Happy 12/12/12! In honor of the last repeating date we will experience in our lifetimes, we’re bringing you 12 tips for winter recreation as part of our “12 Tips” series. Read down the list and start making plans for a winter adventure your holiday guests will not soon forget!
If we’re blessed with one of those brisk clear blue-skied days we sometimes get here in the Northwest grab your boots and hit the trails. DNR has trails for different skill levels. Head over to our recreation page and find a trail that’s right for you!
2. Trail Run
Get some peace and quiet during the holiday season by spending a few hours running through some of our hundreds of miles of trails. Check which trails are open and make sure you wear something bright and reflective if you’re in an area with hunters.
3. Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe
Enjoy the peace and quiet of non-motorized winter recreation. You can cross-country ski and snowshoe on nearly 50 miles of trails—20 miles of which are groomed—in the Tahoma and Elbe State Forests, east of Elbe on the way up to Mount Rainier. The Mount Tahoma Trails Association (MTTA) operates free ski huts there, but you do need reservations. Visit the MTTA website for more information. Don’t forget to purchase a Sno-Park permit for parking at any of these areas.
Enjoy a state-wide scavenger hunt with your holiday visitors and take them geocaching! There are many caches hidden on trails on DNR land. Bring a holiday trinket to leave behind for the next geo-explorer.
5. Dirt biking & ATV
Winter is the best time to take your bike out and get muddy! Although some trails are closed in the winter, there are plenty of places to head out and blow off some of your holiday stress.
It’s not winter without sledding! Take your holiday visitors for an adventure the whole family can enjoy! Head out to the mountains and hills to find a snowy bank and sled all day.
7. Winter Camping
Just because it’s not summer doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the perks of getting away for the weekend. Become a true Northwestern, weekend warrior by enjoying some off-season tent, car, or RV camping on DNR state land. Just make sure you check what sites are open during the winter before you head out for a frosty adventure.
You’ll find groomed trails for snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing on state trust lands managed by DNR. Many of these trails originate on DNR-managed lands; others hook up with trails from other public and private lands. Check out this blog to find out what pass you will need to play in the snow!
9. Bird Watching & Nature Observing
Winter is a great time for locating animal tracks and watching waterfowl. Many birds that spend summer months in Alaska and Canada migrate down to Washington during the cold season. Coastal inlets, estuaries, and freshwater wetlands are some of the best places to go birding in winter. Learn about DNR’s Natural Areas Program and find protected natural areas nearest you to spend a day at peace with nature.
10. Razor Clamming
It’s razor clamming time! Check out this post on the current razor clamming season from our friends at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Right now is one of the best times to get out and dig your own delicious dinner.
11. Pleasure Drive
Need to get away from the holiday rush? Clear your head on a weekend drive like this one that made National Geographic’s 500 Scenic Drives of a Lifetime. Stop along the way for a picnic at one of DNR’s protected Natural Areas such as Kennedy Creek NAP, Shipwreck Point NRCA, or the Chehalis River Surge Plain NAP. You could also camp for the night at Bear Creek Campground (milepost 206), Hoh Oxbow Campground (milepost 176 -177), or Cottonwood Campground (milepost 177 – 178). For more road trip ideas, visit DNR’s recreation page. If your trip takes you off the highway, remember the safety rules of navigating any of DNR’s working forest roads from our Forest Road Survival Guide.
12. Discover Pass
Nothing says holidays like giving the gift of the great outdoors! Now you can choose your start date, so you can give it as a present to your family outdoor enthusiast or pick one up for yourself and start your own winter adventure.
Happy holidays from DNR!
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