Snowshoe Routes: Washington
by Dan A. Nelson (The Mountaineers Books)
© 2015 Dan A. Nelson/The Mountaineers Books. All Rights Reserved.
June Lake is an easy to follow trail with minimal elevation gain. It was very enjoyable despite the fact we were followed by a string of showers escalating in a downpour on our way back and had no view of Mt. St. Helens whatsoever. The same mist that covered all the views created a magic atmosphere as the trail led us to a small lake fed by few waterfalls.
We caught the very end of the snow season and encountered spots where we had to take our snowshoes off to cross a dirt field of grass patch.
The road was closed, and even dramatically washed out just before the entrance to the June Lake trailhead, but you can easily park at the Marble Mountain Sno-Park to get there. There is a temporary bridge spanning the creek that washed out the road, so you can still easily cross it. The trail itself was in good shape, and we had about 6-9 inches of snow to walk on. Our snowshoes came in handy. It was beautiful at the lake, even though it started snowing while we were there. The road getting there was basically clear all the way to the parking area. All in all, it was a great day to spend the first day of 2007!
This was an excellent day trip on snowshoes and was well worth the $9 to park at the Snow Park. Stop in Cougar for your permit (any gas station will do) then drive the remaining few miles to Marble Mountain Snow Park. The trails are really well marked and maps are available in the parking lot. There is also a unusually clean composting toilet and a large warming cabin with lots of picnic tables a a big wood stove. Unfortunately, snowmobilers will likely fill most of the parking lot with their trucks and trailers and their incessant buzzing will plague the first mile or so of the trail, but after that this "non-motorized" trail grows quiet and peaceful and the views get better and better. This can be a nice out-and-back (probably the easier option for skiers) or a loop that will take you by a waterfall and small lake. However, returning to the trailhead from this point seemed to be over rougher terrain that might prove difficult on skis; we only saw snowshoers here. We had an especially warm day with the only cloud in the sky being a whisp of steam from the mountain. If you're fit, you can do this trail really fast. We were up for about four hours and stopped many times to play in the snow, take pictures, and slide down slopes.
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