Mileage: 6-21+ miles RT (we did about 15)
Elevation Gain/Highest: 2500/4500ft
Map: Green Trails Darrington No. 78
Favorite Eats After Hike: Mirkwood Shire and Cafe
12/31/2015 I can’t imagine a more perfect way to end 2015!
FR 18 had snow the whole way and was deeply rutted for the last mile or so we drove. We had 4 wheel drive and used it as the road was steep and icy in places. The road itself is closed at the Sno Park and that is where we got started today at 10:30am.
Because the road was previously open to the creek, the first section was mostly compact ice and snow with lots of potholes so we just started in our boots. It is obvious that the road is seeing mostly snowmobilers for their tracks have groomed the trail nicely. Because my last few snowshoes involved blazing through deep powder, this was a refreshing experience. We put our snowshoes on about 3 miles in as snow became deeper and the tracks lessened (we only saw 4s snowmobiles all day).
There were no other people on the trail. There were at least 3 other “side trails” with virgin snow that we didn’t have time to explore today. There were multiple trees down but it wasn’t a problem because the snowmobiles had already found ways around or through all of them.
Our goal was to make it to the summit above the ridge, but our late start meant stopping at a great view point up FR 1855, probably about 7.5 miles from the car at 2:30pm. We dug ourselves a little snow chair on the side of the road and enjoyed the views as we said goodbye to the old year.
Our trek down took much less time and we donned our headlamps for the last little bit before we got back to the car at 6pm exhausted but happy.
Directions: From I-5, drive east on SR 530 towards Darrington 24.5 miles. Turn left on Swede Heaven Road (at the Whitehorse Mercantile). In 2 miles, keep right up FR 18 to the snowline. There is a snopark 3 miles in at 1200ft.
For more snowshoes, click HERE.