If the first snowflakes of the season have you reaching for a pair of skis before a cup of hot cocoa, a winter trip to the Pacific Northwest may be the getaway for you. The area’s natural beauty only gets better as summer crowds thin and thick blankets of fluffy snow turn stunning landscapes into scenes of winter wonder.
Whether you prefer to spend your winter days skiing, snowmobiling, or simply sightseeing, these four great destinations top the list of best places to enjoy nature this winter in the Pacific Northwest
Yellowstone National Park
A natural wonder year-round, there’s something especially magical about the country’s most famous national park during winter. Bustling crowds are replaced by miles of quiet solitude. Billowing steam and boiling water erupt from under thick blankets of snow. Dark, wooly wildlife roam through drifts of white, foraging on sparse grass and sipping from icy streams.
Best of all, the winter season offers new ways to explore the park’s picturesque landscape. You can hop on a guided snow coach or snowmobile tour, don a pair of skis or snowshoes to explore the snowy trails solo, or take an exciting dogsled ride through Paradise Valley. At night, retire to your lakefront cabin at Duck Duck Goose, where you can view the Northern Lights dancing over the water from your private outdoor deck.
Whatever you choose, you’ll soon learn firsthand why those who live near Yellowstone say winter is their favorite season.
Nothing says winter like soaring snow-covered peaks, and you’ll find plenty of them around Mount Hood. As the highest point in Oregon, the area is a dream escape for those who want to ski, snowboard, sled, and sightsee through a pristine winter wilderness.
Six nearby ski resorts offer plenty of winter play for visitors of all ages and skill levels. Timberline and Mt. Hood Meadows are the biggest, each offering daring elevations and dynamic runs full of slope-shredding action.
If you prefer to stop and soak in the views, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing the scenic Crosstown Trail, Government Camp’s longest and most accessible trail. As a bonus, you’ll be just ½ mile from Moosewood Cabin, your cozy mountain retreat that offers perfect views of Mt. Hood Skibowl’s weekly mountain firework show.
Nestled in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State, Leavenworth is the quintessential winter wonderland. Soaring glacial peaks, forests of frosted evergreens, and a picturesque Bavarian village full of snow-dusted rooftops are just some of the ways the winter season takes over this charming mountain retreat. Boasting thousands of acres of pristine winter wilderness, the area around Leavenworth is a perfect winter playland. If you want thrills with your chills, try shredding the slopes at Stevens Pass or racing over 150 miles of snowy trails on an exciting snowmobile expedition. For a more scenic snow adventure, book a magical sleigh ride or explore the terrain at your own pace on a family snowshoe adventure. Of course, you can always watch the snowflakes drift across the mountain as you sip hot cocoa on the private viewing deck of your charming Bear Paw cabin.
Cannon Beach paints an entirely different scene during the winter than in the warmer months. Sunny days are traded for dramatic winter storms and frenzied ocean waves. High tides and heavy winds leave miles of secluded shoreline ripe for winter beachcombing. Stunning sunrises burn off wintry morning fog, revealing herds of majestic Roosevelt Elk grazing in meadows or wandering through the backyard of your Ecola Retreat.
You won’t see much sunbathing, but there are plenty of other unique ways to enjoy the Oregon Coast when it’s cold. Head to Ecola State Park's Tillamook Head for stunning views of approaching Pacific storms. Savor an afternoon shower by exploring one of the area’s nearby rainforest trails (you’ll be getting wet anyway). If you visit during the annual winter migration, you’ll catch nearly 25,000 grey whales swimming just offshore as they head for the warmer waters of Baja, Mexico.
While winter may look different this year, booking a Pacific Northwest getaway with Northwest Stays is as easy as ever. Browse our great destinations and book your stay today!