Trip Report    

Intermediate Snowshoe - Palouse to Cascades Trail

Found a safe place to snowshoe on an extreme weather day. It was hard work breaking trail, the group were good sports and we had fun in a winter wonderland.

  • Road recommended for high clearance only
  • The trail from the McClellan Butte trailhead to the Palouse Cascades trail isn't signed, but some of the group already knew the way. Once on the trail, simply pick a direction and go.  The 4Runner had no problems with  the road, but the Subaru did. So we returned to the bottom of the road to park  adding some distance. Snow was deep, we worked hard breaking trail.

Extreme weather was forecast. We weren't surprised that the Paradise Road would not open today and we could not snwowshoe to Mazama Ridge as planned. But the avalanche forecast changed to  Considerable below treeline, ruling out our backup plan of Rampart Ridge. Why drive to Mt. Rainier NP to find a safe walk in the woods when there are closer options?

We agreed on the Palouse to Cascades trail and chose to start at exit 42 to avoid snow  traffic problems closer to the pass. We hiked from the McClellan Butte trailhead to Carter Creek camp.  Nice to have a picnic table. Amazing that the forest service bathroom  at both ends of our journey was open and had TP.

We had the trail to ourselves. That meant we had to break trail all the way. The snow was wet and heavy. It was hard work. We had a hearty group who wanted to get outside  despite the forecast, everyone was a good sport and pitched in as a team. Awesome group. we hiked about 9.5 mi. The elevation gain was likely less than 1,000 ft, it just seemed harder because we were breaking trail.

Snowy trail in the woods