White Road


Cross-country Ski - White Road

Ski this forest road with easy terrain on the west side of White Pass. May be suitable for beginners who have learned to snowplow. Great views, including Mt. Rainier. Enjoy a more natural and self-reliant experience than the machine-groomed trails offer.

  • U-XC 1 Beginner Ungroomed
  • Moderate
  • Mileage: 7.0 mi
  • Elevation Gain: 480 ft
  • High Point Elevation: 4,800 ft
  • Pace: 2 mph moving.

Driving time from Olympia is two and a half hours with a stop.  We will meet up in Olympia area at 6:15 a.m. and caravan. Car pool and other information will be emailed to registered participants. 

For info on good practices and how to contact other participants for carpooling, please see this Mountaineers article on "Carpooling and Mountaineers Activities/Courses":  https://www.mountaineers.org/blog/how-to-opt-in-for-carpooling

On a recent visit, a sign was seen on US 12 at the intersection with Forest Road 1284 saying "Northwest Forest Pass required when posted."  A few hundred feet up FR 1284 at the trailhead parking area, no sign was posted.  Your guess is as good as mine whether one is required.  If you have a Northwest Forest Pass, bring it and display it.  If you have an America the Beautiful Pass, photocopy it and leave the copy on your dashboard.  If you have neither, a Northwest Forest day pass can be purchased on line for $5.  Here's the link:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/r6/passes-permits/recreation/?cid=fsbdev2_027009

All vehicles intending to travel mountain highway passes in snow season should carry tire chains, cables or auto socks, and be prepared to use them.  See WSDOT  requirements: https://wsdot.com/travel/real-time/mountainpasses/tiresandchains.  

On the north side of US Highway 12, about a half mile west of the White Pass Nordic and Alpine Centers, is a turn off to Forest Road 1284.  This goes to a highway maintenance shed, and the trailhead for White Road, formerly known as the Yellow Jacket Road.  Parking lot elevation is about 4,400 feet, and snowpack should be good until late in the season.  This trail is not groomed, so conditions will vary quite a bit, according to recent weather, and trail-breaking by other travelers.  Snowshoers use this trail as well as skiers. 

Expect to do some trail-breaking if there is new snow.  If it's a chore, we will rotate the lead.  You may be knee-deep in snow at times, so gaiters are important for keeping snow out of your boots.  Big powder baskets will make your poles more effective.  You may burn  a few more calories here than next door at the Nordic Center.   You must be able to keep up a classic Nordic stride, snow plow and handle easy to moderate hills and turns.  If you took a Mountaineers Basic Cross Country Ski course and did all right on the field trip, you should do fine on this.  It is frequently described as a beginners' route.  The Mountaineers' database rates it as 'U-XC 1  Beginner Ungroomed", which means: "Beginner w/ability to move forward, speed control on gentle hills".  With good snow  conditions, this might be accurate.  A recent visit found the trail to have a hard-packed path from snowshoers, and some ski tracks, but it is not groomed.  A good snowplow may be needed in at least one place to control speed. Metal edges may be helpful in some conditions.   If the trail is too icy for reasonably safe skiing, Plan B would be go a half mile up the road to the White Pass Nordic Center and pay $32 to ski on groomed trails.

We will stop every 45 minutes or more often as needed for hydration and snack breaks, clothing and equipment adjustment, bathroom breaks, and at junctions and intersections as needed to maintain group cohesion.  Pack snacks, a lunch, a foam sitting pad and maybe a thermos for a trailside lunch. When packing your Ten Essentials, consider that this is back country, not a resort.  We plan to finish up between 2 and 3pm.

Please contact the leader or assistant leader with any questions, especially about gear, clothing, or whether this trip is right for your level of ability and conditioning.


White Road

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

  • The Ten Essentials
  • Cross-country skis. Touring skis are okay.  Wider skis, 70 to 75 mm are better.  Even wider is okay.
  • Poles with powder baskets
  • Boots and gaiters.
Trip Reports