Walk in a Winter Wonderland Toward Spectacular Seasonal Views With These Snowy Mountain Winter Hikes Near Lewis County


There’s just something magically special about winters here in the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it’s the abundance of snow, the way the frost glistens from the tree tops, or how time seems frozen when frigid temperatures halt the movements of mighty waterfalls. Perhaps it’s the solitude that comes with the stillness as blankets of snow absorb all sounds of life in tranquil moments of peace, or maybe it’s the contrast of color as nature’s colors pop and the landscape seemingly sparkles and shines as a warm sun illuminates each tiny crystal of ice.

Whatever the source of its magic, the stunning beauty of the season is a sight to behold throughout the Pacific Northwest, especially around Lewis County. Though it may be cold outside, some of the best ways to enjoy these inspiring wintertime views is to bundle up and head out for some picturesque snowy mountain hiking adventures!

winter hikes Lewis County
During the winter months, the Goat Lake at Goat Lake Wilderness will often freeze over in a beautiful display of the magic of the season. Photo courtesy: Distance Elevation

Goat Rocks Wilderness

Nestled between the snow-capped Mount Rainier and Mount Adams, Goat Rocks Wilderness’ reputation for breathtaking scenery and relative proximity to population centers draws more and more adventure-seekers throughout the seasons. Though there is much to explore within its 100,000 acres, the hike to Goat Lake is one of the more easily accessible paths that’s still manageable in the winter as hikers head out on the 10.5-mile roundtrip hike, exploring the region’s frozen lakes and snow-covered hills.

High Rock Lookout

The sweeping views of Mount Rainier, Tatoosh Range, and Lake Cora from High Rock Lookout are always a sight to behold, but the old 1929 fire lookout floor perched on a slab of rock along the mountaintop is incredibly stunning when its picturesque backdrop is covered in an icy, crystalized sheet of white from fresh snow.

Although the hike to the lookout is short, at just 1.6 miles to the top, it is also steep, so it is best to come prepared, especially in such frigid conditions. The trail itself follows a ridge line through beautiful old-growth forest. It is lined with huckleberry bushes, bear grass, and the less common trilliums, all of which will be covered in snow during the winter, with it getting deeper as you trend toward the higher elevations toward the lookout.

winter hikes Lewis County
Make the trek to Mt Tahoma High Hut in winter, but only if you dare! If this is the outhouse, imagine what the hut itself looks like! Photo credit: Logan Marie

Mt. Tahoma High Hut

Those looking to get cozy in the cold after heading out for some wintertime hiking should consider taking a trip to Mt. Tahoma High Hut to stay awhile. The High Hut is the highlight of the Mount Tahoma Trail System, where some of the best views of the southern cascades can be enjoyed, including views of Mount Rainier, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens. The distance of the well-manicured trail towards the hut varies depending on snow conditions, with trail length only being 3.2 miles one way and 1,700 feet elevation gain when the snow is low. During high volumes, the trail can extend to 4.5 miles with a 2,400-foot elevation gain. Either way, the hike is well worth the trip and staying at the one and only High Hut is the perfect snowy escape.

winter hikes Lewis County
Coldwater Lake looks serene and tranquil against a snowy peaked Coldwater Peak. Photo courtesy: Mount St Helens Institute

Coldwater Peak

With a name like Coldwater Peak, it is safe to say this snowy retreat thrives in the winter, but if you can withstand the frigid temperatures, the journey is well worth it. Hiking to the peak by the Boundary Trail, hikers will follow the 54 miles along a ridge in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, climbing various peaks and catching glimpses of mesmerizing views along the way.

In contrast, hiking to the Summit of Coldwater Peak will take hikers along a rarely traversed trail while gazing directly into the crater of history’s most iconic Pacific Northwest volcano, Mount St. Helens. The reward for reaching the summit is 360 views of Washington wilderness, including direct sight of Jefferson, Hood, Adams, Rainier, Spirit Lake, and so much more!

winter hikes Lewis County
It’s all ice, ice baby at Narada Falls during the winter. Photo courtesy: Washington Trails Association

Narada Falls

Wandering through the beautiful snow-covered forests of Mount Rainier’s Paradise, a unique trail will take you to the glistening Narada Falls. The quiet solitude of the trek further illuminates the snowy atmosphere, with nothing but the echoes of the water to breathe life into the blanketed canvas of the wilderness. At only 150 feet from the road to Paradise, Narada Falls is the largest waterfall accessible by car in the park and is equally one of the most impressive. This makes it a great winter hiking destination as the short 0.2-mile trail descends 200 feet down to lower viewpoints of the falls, which is the primary destination for those picture-perfect winter moments.

With these snowy mountain winter hikes near Lewis County, you’ll definitely be walking in a winter wonderland as you wander off into the horizon, where spectacular wintertime views await upon the mountaintops.

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