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Play this Winter at State Parks

The Season of Snow

Ready or not, the season of snow is upon us. It’s time to trade in our hiking boots for snowshoes and cross country skis. From skiing, to snow shoeing, to tubing, to just general play time, there are lots of winter time activities available in Washington. The State Parks are a great resource for finding the right place for your activity of choice.

Rules to adhere to

It’s important to note that sno-parks are distinct from state parks. Sno-parks crisscross state and federal lands and involve many land managers, state agencies, concessionaires, and contractors. At sno-parks you can find motorized, non-motorized and animal-driven recreation opportunities. Sno-parks are maintained by the Winter Recreation Program.

By purchasing a Sno-Park Permit, you help pay for trail grooming, lot clearing and plowing, sanitation, education and enforcement. Before going to play in the snow, make sure you have the proper permit or grooming sticker to enjoy Sno-Parks. Failure to do so can result in fines – don’t ruin a fun day! You may purchase Sno-Park permits online or at locations throughout Washington.

Tips for getting started

If you’ve never participated in winter sports before, consider joining a guided experience first. Many Sno-Parks offer guided tours for snow-shoers or cross-country skiers. There are also many places that rent snow gear. Before investing in expensive equipment, try it out to see how much you enjoy it. Check with local land managers or recreation organizations near you to see what options are available.

Pure fun for kids

If you’re just looking for a great place for an epic snowball fight and sledding expedition, there are many Sno-Parks that offer play areas. Designated areas are available for tubing and general snow play at the Fields Spring, Lake Wenatchee, Hyak, Rose Springs, and Oldman Pass Sno-Parks. In addition, tubing and general snow play are permitted in many non-designated areas in many Sno-Parks and in state parks that are open in the winter. However, for safety’s sake, snow players should stay off designated snowmobile and non-motorized sport trails. Please note, ice skating is not available in any location. Due to the mild Washington climate, lakes do not freeze hard enough to permit safe skating.

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