favorite discount drop shipper: if a strap breaks, your day is over.
  • Pro tip: Unless you want to spend between $150-300 on new snowshoes, rent the first time.

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