The mountains and forests of Washington State make a fantastic winter playground. Fans of such winter sports as snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, and snowmobiling will find trails all over the state. Washington's city dwellers are fortunate, with many options for downhill skiing and snowboarding located within a 1-2 hour drive. The areas just east of the Cascade Mountains are particularly fun during the winter, enjoying both lots of snow and lots of sunshine. Here are my recommendations for winter vacation destinations in the state of Washington.
Red Tail Canyon Farm near Leavenworth (Washington State Tourism)
Abundant snow and sunshine make the Leavenworth area wonderful for both downhill and cross-country skiing. In addition to the local Leavenworth Ski Hill, Mission Ridge Ski Resort and Stevens Pass are both within easy driving distance of Leavenworth, making it a great base for a winter vacation. Nearby Wenatchee National Forest has trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. Combine these with the array of fun restaurants, unique shops, and charming accommodations in Leavenworth and you have a winter vacation destination that will appeal to a variety of tastes and interests. Leavenworth, Washington, is a stop along Amtrak's Empire Builder route.
View from a Hot Air Balloon in the Sky Above Winthrop (Washington State Tourism/Sunny Walter)
Located just east of Washington's North Cascades, Methow Valley includes the towns of Pateros, Twisp, Winthrop, and Mazama. This scenic region is a favorite destination for snow-sport enthusiasts, particularly cross-country skiing. Over 120 miles of groomed, interconnected trails and sunny conditions make for great family outings. For an extra special winter getaway, stay at the world-class Sun Mountain Lodge to enjoy the snow along with fine dining, spa treatments, and upscale accommodations.