Don't Love Snow?

January 12, 2016

Discover these five winter pursuits

Story and Photo by Rebecca Agiewich

Photo at right: A fat tire biker enjoys a ride on the beach at Cape Disappointment State Park on the Washington coast.


Do you love being outdoors in the winter but prefer to stay out of that cold, white stuff? Never fear, the Northwest’s weather and topography lends itself to plenty of other activities.

We’ve listed five of our favorite winter activities.

Lowland Hiking

While the higher elevations might be snow-covered, there is plenty of low-lying terrain for you to explore when the weather gets nippy. Be sure to layer up appropriately and carry the 10 Essentials, especially extra clothing.

Take your pick of ocean beaches and bluffs, river valleys, lower elevation lakes and foothills.

Our region boasts a plethora of guidebooks that provide a multitude of options for winter adventures.

Fat Tire Biking

Haven’t tried fat biking yet? You’re in for a treat! The ultra-wide tires and low tire pressure provide increased stability over all kinds of surfaces. In other words, you’ll have more confidence as you zoom down the trail or any surface. Sand, for example. Try taking a fat bike for a spin on the beach!

Winter Kayaking

On a calm day, kayaking can be a serene experience that helps you shed the winter blues. Ocean weather often gets stormy in the winter, but if you stick to lakes, sloughs and tranquil ocean bays, you may experience calmer waters.

The beauty of winter kayaking is that there are less people and boats on the water, meaning more quiet time to commune with maritime wildlife.

Rails to Trails

According to the Rails to Trails Conservancy, Washington boasts a whopping 1,065 miles along 82 different rail trails. This makes it a great place to find snow-free recreation in the winter, since many of the trails are in low-lands.

Oregon is no slouch either, with 282 miles along 19 trails.

For ideas and details about regional rail trails, check out the many books published by the Rails to Trails Conservancy.

Storm Watching

Our region offers outstanding coastline for hiking when the weather is nice and storm watching when it’s—well—stormy. On Washington’s Olympic coast, the Kalaloch, La Push, and Neah Bay beaches offer great front-row viewing for Pacific storms.

Further south along the Washington coast, the Long Beach Peninsula, Westport and Cape Disappointment are also winter-weather favorites.

In Oregon, Cannon Beach is a year-round gem and the towns of Lincoln City, Yachats, and Newport all offer comfy lodging with storm-viewing right out your window.

Rebecca Agiewich is a regular contributor to OutdoorsNW.

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