Finally, I got to do some snow-hiking! Although does it count if you don’t need snowshoes or even microspikes?
Wenatchee Crest, located at Blewett Pass, has been on my list forever. Flat and easy, this trail is a popular one. Jennie from Ordinary Adventures has experiences the eastern side of the Cascades is often sunnier, and I’m never going to say no to a bluebird day. Due to popularity, this trail is often so well-packed down you won’t need snowshoes or poles unless you plan on going off-trail. We brought our spikes, and even those might not have been necessary!
WTA was not super clear on this–there were two parking areas, on the north and south sides of the highway. We didn’t see anyone in the north one so didn’t want to chance it (that one is limited for snowplow room), but be warned if parking in the larger, official south lot, the trail is on the north side, so you will begin by darting across the road. You share that lot with snowmobilers, so be sure to park courteously. There was 0 mask usage in the parking lot, including the forest service rangers (…eastern Washington is a different place…), but there were two honey-buckets and ample spots on a Friday morning. The trail starts off on an old forest road, and is nice and wide for the first portion.
While it wasn’t quite a clear, sunny, day, it was gorgeous out, with the sun’s rays bouncing off of pine trees, fir, and hemlock, with the occasional naked larch. The trail does gently roll up and down, but we kept a pretty quick pace up. We did notice post-holing if we strayed even a little from the path, so do be careful if stepping off-trail when nature or photography calls. There was one downhill in the shade where we could see ice–we did stop to ‘chain up’ (put on microspikes) here, but Marissa quickly took hers off here and kept them off. Every now and then, a break in the trees offered stunning views of the mountains around us, albeit our cameras could not do it justice.
WTA says the mountains we could see were the Stuarts and that on clear days, a Rainier sighting was possible, but we were happy enough with the snow-capped Stuarts. We weren’t sure on where the trail ended–WTA said 6.0 miles, AllTrails said 6.6, so when after 3 miles in, we saw a stunning sunny lunch spot, we decided that was perfect.
We did throw on jackets for our snacks, but we hardly needed them. As the day continued, it got up into the 40s, and I started wishing I had a t-shirt on! When we did hit the trail to return to the trailhead after lunch, the snow was noticeably softer, so I was glad I kept my spikes on. We saw a few more people on the way up (only 1-2 couples masked), and I’m guessing on a sunny weekend this place is teeming with hikers, but all in all, a pretty wonderful 6 mile day. I’ll reiterate–no need for snowshoes, poles, or any other fancy equipment–Marissa did fine without even microspikes. Just don’t forget sunglasses, SPF, and a buttpad for your sunny lunch!
Distance: WTA said 6.0 miles, AllTrails said 6.6. We might have stopped prematurely, but my GPS said 6.0.
Elevation: 400 feet
Parking: A Sno-Park Pass is required–and rangers do check and ticket here often.
Bathrooms: Two Honeybuckets at the larger parking lot, I cannot report how frozen they were.