A Snowy Hike to June Lake
Distance: 5.25 miles round trip in the winter, 2.3 miles round trip in the summer
Difficulty: easy, great for all ages and activity levels
Permits needed: PNW Forest permit in the summer, Washington Sno-Park permit in the winter
Dog friendly: Yes, on leash
Must have a climbing permit if you plan to hike over 7,800 feet
Happy 2019! We are back in Oregon and one of the first things we had planned to do was to go on an early morning snowshoe hike to June Lake in Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The weather was looking great so we grabbed our friends, Joey and Paige (also from Richmond and living in Portland!) and headed up into Washington. Due to the road to the trailhead being closed for the winter, we had to park at the Sno-Park which added two extra miles onto our trip, but we didn’t mind. We arrived around 9:00am to only a few other cars in the Sno-Park parking lot (not including multiple trailers containing snowmobiles). There is a trail that leads right to June Lake Trailhead with easy blue diamond markers you can follow if there happens to be fresh snow on the trail. Unfortunately for us, it hadn’t snowed in a few days so the trail was still very much packed down from previous snowshoers and cross country skiiers and we had no use for our snowshoes. The trail winds below big pines along a rushing river as you hike up to June Lake. Hiking towards the lake is definitely a little bit more of a uphill climb than the way back down, but it’s not hard by any means. We stopped a lot to take pictures and throw snowballs and spent extra time at the lake because, damn, it is really beautiful! After getting our fill of falling water and snow we headed back towards the parking lot. Overall I really enjoyed this hike, although it would have been more fun if we had been able to use our snowshoes. It’s definitely great for all ages and fitness levels, so if one of your goals this year is to do more hiking but you’re not sure where to start, this would be the perfect trail!
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