Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

8 places Seattle families can go cross-country skiing

Have fun, enjoy the snow and get your heart pumping.

Cross-country skiing is a delightful way to spend a day in the snow. It’s a pleasurable, gliding movement through stunning winter environments. It’s an easy skill to pick up – easier than downhill skiing or snowboarding. Only snowshoeing (best described as laborious walking) has less of a skill barrier (more about snowshoeing here). You can easily go out without a lesson, provided there’s an adult around who can give you pointers. It gives you a chance to explore serene and beautiful places, all while getting your heart pumping and your cheeks flushed.

Here are some cross-country destinations that are not too far from Seattle. All have a variety of groomed trails. A few of them come with their own instructors and rental shops.

If your destination does not have a rental shop, you can rent skis at Ascent Outdoors, which has locations in Ballard and Redmond, or Seattle Ski in Shoreline.

Before you go, check the conditions. West Cascades skiing has its ups and downs at the best of times and many cross-country ski trails are low on the mountain. Drive-time estimates are based on leaving Seattle at 8 a.m. on a Saturday. (And if you’re more of a downhill skier, read: Bring on the snow! Best ski areas you can drive to from Seattle.)

Summit at Snoqualmie

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Conditions: summitatsnoqualmie.com/conditions

Elevation: 2,610 feet

Rentals: Available onsite.

Lessons: Available onsite.

Other activities near site: downhill skiing and snowboarding.

Hyak

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Conditions: Recorded message line 509-656-2230

Elevation: 2,560 feet.

Fees: Each vehicle needs a Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.

Rentals: no

Lessons: no

Other activities near site: tubing hill and designated snow play area.

Cabin Creek

Driving time from Seattle: 1 hour

Conditions: posted on Kongsberger ski club website

Elevation: 2,430 feet

Fees: Every vehicle needs a Seasonal Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.

Rentals: no

Lessons: no

Suncadia

Driving time from Seattle: 1.5 hours

Conditions: here

Elevation: 2,250 feet

Fees: none.

Rentals: available

Other activities: skating rink and rope-tow equipped tubing hill are this year only available to people staying at the resort

Stevens Pass

Driving time from Seattle: 2 hours

Detailed conditions: here 

Elevation: 3,300 feet

Rentals: available

Lessons: available

Other activities: downhill skiing and snowboarding, snow play area

Lake Wenatchee

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Conditions: call Lake Wenatchee State Park 509-763-3101

Elevation: 1,875 feet

Fees: Each vehicle needs a  Sno-Park Permit with a Special Groomed Trails Permit.

Rentals: no

Lessons: no

Other activities near site: tubing hill and designated snow play area.

Leavenworth Ski Hill

Driving time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Conditions: skileavenworth.com/conditions

Elevation: about 1,500 feet

Rentals: The ski hill itself does not provide them, but there are four different places in Leavenworth to rent cross-country skis. Here’s the list.

Lessons: One-hour group lessons for ages 12 and up are $32 for regular cross country or $37 for skate-skiing. Private one-hour lesson, for any age are $57, but the price goes down if you add another one or two to the group.

Other activities near site: downhill skiing and snowboarding, tubing, fat biking

White Pass

Driving time from Seattle: 3 hours

Conditions: skiwhitepass.com/snow-report

Elevation: 4,500 feet

Rentals: Available

Lessons: Group and private lessons available. Call 509-672-3101 (option 6) to reserve.

Other activities near site: Downhill skiing and snowboarding, tubing, fat biking.